Hello newsletter readers, it's Shanna McCarriston here, back from my vacation and back on the east coast. Shockingly, I unpacked everything the night I got home. Unheard of right?! Unheard of for me at least. I will say that being back in this time zone after being in two others has me a bit all over the place.
But now to sports, shall we? And boy was it a great night. The Milwaukee Bucks are the NBA CHAMPS! Shoutout to any Milwaukee fans reading this. I hope you took today off from work. I went to Milwaukee once and found out some people there also call a water fountain a "bubbler," which many people in Boston also do, so I feel a kinship there. I should also note it is a pretty good year for teams named the Bucks (Bucs), with Tampa Bay becoming Super Bowl champs this past season as well.
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We will begin below by breaking down last night's game between the Bucks and Suns and find out how Milwaukee earned their first championship in well ... a while (spoiler alert: it's mostly because of Giannis Antetokounmpo.)
We will also discuss the Olympics, which are coming up very, very soon, what the Rams should do about Cam Akers' injury and much more
Let's get started.
📰 What you need to know
1. Bucks win first NBA title in 50 years behind Giannis Antetokounmpo's historic effort 🏀
"SUNS IN FOUR!" "BUCKS IN SIX!"
For the second time ever and the first time in a whopping 50 years, the Milwaukee Bucks are NBA champions. They took down the Phoenix Suns -- who at one point had a 2-0 series lead -- 105-98 in Game 6 last night.
It wouldn't have happened without, you guessed it, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The former MVP finished the clinching game with 50 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks to earn the NBA Finals MVP. 50 points!
Antetokounmpo, at just 26 is now an NBA champion, an NBA Finals MVP and a two-time league MVP. To add some context to how special that is, at the same age:
- Michael Jordan just had one league MVP and no championships
- LeBron James was a two-time MVP with no titles
- Wilt Chamberlain had one MVP and no titles
- Shaquille O'Neal had no MVP awards or titles
Game 6 was a tight match between the two teams, and in the series the Bucks had to really work to overcome that two-game deficit.
For a deeper look at how Giannis led the Bucks to victory -- and what another playoff loss means for Chris Paul's legacy -- here are some takeaways from the game, courtesy of our NBA scribe Michael Kaskey-Blomain.
- An all-time performance from Antetokounmpo: To say Giannis had a great game would not be doing last night's performance justice. I mean, the guy had almost half his team's points. He became the seventh player in NBA history to score 50-plus points in a Finals game
- A stellar night from the foul line for : Giannis excelling at the foul line was not the foul line story we were hearing throughout the postseason, as he had his fair share of issues. He changed that narrative in Game 6. Giannis knocked down 17 of his 19 attempts from the line, which ended up being crucial in a close game
- Another playoff collapse from Chris Paul: Chris Paul and the playoffs don't always exactly mesh. While he is one of the NBA's best point guards, he is known to lose in the playoffs. This series marked the fourth time Paul's team lost a best-of-seven series after going up 2-0
And for an even more in-depth look at at how Antetokounmpo reached this point in his career, check out this deep dive from our James Herbert.
2. The top Olympic storylines heading into the Games 🏅
The Tokyo Olympics are right around the corner and it seems like this year more than any other, there are a lot of stories to keep up with. Of course, the stories began last year when the Games were moved to summer of 2021. The news hasn't stopped since then.
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will officially begin on Friday (though softball action start last night). CBS Sports will have you covered as always when the games begin, but we also have you covered leading up to the event.
Here's a look at some of the top storylines to follow during the Tokyo Olympics, courtesy of our
college basketball Olympics scribe Matt Norlander!
- COVID-19 hovers over everything: The pandemic impacts all areas of the game and is the reason the event will look a lot different this year. Positive tests are already coming out of Olympic Village
- The Simone Biles Show: There are few athletes, if any, better at their craft and ahead of the competition more than Biles. This year, as always, she is must-see TV
- Katie Ledecky's inevitable dominance: Another athlete to watch is Ledecky, who consistently excels in her sport as well. The 24-year-old is competing in her third Games
- Will Team USA men's hoops team falter: People have been concerned about the men's basketball team after they lost back-to-back games earlier this month, so the pressure they are facing to succeed is mounting
3. What the Rams should do about Cam Akers' injury 🏈
Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles while working out and, on Tuesday, the team announced that he is expected to miss the entire 2021 season. The Rams are now left with a significant player missing from their running game with training camp right around the corner.
Darrell Henderson should have the opportunity to prove himself as the No. 1 running back, but the team can't rely on him alone. The other running backs they have on the roster are Xavier Jones and Raymond Calais, both of whom have never taken a carry in a regular season NFL game, and undrafted free agent rookie Otis Anderson.
So, yes, it's clear Los Angeles could use a veteran presence. Here are some free agents the Rams could use as RB2, along with how they each performed last season:
- Adrian Peterson, Lions: 604 yards, 7 touchdowns
- Frank Gore, Jets: 653 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Duke Johnson, Texans: 235 yards, 1 touchdown
- Chris Thompson, Jaguars: 20 yards, 0 touchdowns
There's no doubt the Rams now need help, the question just remains who they will go after to get this help from. Sean McVay's team is looking to make the offensive splash they have in year's past, and Akers was meant to be a key part of that.
4. Potential steals in the upcoming NBA Draft 🏀
Heading into the draft of any sport, there are the obviously the top picks and those who get taken a lot later. A lot of the time, the players that are expected to become stars live up to their potential and become top names in the sport, but sometimes it's those later picks that end up being the major names, too.
The 2021 NBA Draft is quickly approaching (it's taking place on July 29), so let's take a look at players who could be undrafted steals. While all of these players may not end up being stars, some of them could be turn into solid additions.
Here is a look at five players outside the CBS Sports NBA Draft Big Board who could end up making more of an impact than originally thought before draft night, along with their school and Big Board ranking:
- Moses Wright, Georgia Tech - Big Board ranking: 66
- Matt Mitchell, San Diego State - Big Board ranking: 77
- Sandro Mamukelashvili, Seton Hall - Big Board ranking: 65
- Aamir Simms, Clemson - Big Board ranking: 75
- Chris Smith, UCLA - Big Board ranking: 71
For full commentary and stats on each player, click here.
📝 Odds & Ends
- The U.S. Women's gymnastics team won't stay in the Tokyo Olympic Village during the Games and are opting to stay in a hotel instead
- Tom Brady stole the show with jokes during the Buccaneers' championship visit to the White House
- The A's stadium proposal is moves forward with City Council vote, but the team's future in Oakland remains uncertain
📺 What to watch tonight
⚾ Padres vs. Braves, 12:20 p.m. | ATL +140 | TV: MLB.TV
⚾ Mets vs. Reds, 12:35 p.m. | CIN +125 | TV: MLB.TV
⚾ Red Sox vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. | TOR -160 | TV: MLB.TV
🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet
As long as it's not against my favorite team, or a team I hate, watching a team win a championship always brings me joy and makes me smile. Watching athletes achieve their highest dreams, celebrate with their family and seeing their fans feel that happiness is heartwarming.
Giannis had an emotional moment with his family following the win, and knowing his story of just how much his parents sacrificed for him and his siblings makes this mean that much more.