Who is the best team in basketball right now: Bucks or Lakers?

Giannis Antetokounmpo playing for Bucks
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NBA

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Since we are on the subject of bowl games right now, it would be fair to say that the 2019-20 NBA Finals are on course to be the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Bowl. Yes, the Milwaukee Bucks (Abdul-Jabbar played for them from 1969 to 1975) and Los Angeles Lakers (1975 to 1989) are the obvious cream of the crop in the association so far this season. It’s still early, of course, but for the moment these two powerhouses are making a mockery of their respective conferences.

How are they doing it? Let’s take a look.

Bucks

In the famous words from The Mighty Ducks, “It’s not worth winning if you can’t win big!” Milwaukee (20-3) certainly seems to be living by that old adage these days. Head coach Mike Budenholzer’s squad is sporting an average margin of victory at a bloated 13.6 points per game. No other team in the league is winning more by than 10.3 ppg (Dallas). The Bucks’ current 14-game winning streak is becoming more and more convincing as days go by. In their four most recent outings they humiliated Charlotte 137-96, New York 132-88, Detroit 127-103, and the Clippers 119-91.

In this era of dynamic duos in the NBA, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has no such superstar sidekick. But he doesn’t need one. There are two reasons for that: first, he is so good by himself that it isn’t required; second, Milwaukee is deep enough such that outside of Antetokounmpo does not have to be especially top heavy. An unbelievable 13 different players are logging double-digit minutes per game, and all 13 of them have appeared in at least 11 contests. Even though Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.8 ppg, seven team members are still contributing more than 8.0 ppg.

Lakers

Heading into Sunday night’s date with Minnesota (check out for free NBA expert picks), the Lakers also find themselves at 20-3. They lead the Western Conference by 3.5 games over the Mavericks (Milwaukee owns a similar three-game cushion on Boston in the East). The two-headed monster that is LeBron James and Anthony Davis is simply too much for opponents to handle. James is averaging 25.6 points, 10.7 assists, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Davis is delivering 26.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.7 bpg, and 1.4 spg.

The supporting cast is not exactly spectacular, but it’s solid. Kyle Kuzma is coming off the bench to rank third on the club in scoring at 11.3 ppg. Rajon Rondo is dishing out 5.8 apg, Dwight Howard is grabbing 7.1 rpg in less than 20 minutes per outing, and Danny Green is shooting better than 38 percent from three-point range.

The verdict

Los Angeles quite clearly boasts the best duo in the business. Milwaukee, however, is led by arguably the NBA’s most dominant player. The Bucks can also stake a claim to having the most impressive depth and also the best coach. Right now, as the standings suggest, it just about a tie. But it seems like Milwaukee may be better built for the playoffs—albeit by an extremely small margin. Only time will tell….

Virginia Bonuses

See All
Unibet

$100

Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 No Sweat First Bet

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000!

Get refunded if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

BetRivers

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Win $200 if Any NBA Team Hits a Three Pointer!

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NBA game

Win $200 in free bets if any team hits a three pointer

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$150

Bet $5 & Win $150 If Your First Moneyline Bet Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on the pre-game Moneyline in any sport

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$800

Get 4x $200 In Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,250

Get a $1,250 risk-free bet

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 if Any NHL Team Scores A Goal

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NHL game

Win $200 in free bets if any teams scores a goal

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 in Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

Underdog Fantasy

$100

First deposit is 100% matched up to $100 with Underdog Fantasy

Sign up for a new account with Underdog Fantasy

Make your first deposit

Every dollar (up to $100) will be matched! Deposit $25, get $50; deposit $100, get $200, etc

Must be 21+ to play. Terms & conditions apply