Do Bucks deserve to be the favorite in the East?
Raphielle Johnson and Dan Titus of Yahoo! Sports break down just how good the Milwaukee Bucks have been throughout their recent run, discuss their new depth and evaluate where they stack up with other teams in the East.
DAN TITUS: Let's talk about a team that's just been absolutely on fire lately, and that is the Milwaukee Bucks. Reeled off eight wins in their last 10 games, but really had some really strong wins versus the Kings and the Suns on this road trip. I mean, are they the team to beat in the East because it sure as hell seems like it?
Because the Celtics have definitely hit a little bit of a bump in the road dealing with a couple of injuries. But what are your thoughts on the Bucks here, and are they-- are they for real? And I mean, Giannis, should he be in the MVP conversation at this point? Like, it's crazy.
RAPHIELLE JOHNSON: I think Giannis has definitely played himself into that discussion, along with Jokic and Embiid. As for the team, I don't see how you don't have them as the favorite in the East right now. I know that Boston won it last year. But in terms of the way that Milwaukee's playing, and also the Khris Middleton factor. He sat out last night's win over the Suns for injury management reasons, but he's been able to play 25 to 30 minutes per game recently.
So I think he's headed on the right track. You got Giannis, you've got Jrue Holiday. Brook Lopez, I think he's the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA given what he's given them in terms of shot block and rim protector, and also offensively. He stepped up, hit some big shots for them from the perimeter. So him, Bobby Portis.
I think that Jae Crowder addition, it won't have too much of an impact in fantasy, but just gives them another versatile physical wing defender. I think Milwaukee's a favorite right now.
DAN TITUS: For all the talk, and we'll get to the Western Conference, but I think that it's really telling that the Bucks have just been consistent all season long, and they're actually winning on the road, which is what the Western Conference just can't seem to pull together. The Bucks have the best record on the road, 22 and 13 this season. Ironically, the Boston Celtics are right behind them.
So I don't know, man, this Eastern Conference is actually probably one of the best, most competitive it's been in years past. Obviously, LeBron dominated for, like, a decade and some change, but now we're finally getting some parity. And you're seeing these, the upper echelon teams, these young stars, kind of taking over.