Why teams that win the title win more titles
In 2008, Marvel Iron Man was released in theaters. The film about a lesser-known comic book superhero was well received and grossed $585.1 million at the box office.
It’s no surprise that two years later a second came out, followed by a third to close the trilogy.
Marvel has gone from one blockbuster movie to the launch of a “cinematic universe,” which now contains 32 films with eight more set to release in the coming years.
We quickly forget that before Iron Mansuperheroes weren’t necessarily part of “mainstream culture” and the popularity of the movie dictated how well Marvel would make this universe.
The movie paved the way, and now it’s hard to imagine life without seeing an ad for the new Marvel movie every time you turn on the TV.
Likewise in sports, and more specifically in the NBA, more often than not, winning a championship leads to two, and in some cases to three or four. If a team is able to keep its star players over several seasons, we are witnessing a form of “dynasty”.
That being said, in the past 10 years only one team – the Golden State Warriors – has managed to win more than one championship.
While the modern era of “player empowerment,” where stars frequently move teams or request trades, certainly makes it harder to build a dynasty, it’s not impossible.
So when Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks triumphed over the rest of the NBA, many expected it to be their Iron Man moment, with one championship paving the way for many more.
While it certainly seems easier to produce quality superhero movies every year than to win an NBA championship, the reality is, for this core Bucks of Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez of to have only one Finals appearance in the past five years is somewhat disappointing.
Entering the 2023 playoffs with the best record, the Bucks were the clear favorites to win it all as they prepared to face the Miami Heat, who after losing to Atlanta in the play-ins had fallen to eighth. first in the series.
Of course the Heat had Jimmy Butler who every playoff like clockwork goes from being a star player who you’re not completely convinced is your main man to a top-five player who’s genuinely able to beat a team on his own.
Still, this Bucks team was deep and led by a two-time MVP in Giannis, many expected this streak to last no longer than five to six games.
Well, they weren’t wrong, five games later and it was over.
The only thing was that the eighth-seeded Heat would be the team that would advance.
Giannis played just 11 minutes in Game 1 and missed two more games after a back injury was definitely a factor, that being said this Bucks team had other stars on their roster who should have at least to be able to win a few matches. .
At playmaker, star Jrue Holiday, who is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the league and who has shown time and time again that he is capable of stepping in when needed, was absent.
Khris Middleton showed us in the 2021 Finals that when the stakes are high you can count on him, and while he’s played some of his best basketball since his knee injury this series, he was also way too inconsistent, where two games in the series he would score less than 20 points.
Second Defensive Player of the Year to Brook Lopez, third place to Sixth Man of the Year Bobby Portis, and the rest of the Bucks bench also failed to elevate their game.
Overall, even without Giannis this team shouldn’t have lasted more than five games, and although Antetokounmpo said this season “wasn’t a failure”, the reality is that it was, and that meant the blame game had to be played.
With the front office having to point the finger, the obvious answer was head coach Mike Budenholzer (Bud), who would subsequently be fired shortly after the Bucks were eliminated.
Considering how often the head coach is the first to go in the sport, that wasn’t surprising, but was that fair?
For any NBA team, losing your best player can easily hurt your championship hopes, but with a deep roster like the Bucks, as well as a favorable game as the top seed, Bud should have been able to win. more than one game.
The safety net, however, that had protected Bud from losing his job, was the fact that only two seasons earlier he had been the man to break the Bucks’ 50-year championship drought.
Like any playoff series, you can punch holes and point out weak spots that can place a so-called “asterisk” on their championship, and Milwaukee’s triumph was no exception.
A Miami Heat first round saw the Bucks take on a star-studded Brooklyn Nets team featuring the talents of Kyrie Irving, James Harden and most notably Kevin Durant.
While the Nets big three hadn’t played much together, an emphatic 4-1 win over Boston in the first round had them as favorites.
After an eight-point loss in Game 1, things didn’t look much better for the Bucks in Game 2 as they were eliminated by 39 points. An ankle injury to Kyrie saw him ruled out for the rest of the series, and with Harden playing on a hamstring, it was up to Durant to take over.
Going down in Game 7, Durant was literally an inch away from bringing down the Bucks. But with his toe on the three-point line, the game was sent to overtime, where Buds’ team would not only win, but save their jobs, as it was widely believed that a playoff failure would see him fired. .
Milwaukee would go on to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy after taking down the Hawks and Suns, but there will always be questions about whether the Nets would have taken them down had they managed to stay healthy.
If there’s one downside to winning the championship (and there really aren’t too many) it’s that now the team has shown they can win it once, it’s expected that she can do it again.
The following season, the Bucks weren’t as strong, but they still pushed the Celtics to seven games where a career night out from Grant Williams would send them packing their bags.
It was certainly disappointing for Milwaukee, but pushing Boston to seven games without Middleton, who missed the series through injury, was a sign they can still compete with the best.
It also gave coach Bud an out, as he could fall back on Middleton’s injury as an excuse to once again underperform in the post-season.
Fast forward a year, and Bud was out after a poor overall coaching performance in the first round, which saw Miami coach Eric Spoelstra do a complete number on him.
Many sports fans, especially those who support very unsuccessful teams, would tell you that they would gladly take decades of racing just for a title, but the reality is that when you win one, expectations rise and you are never satisfied. with just one.
Coach Bud had the slate to win another, but repeatedly showed that once expectations were championship or doomed he couldn’t live up to it and in some ways fell victim to its previous success.
In 2008, if Marvel failed to produce another good movie after Iron Man, you’d still be happy, because at least we released a fun action movie, but at the same time, we’d say it was a missed opportunity and a failure. Instead, the Marvel Cinematic Universe became the highest-grossing franchise of all time, grossing over $28.56 billion.
While the Bucks and their fans will always be content with winning a championship, the reality is that if they are unable to raise another banner while Giannis is still on the roster and at his peak, it would truly be an opportunity. missed.