With the new NBA season just a short while away, fans and analysts alike are preparing their predictions for the new season. Best team, best players, and even playoff contenders are just some of the many topics that debates have already begun about, despite a ball not having been tipped yet.
One of the biggest points of conversation is the championship favorites for next season. There are several teams expected to be in the mix for a championship next year.
From the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Miami Heat are expected to be the favorites for the title. As for the West, the Los Angeles Lakers Lakers, Utah Jazz, LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and Golden State Warriors will presumably be in the championship mix.
The Lakers and the Nets are the standout favorites from both conferences. Both teams boast a big three with some of the best players in the NBA and have a solid roster of role-playing veterans around them. Given the exciting talent on both teams, fans don’t just expect the 2 teams to reach the finals, but actively want to see that match-up.
The Lakers and the Nets have the two strongest rosters in the NBA. Brooklyn especially, has one of the greatest attacking tridents in NBA history, with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving leading the line-up. So they have been dubbed the favorites for the championship.
But Shaquille O’Neal thinks that the reigning NBA champions are being overlooked when it comes to the Eastern Conference. During an interview on First Take, Stephen A. Smith asked Shaquille O’Neal who he thinks will pose the biggest challenge to the Nets.
Shaq immediately answered with the Milwaukee Bucks, praising heap on the champions and reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. O’Neal believes the man he dubbed his successor for the 'Superman' title will dominate in the East.
“Of course. The champions. Come on, Milwaukee. I’mma tell you something. Don’t disrespect the champ…. He did it the right way, he did it the respectful way. I’m going to give that man all the respect until they beat him. The new superman is going to be a problem in the East.”
Clearly, Shaq is among the people who believe that the Bucks are being overlooked by the oddsmakers. Despite being the reigning NBA champions, the Bucks are still not considered a strong favorite to win the championship next season.
People have made the argument that injuries to the Lakers and the Nets allowed teams like the Bucks and the Suns to reach the Finals. But given that the Bucks have a superstar in Giannis and a very solid supporting cast with All-Star potential, they should be given more consideration in the championship conversation.