Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Earlier in the season, Horst made his name known by trading for Suns guard Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe was upset with his situation in Phoenix, going as far as to tweet “I don’t want to be here.” Since Bledsoe came in, the Bucks have looked like a new team.
Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon was placed on the bench, while Eric started. That meant the lineup was Bledsoe, another guard, Middleton, Antetokounmpo, and whatever center Jason Kidd wanted to start. The trio of Khris, Eric, and Giannis was tearing up defenses all over the NBA. In many of the first games they played together, the KEG contributed 70+ points per game. Middleton is averaging 20.3 PPG, Bledsoe is averaging 18.0 PPG, and Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.7 PPG. Those numbers added up equal 67 points per game. Remember that’s just an average.
The reason the KEG is so explosive is because they already know how to play with each other. If you’re paying attention to the whole play, you can see Eric Bledsoe constantly scanning the court. He knows that Giannis will want to cut inside or handle the ball up top then drive to the hoop. Eric knows that the Greek Freak can’t hit the jump shot reliably, so when he wants to pass to an open shooter he looks for Middleton, the best one on the team. This is pretty impressive considering this trio has not been together the entire season. Giannis and Khris also know to look for Bledsoe to reset a play or to find another shooter. Bledsoe is not a deadeye like Middleton, his career 3 point FG% is 33.3%, but it still helps to know that there is another option ready to shoot.
If we look at the numbers, we can see improvements in multiple categories. Giannis has scored 443 points since the trade with an FG% of 57.2%. Eric has put up 336 points on 47.6% shooting, and Khris has contributed 257 points on 44.0% shooting. Advanced metrics also show improvement in multiple areas such as shots made from assists and eFG%.
While the KEG is definitely a step in the right direction, it’s obvious the team still needs help. The Bucks can’t rebound at all and are getting bullied inside constantly. The team desperately needs a center, and they need to take a look at their head coach Jason Kidd. You can form all the Big 3s you want, but you won’t win anything unless you assemble a full team. That’s what the front office needs to focus on. We have a gift in this trio, let’s not waste it.