FanPost

The Understated Greatness of Khris Middleton (Part 1)

Khris’ game and his personality has always been understated, so he doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves. But this year Middleton has been getting a lot of deserved attention. Even some national media geniuses like Chris Webber have had to acknowledge how good Middleton has been playing. The dude got paid, and has deserved every penny so far, so let’s heap more praise on Kha$h Money Middleton.

While most call him a "second fiddle" and the "perfect compliment" to Giannis, he’s just been flat out balling. He’s dishing dimes that would impres some of the most famous passers in the game, and he’s not dribbling off of his foot nearly as much as he has in the past. (Maybe he deserves another shot in the skills competition!) He’s gunning for a 50-40-90 year after falling just short last year. (3 point contest anyone?)

But does he deserved to be mentioned alongside some of the greatest in game right now? Is Khris a Top 30, Top 20, even Top 15 player now?

I just thought I’d take a look at some of the numbers, comparing Khris to some of the other great forwards/wings (and whatever Harden, Luka, and Beal are) in the game. How does Khris stack up against KD, Harden, PG13, Kawhi, Lebron, Luka, and Beal this season? I tried to take the most comprehensive approach, looking at as many parameters as possible (or, at least, as is possible to do within 30 minutes). (Unless otherwise stated, all stats are taken from CTG, which does not count garbage time.)

Raw Stats per36

Just a look at raw stats adjusted per36 to compare across. Taken from nba.com.

Points/Assists/Rebounds/Stocks

  • Khris: 23.3/ 6.6/ 7.0/ 1.4
  • Durant: 30.0/ 5.1/ 7.3/ 2.1
  • Harden: 24.4/ 11.2/ 6.7/ 1.6
  • Kawhi: 27.6/ 5.6/ 5.5/ 2.8
  • Lebron: 26.9/ 8.1/ 8.3/ 1.5
  • Luka: 28.2/ 9.7/ 9.3/ 1.7
  • Beal: 35.1/ 4.7/ 4.9/ 1.9

Points per shot attempt

CTG tracks how many points a player scores per 100 shot attempts, including FGA and trips to the line. I’ve divided it by 100 just to show how many points each player scores per shot attempt.

  1. Durant: 1.33
  2. Harden: 1.31
  3. Khris: 1.31
  4. Paul George: 1.29
  5. Kawhi: 1.24
  6. Lebron: 1.21
  7. Beal: 1.21
  8. Luka: 1.14

eFG%

For those that don’t know, this stat adjust the player’s FG% to account for the extra point in a 3-point shot. Right now the league average for eFG% is

  1. Khris: 60.6%
  2. Durant: 60.4%
  3. Paul George: 60.3%
  4. Lebron: 56.4%
  5. Kawhi: 56.1%
  6. Beal: 53.9%
  7. Harden: 53.8%
  8. Luka: 52.8%

Assist to Usage Ratio

CTG tracks how many assists a player makes compared to their USG, giving us a look into how many dimes a player drops compared to how much they have the ball.

  1. Harden: 1.34
  2. Luka: 1.15
  3. Lebron: 1.06
  4. Khris: 1.04
  5. Paul George: 0.83
  6. Kawhi: 0.81
  7. Durant: 0.69
  8. Beal: 0.63

Raw On/Off Differential

How many more net points does the team score while this player is on the court vs. off?

  1. Kawhi: +23.5
  2. Lebron: +14.0
  3. Durant: +13.0
  4. Paul George: +12.7
  5. Harden: +12.6
  6. Khris: +8.4
  7. Luka: +6.2
  8. Beal: +4.1

ESPN RPM

IDK how they calculate this stat, but it’s supposed to measure a player’s on-court impact. It takes into account a bunch of things, I imagine.

  1. Lebron: 7.48
  2. Paul George: 5.49
  3. Kawhi: 4.51
  4. Durant: 3.90
  5. Khris: 3.70
  6. Harden: 3.69
  7. Beal: 3.17
  8. Luka: 1.60

538 RAPTOR

538 has developed a stat for measuring player statistics in the "modern NBA," RAPTOR, which stands for Robust Algoritm (using) Player Tracking (and) On/Off Ratings. It’s complicated and you can google what it measures. But essentially just another way to measure how much impact a player has on the game.

  1. Kawhi: 11.6
  2. Luka: 7.2
  3. Paul George: 7.2
  4. Lebron: 7.2
  5. Durant: 6.0
  6. Beal: 4.8
  7. Middleton: 4.5
  8. Harden: 3.7

ESPN PER

  1. Beal: 26.12
  2. Durant: 26.43
  3. Luka: 26.25
  4. Kawhi: 28.58
  5. Lebron: 24.34
  6. Harden: 23.12
  7. Paul George: 22.58
  8. Khris: 22.54

ESPN Fantasy Points per Game

This is random, and not at all scientific, but I thought it would take into account multiple offensive and defensive statistics and the player’s overall impact on the game.

  1. Durant: 53.4
  2. Luka: 52.9
  3. Harden: 52.6
  4. Kawhi: 51.6
  5. Beal: 51.2
  6. Lebron: 47.0
  7. Paul George: 43.4
  8. Khris: 42.9

I’m not trying to say Khris is better than some of these guys who are considered to be the best in the game. And I know full well that you can spin a stat any which way you want. However, I feel like a few years ago that we wouldn’t even have dreamed of having this conversation. Taking a synoptic view of all of these stats shows that Khris isn’t that far away from that echelon of player so far this season. Hell, like Beal, he could probably lead a team to 4 wins lol.

I’d say he’s solid Top 30 and could make an argument for Top 20. Top 15 is stretching it. In Part 2, I’ll try to compare Khris to the other ‘second fiddles’ in the league and try to figure out a way to measure how much he elevates his partner in crime.

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