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Brew Hoop Season Review: Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo

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How did the Bucks’ core stack up this season?

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We rounded up the shooting guard position last week, examining Tony Snell’s surprising rise, Vaughn’s frustrating regression and the hype stylings of Jason Terry. Today, we look at the Bucks’ “core”. While Giannis is certainly more in line with power forwards, his positional versatility means he can easily fill in as a small forward. That, plus it’s tidy to keep these three together. Here’s what the Brew Hoop staff thought of Milwaukee’s most promising players this season:

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Antetokounmpo Season Stats

Giannis Antetokounmpo MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS/G
Giannis Antetokounmpo MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS/G
Per Game 35.6 8.2 15.7 0.522 0.6 2.3 0.272 7.6 13.5 0.564 0.541 5.9 7.7 0.77 1.8 7 8.7 5.4 1.6 1.9 2.9 3.1 22.9
Per 36 2845 8.3 15.9 0.522 0.6 2.3 0.272 7.7 13.6 0.564 0.541 6 7.7 0.77 1.8 7.1 8.8 5.5 1.7 1.9 3 3.1 23.2
Advanced G PER TS% 3PAr FTr ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OWS DWS WS WS/48 OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
80 26.1 0.6 0.143 0.487 5.8 22.6 14.3 26.5 2.3 4.7 13.3 28.2 7.9 4.5 12.5 0.21 4.1 3.5 7.6 6.9

Synopsis:

Giannis made “the leap” this year. We discussed such a leap for much of his career, and it finally manifested itself. While the jump shot remains under construction, he would not be denied at the rim all year long. He shot 70% in the restricted area, an absurd number often reserved for rim-rolling finishing big men. He raised his usage, lowered his turnover percentage and leaped into the superstar strata while starting his first All-Star game.

The point guard discussion all offseason was probably oversold, but he still had plenty of creation duties in the halfcourt. His transition finishes remain breathtaking, and his strength and patience in the post this year displayed an uncanny ability to wait for the precise moment to wrap his stretchy limbs around defenders. Lack of shot creation remained a bugaboo in the playoffs, and too often he passed to lackluster supporting players late in the shot clock for hurried releases. Milwaukee has a superstar now though. That phrase hasn’t been uttered for nearly forty years.

Staff Grades

Offense Defense Improvement Fit Going Forward Overall Season
Offense Defense Improvement Fit Going Forward Overall Season
8.68 9.16 9.9 10 9.94

Adam: He’s a superstar. I’m so happy.

Mitchell: I know, right?!

Gabe: Giannis has reached the point where Drake will mention him in one of his songs this summer, you can book it now.

Jabari Parker

Parker Season Stats

Jabari Parker MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS/G
Jabari Parker MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS/G
Per Game 33.9 7.8 16 0.49 1.3 3.5 0.365 6.5 12.5 0.525 0.53 3.2 4.3 0.743 1.5 4.6 6.1 2.8 1 0.4 1.8 2.2 20.1
Per 36 1728 8.3 17 0.49 1.4 3.7 0.365 7 13.2 0.525 0.53 3.4 4.5 0.743 1.6 4.9 6.5 3 1.1 0.5 1.9 2.3 21.4
Advanced G PER TS% 3PAr FTr ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OWS DWS WS WS/48 OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
51 19.1 0.563 0.219 0.268 5.4 15.6 10.6 14.3 1.5 1.1 9.2 26.5 2.6 1.5 4.1 0.113 1.6 -1.3 0.3 1

Synopsis:

Parker’s season is defined by his mid-year second ACL tear. After coming into the year with an increased role due to Middleton’s absence, Jabari managed to score effectively and efficiently. He added the 3-point to his repertoire, and surprising proficiency had him looking like a snappy fit next to Giannis as he ended shooting 36.5% on 3.7 3-point attempts per-36. His run-outs in transition gave Giannis a devastating running partner, and the two were near unstoppable when they had an advantage on the run.

Unfortunately, his defensive presence continues to be lackadaisical. Too often he made the wrong read, incorrect rotation or showed a lack of effort closing out on shooters. In a risk-reward scheme like Milwaukee’s, there’s no room for miscommunication or faulty effort. Kidd tried to mitigate damage by “hiding” him on ball against the opponent’s best wing, and that worked to a point. His rebounding numbers remain woefully low for a man of his size and athleticism, and that’s made more frustrating by the fact he’s so dangerous going coast-to-coast after grabbing a rebound and scurrying into the frontcourt. His eligibility for an extension remains the most intriguing inflection point in Milwaukee’s offseason, despite his career being questionable given the nearly nonexistent list of pro players with two ACL tears on the same knee.

