Milwaukee Bucks: Ranking 3 biggest rivals for the 2021-22 NBA season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Philadelphia 76ers: Dwight Howard
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 17 (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

Since their rise to contention over the past few seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks have certainly made some enemies along the way.

Whether it be due to previous postseason matchups, a classic regular season meeting, or some personal objection between players, the Bucks have plenty to go around. That is only heightened after the team’s title run as they have become world champions, where some of the rivalries that will be mentioned ahead have only intensified in the aftermath.

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With the Bucks ending their 50-year title drought this past season, everyone will be aiming to overthrow the reigning champs during the upcoming 2021-22 season.

That should help add some tension to the matchups, particularly if the Bucks were to meet with any of the teams that make this list in a postseason scenario, which it seems like they ultimately will. With that being said, here are Milwaukee’s top three rivals for the 2021-22 NBA season.

Rival No. 3 for the Milwaukee Bucks for 2021-22 season — Philadelphia 76ers

The Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers have been dangerously close to meeting in the postseason in two of the last three seasons, but it just has not happened.

In 2019, Kawhi Leonard’s iconic shot in Game 7 with the Toronto Raptors sent the 76ers home in a crushing defeat that prevented a matchup with the Bucks in the Conference Finals. This past year, the two sides seemed destined to meet in the East Finals, but Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks prevented that by defeating the 76ers in a Game 7. While a playoff matchup has yet to take place, these two certainly have their share of memorable regular season matchups over the years.

One particular matchup that comes to mind was a March between the two in 2019, where the two East juggernauts went at it. Soon-to-be league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 52 points in that game, calling Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons “a baby” after dunking on him late in the contest. During another meeting later that month, former Buck Eric Bledsoe and 76ers big man Joel Embiid got into a skirmish after throwing the ball at one another, leading to Bledsoe being ejected. This past season, the Bucks miraculously came back from a double-digit deficit vs. the 76ers, and Antetokounmpo famously sat on the Philadelphia logo after hitting a clutch shot.

These two teams have had their share of memorable moments over the years, which should only continue in 2021-22 as both teams will be competing at the top of the East. Antetokounmpo and Embiid could very well be jockeying for position in the NBA’s MVP race next season as well. There appears to be some bad blood between these two teams, and perhaps this will be the year that they finally meet in the NBA Playoffs.