With a white-hot postseason and a career-best season, Khris Middleton has more than proved that he’s a cornerstone to the success of the Milwaukee Bucks. Khris’ first half of the season was nothing to write home about and he looked remarkably slow on both sides of the ball. However, the second half of the season was a completely different story. Middleton showed flashes of becoming an elite player in the NBA, and the Bucks must be extremely pleased with how he performed overall this season.
Highlights: His postseason performance versus the Boston Celtics.
Although the Bucks lost in 7-games to the Boston Celtics, it certainly was not because of the play of Middleton. He averaged 23.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3 assists-per-game this postseason in 39.3 minutes-per-game. However, what was even more remarkable about his play was how well he shot the ball -that might be an understatement- Khris torched the Celtics to a tune of 59.8% from the field, an immaculate 61% from three, and he made 73.7% of his free-throws. He even had a true shooting percentage of .719 (!!!!), that has NEVER been done before. Already coming off of a career-best season where he averaged 20.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals per game while shooting 46% from the floor and a rather disappointing 35.9% from deep, he turned it on when it mattered the most. He could not miss in the playoffs and was making plays that he did not make during the regular season.
The Boston Celtics are an extremely talented defensive team, even though they are depleted by injuries. Bucks fans knew it wouldn’t be a cakewalk going into the series, but Khris Middleton certainly exceeded expectations. The Bucks desperately needed him to make three-point shots at a high clip, and he responded by making 3.6 threes per game in the postseason. Middleton would use an array of moves to score. He feasted in the post against any Celtics defender, he was lethal off of the catch-and-shoot and Khris was smooth as butter from midrange.
As terrific as Middleton was on the offensive end, he deserves a ton of credit for his defense as well. It definitely looked like he had a pep in his step and his defense was much better from what he showed in the regular season. Khris has played an excessive amount of minutes the last few seasons, but still has shown no signs of slowing down.
Lowlights: Hero-ball mentality
Although it was a career-year for Middleton, there were times where he was extremely frustrating to watch. There were numerous times where he would dribble himself into turnovers, or hoist up a rushed, contested fadeaway. Khris is at his best when the game comes to him, not when he’s trying to do it all. This is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team, and I think Khris Middleton sometimes forgets that.
Grade for season: A
Although he wasn’t perfect, Middleton was fun to watch this season. He certainly took the proverbial “next step” this season. Khris also played in every single game this season and even played a whopping 36.4 minutes per game. He continues to show how durable and reliable he is.
Role Next Season: Option 1-B
With what we saw from him this season, it’s not too farfetched to expect a huge year for Khris Middleton. I fully expect the Bucks to embrace him as option 1-B next to the Greek Freak. He stepped up during the postseason and showed that he and Giannis are a deadly one-two punch. I guarantee that he will make his first ever All-Star appearance next season.