NBA Finals: Suns-Bucks Game 6 implications will define legacies

Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during game one of the 2021 NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during game one of the 2021 NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

On Tuesday night, July 20th, the Milwaukee Bucks will have the opportunity to claim its first NBA Championship since 1971 when they host Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns. Following an electrifying Game 5 that saw Milwaukee pull off a triumphant road victory to take a commanding 3-2 series lead, the city that hasn’t brought home a championship in 50 years now stands just one game away from making glorious history.

The Suns have lost three straight games after taking a decisive 2-0 series lead and will have their backs against the wall heading into a pivotal Game 6 with all the momentum on the opposite side. It’s been an incredible season for Phoenix, but it could suddenly come to a disappointing end if they fail to bounce back and fall short of the ultimate goal.

As the Milwaukee Bucks prepare to close out the Phoenix Suns in a defining Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, numerous legacies are bound to be affected.

There will be countless legacy-defining factors at stake based on the implications of Game 6 in Milwaukee, where there will be about 20,000 fans inside the Fiserv Forum arena and approximately 65,000 outside of the arena around Deer District.

For the Phoenix Suns, the most amount of pressure will be on 11-time All-Star and veteran point guard Chris Paul. Paul, who’s been in the league for 16 productive seasons, has never won a ring throughout his illustrious career. In his first NBA Finals appearance, this might be the best and only chance that he’ll ever get.

If CP3 fails to overcome the relentlessness of Milwaukee’s star two-way guard Jrue Holiday and exits the postseason with more regrets, it will cause a damaging dent to his overall legacy. Game 6 should surely be a legacy-defining contest for Chris Paul.

Suns head coach Monty Williams shouldn’t be blamed for whichever result occurs after the brilliant job that he’s done leading this predominant young team up to this point, but if he can inspire this squad to get just one more win and send this series to a Game 7, it would likely be the greatest win of his coaching career. In addition, his reputation would deservingly stamp atop the best of the best of coaches in the NBA if it hasn’t already.

Similarly, Devin Booker has been outstanding in these Finals with his killer shot-making and multiple 40-point performances so his legacy shouldn’t be at stake. If the Suns fall short, Booker won’t be a scapegoat. He’s more than earned his respect across the league throughout this postseason as a bona fide superstar that’s still growing at 24 years old.

Clinching an NBA Championship upon Game 6 would mean everything for the Milwaukee Bucks.

For the Milwaukee Bucks, this would mean everything for the front office, staff, and mostly the players, who are all competing on the NBA Finals stage for the first time. Some have been through the rock bottom days and many ups and downs in order to reach this opportunity.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Milwaukee’s two long-time tenured stars, have been with the organization since 2013. In their first season together, the Bucks went 15-67 during the regular season. Now, they’re on the verge of winning 16 postseason games. It’s been an astonishing journey for both superheroes.

Antetokounmpo will have the chance to lead his team to an NBA Championship while earning Finals MVP, which will significantly boost his promising legacy and add to his collection of accomplishments that includes two-time MVP, five-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA, four-time All-Defensive, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, and All-Star Game MVP at just 26 years old. If completed, that would just be absolute greatness from a generational talent at its finest.

From a second-round pick, the G League, being traded as an “add-on” piece, and going under the radar for the majority of his career to the present situation here in the NBA Finals, Middleton’s story is another inspiring gem. Antetokounmpo’s No. 34 jersey will already be retired by the Bucks when it’s all set and done, but if Milwaukee wins Game 6 on Tuesday evening, it should be a no-brainer that Middleton’s No. 22 jersey will eventually be placed in the rafters as well.

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Jrue Holiday was clearly worth the haul of assets that the Bucks sacrificed to acquire him from New Orleans last offseason, and that will be solidified along with his valued reputation as a premier guard in this league set to skyrocket if he’s able to help bring Milwaukee a championship in his first season with the team. Like Middleton, Holiday has been underrated throughout his entire career, but a title will ultimately change that for good.

Veterans Brook Lopez and P.J. Tucker could soon call themselves NBA Champions after well-respected careers, and Bobby Portis, the influential fan-favorite that bet on himself by taking an inexpensive deal to join the Bucks, could fulfill his values as he’s finally found peace with himself. Portis has fought through many ups and downs as he’s grown over the years, so winning a championship with an organization that has believed in him since day one will go beyond measures for the energetic, heartfelt, determined forward.

Needless to have to say, general manager Jon Horst deserves all the praise for forming arguably the greatest roster of Milwaukee Bucks franchise history. After all these years of sacrificing assets to strengthen the supporting cast of the core, convincing the star trio of Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Holiday to commit long-term, and attracting prominent free agents to a small market ball club like Milwaukee, reaching the ultimate goal would be an honorary milestone for Horst without a doubt.

Lastly, clinching the title would shift the outlook on head coach Mike Budenholzer’s reputation. Following two previous years of bitter postseason exits with the Bucks and similar playoff struggles while coaching the Atlanta Hawks, Bud has a chance to finally advance over the hump. To his credit, he’s been more open-minded with the schemes, blossomed out of his comfort zone, and has made the proper adjustments for the most part during this playoff run, especially after losing starting two-guard Donte DiVincenzo due to a foot injury. Budenholzer has done well tactically against the Suns thus far and now needs to coach one more efficiently executed game.

With all the implications at stake between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, it will certainly be a legacy-defining night that will either positively or negatively affect the careers and reputations of many of those involved.

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