After the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference were upset by the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked if he considered the the team’s 2022-23 NBA season as a failure.
His lengthy and emotional response, which basically boiled down to “absolutely not”, quickly went viral.
The Kings, who entered their first playoffs since 2006 as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, were also eliminated in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in a showdown in Northern California. which continued until Game 7.
Kings sniper Kevin Huerter reflected on Antetokounmpo’s comments and shared whether he believes the same “failure” tag for Milwaukee’s season applies to Sacramento’s season.
“I think the situations are different,” Huerter said in a recent episode of “The Old Man and the Three,” which aired Thursday. “I respect Giannis because I’ve been out of place for him, that guy has a ring behind him. I think it’s a different situation for them as a team that’s won a championship, that core is together for years, and being the No. 1 seed and what I thought was the best team in the NBA all year, losing like that in the first round, I think it’s a different situation for us.
“Obviously, [it was] our first year together as a team, everything is so new as a team and as an organization. Just being in the playoffs felt brand new. So there are a lot of new things for us and I think everyone on the outside, especially our fans, was just happy that we were in the playoffs. So the wait was getting there and everything else was going to be gravy. But inside, on the team side, on the player side, we had higher goals. We thought we were the best team in this series, we thought we had the ingredients to put on a race and win a few races and try to do something special this year – and we didn’t.
“But I think for us it’s easier to turn the page and look forward to next year, just thinking like, ‘Okay, if we did this in year 1, let’s see what we can. do in year 2 and year 3 and year 4 as our chemistry continues to build and we age and improve as players. It’s a different situation from Milwaukee. I don’t want to identify with Giannis, I’m sure he has a different perspective on a lot of things in the NBA, but I think they definitely had more expectations than we would have given the situations. .
Since entering the league in 2013, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have made the playoffs eight times — four times past the first round. They reached the Eastern Conference Finals twice and won it all in the 2020-21 season.
Antetokounmpo is a seven-time All-Star, two-time NBA MVP and Finals MVP.
“It’s not a failure; these are steps to success,” Antetokounmpo said after the Bucks started in the first round. “There are always steps. Michael Jordan played 15 years, won six championships. The other nine years were a failure? Is that what you tell me?
“That’s a bad question; there is no failure in sport. There are good days, bad days. Some days you succeed, some days you don’t. Some days it’s your turn, other days it’s not your turn. And that’s sport. You don’t always win. Sometimes other people win. And this year, someone else is going to win, simple as that.
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On the other hand, the Kings entered the 2022-23 season with little to no expectations. So when they failed after taking the defending champions to a Game 7, although it wasn’t the outcome they wanted, the Kings’ season was anything but a failure.
And as Huerter said, the season only opened the doors to Sacramento’s blindingly bright future.