For the last two seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks have been the best regular season team in the NBA.
They, rightfully so, have been the favorites to represent the East in The Finals.
That’s not the case anymore.
That distinction now belongs to the Brooklyn Nets.
Throw the off-the-court drama out the window for a second and just look at basketball.
The Nets are unquestionably the most talented and most credentialed team in the East.
Kevin Durant has a league MVP, two Finals MVP’s, and two rings. James Harden is a league MVP and three-time scoring champion. And Kyrie Irving, when he has his head screwed on straight, is one of the game’s best closers, who hit one of the biggest shots in NBA history. They’re experienced. They’re talented. And they’re damned good.
This is all great news for the Bucks, who no longer have to carry all the weight of external expectation.
That’s the Nets’ weight to carry now.
[Insert your own James Harden joke here]
All the national media coverage, all criticism, all the attention now lands on the circus in Brooklyn.
The Bucks can just focus on hooping, and maybe, for the first time in a while, even embrace an underdog role.
Take no stock in Monday’s loss to the Nets. It was a great regular season basketball game. The Bucks came up just a little bit short.
It’s not about January. It’s about June.
And in June, I think we’ll be saying that the Nets were the best thing to ever happen to the Bucks.
They removed all the pressure.