When the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty ended in the 2018-19 NBA season, several teams became more aggressive in upgrading their rosters last summer. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers finally got their second superstar in Anthony Davis, while the Los Angeles Clippers added two of the best two-way players, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, to their lineup. As of now, the Lakers and the Clippers are expected to be in a tight battle for Western Conference supremacy, while in the Eastern Conference, the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Milwaukee Bucks are the heavy favorite to represent the city in the 2020 NBA Finals.
While waiting for the season to resume — on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic — the Stat Perform AI team created a simulation of the remaining games up to the 2020 Finals, according to Yahoo Sports. Unlike the initial expectations, the Clippers and the Lakers are predicted to clash in the Western Conference Semifinals and not in the third round. However, the series isn’t set to reach Game 7, as Leonard’s Clippers are predicted to take down James’ Lakers in just six games.
Like what most people have expected since the start of the season, the Clippers will emerge as the best team in the Western Conference and reach the NBA Finals for the first time in their franchise history. Unfortunately, the outcome of the Stat Perform AI‘s simulation didn’t proclaim the Clippers as the 2020 champions. Instead, that distinction went to Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who are predicted to have an easy path to the Finals.
“It is a landmark moment for the Clippers, who feature in the NBA Finals for the first time in their history. In the four major US sports – NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL – the Clippers are the oldest franchise that have never progressed to the championship round, having played their first NBA game in 1970. However, the Bucks spoil the party as they end the longest title drought in the NBA courtesy of a 4-2 triumph on the biggest stage. The Golden State Warriors held the record for the longest gap between championships – 40 years – but Milwaukee reign supreme for the first time since 1971, ending their 49-year wait.”
Winning the 2020 championship title will be vital for the Bucks as it could determine Antetokounmpo’s future in Milwaukee. No matter what the outcome of the 2019-20 NBA season will be, the Bucks are expected to offer Antetokounmpo a massive contract extension this summer. However, if they fail to accomplish their main goal, there is a strong possibility for Antetokounmpo to decline the extension with the Bucks and become the most coveted free agent in the summer of 2021.