Phoenix Suns: 3 Most Important Matchups vs Milwaukee Bucks NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns NBA Finals Matchup: The Suns need to slow down whatever version of Giannis Antetokounmpo they get

When Giannis Antetokounmpo hyper-extended his knee during the Eastern Conference Finals, most thought the worst immediately after he hit the floor. But although the former back-to-back league MVP missed his team’s next two games, he seems relatively fine, feeling likely to play at some point during this series.

When healthy, Antetokounmpo resembles a top ten NBA talent, absolutely making him someone for the Suns to emphasize shutting down. Even by league-wide standards, the Bucks feature Antetokounmpo at an incredibly high rate, as he own the NBA’s sixth highest usage percentage at 32.0 percent, consequently making him the most relied upon player to play in the Finals this year.

Although certainly easier said than done, neutralizing Antetokounmpo essentially takes an arm and leg away Milwaukee, making it a task worth pursuing. But whether or not Phoenix gets Antetokounmpo in his prime form, they must remain prepared.

If the Greek Freak makes a full recovery, the Suns need to stick to the only game plan that seems to work against him: allowing outside shots while doubling-up inside. Shooting an abysmal 18.2 percent from deep, it remains imperative for the Suns to encourage his outside shooting tendencies.

During both games against the Bucks this year, Phoenix actually started either Dario Saric or Frank Kaminsky, looking to plan as many trees around the rim as possible. Although Jae Crowder’s shooting remains a highly valued tool for the Suns, they might need to sacrifice it early on, and bring all hands on deck around the rim.

The “hack-a-Shaq” method might come of use as well depending on a game’s situation, with Antetokounmpo also shooting an ugly 53.7 from the line. Suns fans, make sure to count on down from 10 on his free-throws as well. If NBA officials refuse to enforce a rule, at least let them keep hearing it.

Three Ex-Suns That Would Make Great Additions to Our NBA Finals Team. dark. Next

But with Antetokounmpo possibly missing some burst due to his injury, the Suns should generally approach their defense on him slowly. Take some time and see how he moves, and how much intensity he brings before over-committing to one specific game plan. This might require even more in-game adjustments, but we know head coach Monty Williams can handle that.