The Milwaukee Bucks are back to the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly 5 decades. But even though they've made it this far, they still have to hurdle their biggest obstacle yet: Giannis Antetokounmpo's knee.
The Greek Freak hyperextended his left knee in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks and his availability for this series is still up in the air, albeit there's optimism he'll be able to play.
Nonetheless, according to Charles Barkley and Skip Bayless, him getting hurt is actually a blessing in disguise ahead of their matchup with the Phoenix Suns, as it allowed the rest of their supporting cast to step up.
2021 NBA Finals: Charles Barkley Says Giannis Antetokounmpo's Injury Was The Best Thing To Happen To The Milwaukee Bucks
“I hate to say this,” Barkley said on Inside the NBA. “I think the best thing [to happen] to the Milwaukee Bucks was Giannis getting hurt. Because they have unleashed Jrue Holiday, the aggressive Jrue Holiday. I think he’s going to be fantastic in the Finals against Chris Paul, as much as I love Chris Paul.”
Skip Bayless Seemingly Agrees With Charles Barkley
"In a vacuum, it's preposterous to say they're better off without Giannis," Bayless said on Undisputed. "And I'm the first to tell you no, they're not, in a vacuum. I'm just eye-testing what I just saw in back-to-back games … What my eye test is telling me is they have three guys who have made All-Star teams, and all of a sudden, they felt empowered, emboldened to star."
Saying that a team would be better off without its best player is nonsense. Then again, it's a fact that Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez have stepped up big time in Giannis' absence.
Whether they play better basketball without Giannis is not something we'd like to debate right now. What is clear is that the Bucks will need to be at their best if they want to stop the red-hot Suns in the Finals.