Khris Middleton has temporarily silenced the critics as he shows his importance – Bucks Gallery
MILWAUKEE -A guy who has been really playing well lately but hasn’t been getting much of the spotlight is #22, Khris Middleton. Over the last month he has rounded into midseason form becoming a consistent-viable scoring option through his shooting. This is a bright spot because of the lack of shooting in the starting lineup, and the Bucks’ offense needs to desperately stretch the floor.
Since Brandon Knight was traded, Milwaukee has been having trouble on the offensive end, as Knight had the ability to create his own offense and the attention the defense gave him gave Middleton many opportunities to make himself a viable complimentary player to the point the guard. Because Michael Carter-Williams doesn’t have the shooting ability of Knight, it’s forcing Middleton to become the primary playmaker/scorer in the backcourt which may be a reason as to why the Bucks are not meeting expectations. Even though offensively the Bucks are struggling at the guard position they have improved defensively because Middleton’s height has allowed him to defend more positions as well as Carter-Williams.
In the month of January, Middleton has proven he can be that averaging 23 points a game, 5 assists, and field goal percentage of 47. What’s interesting is that he’s only shooting at 33 percent from beyond the arc which is 10 percent lower than his recent months, so he’s doing more than just the three point shot to score. What he’s doing to average around 6 more points in January is scoring twos, either it by attacking the paint or draining from mid-range. From that range Middleton is almost 47 percent which is the same as his December percentage but he has attempted and made more field goals.
Through his January stats, it is apparent the Bucks have gradually been relying on him more as a scorer for not only this season but his entire tenure in Milwaukee so far. In his first season (13-14) as a Buck where he averaged 30 minutes a game, he also averaged 12 points a game. The next season his average went up one point and this season he’s been up to a new level averaging almost 18 points a game. Middleton’s three point and free throw percentage has also seen similar inclines as well as his assists especially when it comes to efficiency rates.
Seeing these increases is not only a good sign for Middleton but for most of the Bucks’ team. In his first year as a Buck, Middleton was only 22 years old, now as a 24 year old he’s seeing increased numbers because of his development physically and mentally. This is a good sign for most of the team because a lot of players such as Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rashard Vaughn are currently under the age Middleton debuted and they’ve already had a year or two of experience. Posting productive numbers doesn’t happen for most players in their teens or early 20s, it takes years of physical and mental development, especially in the game of basketball. Do not give up on Jabari because of how they are producing this year, they are on the right track and most players their age are having the same struggles. If they stay on track much like Middleton, they will produce larger numbers in a year or two and that isn’t even considering the fact that Middleton is still developing and that we wasn’t touted as a first round talent coming out of college.