Staff Grades

Offense Defense Improvement Fit Going Forward Overall Season
Offense Defense Improvement Fit Going Forward Overall Season
7.94 2.66 7.6 4.28 6.88

Adam: Saddened by his injury, I have a hard time taking much away from this season besides the encouraging increase in 3-point shooting. His defense hasn’t seemed to improve, but he still attacked the rim with such pleasurable ferocity. I miss seeing him in transition with GIannis, but his injury history is hard to reconcile with now.

Mitchell: I want to believe in Jabari Parker on this team. I want to believe that he can return from a second ACL tear with enough athleticism and explosiveness to continue tearing rims off of backboards. I want to believe that he can navigate a defensive rotation better than Mr. Magoo. I want to believe that he can be more than a forward analogue of Jamal Crawford.

Gabe: It would seriously kill me if Jabari’s time with the team is over. That being said, I don’t think it is. I believe the organization has all the faith in him and I trust Suki Hobson to have him healthy again. While he improved on his 3-point shooting, his defense was still a crucial liability. I hope he comes back strong. To be a strong playoff team, you need multiple scoring options, and he would fill one of them. For right now until early spring of next season, we’ll play the waiting game on him.

Khris Middleton

Middleton Season Stats

Khris Middleton MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS/G
Khris Middleton MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS/G
Per Game 30.7 5.2 11.5 0.45 1.6 3.6 0.433 3.6 7.9 0.459 0.518 2.8 3.2 0.88 0.4 3.9 4.2 3.4 1.4 0.2 2.2 2.7 14.7
Per 36 889 6.1 13.5 0.45 1.8 4.2 0.433 4.3 9.3 0.459 0.518 3.3 3.7 0.88 0.4 4.5 5 4 1.7 0.3 2.6 3.2 17.3
Advanced G PER TS% 3PAr FTr ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OWS DWS WS WS/48 OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
29 15 0.57 0.312 0.276 1.5 14.5 8.1 17.5 2.3 0.7 14.8 22.5 0.7 0.9 1.6 0.085 0 -0.6 -0.5 0.3

Synopsis:

An unforeseen hamstring injury left many presuming he wouldn’t even make it back onto the court this year. Instead, Khris Middleton returned earlier than anticipated, and went through a decent stretch of games looking like his old midrange hunting self. His shot didn’t abandon him with the injury, but his off the dribble and defensive game seemed stilted by his neutered athleticism. Whether he’s able to reach his previous level of play and this injury doesn’t cause permanent long-term damage will be an intriguing question to monitor next season.

He shot threes at a career-best 43.3%, but also averaged nearly one less attempt from deep than a year ago. His preference to operate in the post and midrange is maddening but effective with his size allowing him to get his shot off over shorter defenders or by using his smooth fadeaway jumper. Middleton still showed the playmaking ability he flashed last year, even with a hampered ability to work past defenders and open up passing lanes.

Staff Grades

Offense Defense Improvement Fit Going Forward Overall Season
Offense Defense Improvement Fit Going Forward Overall Season
7.12 8.28 4.66 9.28 6.72

Adam: Considering he had his hamstring completely dislodged from the bone, I’d say Middleton did pretty darn well coming back at least a month early and helping lead the team into the playoffs. Whether he can reach his prior level of play is a genuine concern, but I think the hope would be he doesn’t have to work as much as a lead ball-handler. Milwaukee’s uptick in turnovers after the break was largely due to his presence.

Mitchell: Khris Middleton is that friend you made in college that always reached out to you with plans to go out, volunteered to be the designated driver, never cancelled without a fair amount of notice, and called you out when you were being foolish without being condescending. He does so much for you, but you never properly appreciate him, and somehow that’s okay. He’s still there, still filling in the gaps you didn’t even realize were there, and generally makes everything better.

Gabe: K-Midd showed his value to this team right when we came back. Remember the stretch where Milwaukee won 13 out of 16? We can thank this man right here. He didn’t seem to be as much of a sniper as he was in previous years, but he still filled his role pretty well. As Adam mentioned, he would have his fair share of turnovers but I anticipate that being fixed next season. I also anticipate him to make his All-Star game debut.