Nick Wright's predictions and sports takes rarely garner much approval among Boston sports fans.
The co-host of FOX Sports 1 morning show "First Things First" often picks against teams in this region when making predictions. Wright's highlights include putting the New England Patriots on a list of seven teams that could win the Super Bowl during the 2018 season "only out of respect." The Patriots proved him, and many others doubters wrong a few months later when they won Super Bowl LIII.
Fast forward to Thursday's show and Wright made his pick on which team will win the Eastern Conference title when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes in Orlando next month. He's pretty convinced the Milwaukee Bucks will reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. He even called the Bucks "the best team by far" in the East.
Bro! Didn't you say the same 💩
last year 😄 https://t.co/D8kCPMr3Sj
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) June 25, 2020
Oddsmakers agree with Wright. The Bucks are strong betting favorites to win the Eastern Conference championship. Still, they can definitely be beaten, and two teams with a fighting chance to take them down are the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks have the best player in the East in superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who's probably going to win his second consecutive MVP. The team's second-best player is Khris Middleton, who despite being an All-Star, probably isn't going to strike a ton of fear into opponents. Although, in Middleton's defense, his numbers against the Celtics are absurdly good. Who is Milwaukee's third-best player? Eric Bledsoe? And what has head coach Mike Budenholzer done in the playoffs that should inspire confidence in people picking the Bucks?
We also cannot ignore Antetokounmpo and the Bucks blowing a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals last season and losing four straight games to Kawhi Leonard's Toronto Raptors. Antetokounmpo averaged just 20.5 points and shot 43.4 percent from the field in those losses.
The Bucks were great all season and will enter the league's restart with the best overall record. There are plenty of reasons why they could make the Finals, but it's by no means a certainty. Until this group actually shows it can reach that point, there will rightfully be some doubt.