When it comes to Milwaukee Bucks Swiss Army knife Khris Middleton, it seems like he is always the topic of discussion on #BucksTwitter, for better, or for worse.
However, there is no denying his importance to the reigning Central Division champions.
Last season, Middleton played and started in 77 regular season contests while averaging 31.1 minutes per game (down from 36.4 two seasons ago). To me, his durability has always been what’s impressed me the most about Khash. Aside from his rookie season and the freak hamstring injury he suffered in 2016, Middleton has played in 77 or more games five out of the seven seasons he has been in the NBA.
Khris Middleton’s 2018-2019 season got off to an interesting start.
He shot nearly 60 percent from deep the first seven games of the season, but came back down to earth a bit on November while still making a serviceable 35 percent of his three-pointers. December was arguably the roughest portion of the season where he converted on only 30 percent of his three-pointers.
When the dust settled, Middleton still shot a reliable 37.8 percent from beyond the arc on a career-high 6.2 attempts per game. Head coach Mike Budenholzer often made it a point of emphasis to get Khris going early in games and to let it fly at will.
While his averages of 18.3 points, six rebounds, 4.3 assists, and one steal per game in the regular season don’t pop off the screen, he had to sacrifice a bit more in Budenholzer’s share the sugar offensive scheme. Whenever he was out on the floor, opposing defenses needed to respect his ability to hit the three, thus giving Giannis Antetokounmpo more room to operate. You don’t need me to tell you how important that is for the Bucks.
His playmaking skills fly under the radar, too. He averaged a career-high 4.3 assists per game and we saw him grow as a ball handler, especially in pick-and-roll situations. We saw him dropping dimes all throughout last season and his maturation in the passing game certainly elevated the Bucks offensively. The chemistry he shares on the court with Giannis Antetokounmpo is palpable.
When it came down to the Eastern Conference Finals, his production offensively was a bit inconsistent, scoring only 13.7 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting from the floor. However, he was asked to guard Kawhi Leonard...which is a lot to ask for anybody. While I thought Middleton did an admirable job at “slowing” the Klaw down, the Bucks just could not seem to solve what Nick Nurse and the Raptors threw at them defensively once the Bucks won the first two games of the series.
With the 2019-2020 NBA season on the horizon, I expect another solid campaign from Khris Middleton, especially after having a full season under Budenholzer’s tutelage. I do not think it is farfetched at all to think Middleton will finish the season averaging 20-plus points while also making his second All-Star team. The Bucks go as Khris Middleton goes.
All aboard the #ToughShotExpress!
Editor’s Note: Here’s a link to the full voting results from yesterday. And with that, our Ranking the Roster exercise to a close. We could post exclusively about Giannis taking the #1 spot, but we all knew that was an inevitability from the start. I wasn’t around or as active when this process first started, I think it was 2014, but based on my research it looked like Giannis has finished #1 every year. Impressive stuff, folks.
Thanks to all for participating and sticking with it through the kinks. By the end, it seems like another worthwhile year and that’s all thanks to you.
Final 2019 Brew Hoop Roster Ranking Results
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
2. Khris Middleton
3. Brook Lopez
4. Eric Bledsoe
5. George Hill
6. Wesley Matthews
7. Pat Connaughton
8. Robin Lopez
9. Kyle Korver
10. Sterling Brown
11. D.J. Wilson
12. Ersan Ilyasova
13. Donte DiVincenzo
14. Dragan Bender
15. Thanasis Antetokounmpo