We talk about him more today, and rightly so, his resume requires it.
Khris Middleton, like many other NBA stars, has his share of inconsistent playoff performance. In fairness, it is terribly difficult to be consistent at the absolute height of the sport. However, with Giannis Antetokoumnpo previously questionable and now debatable with a knee injury, and with the possibility that he will never be 100 percent during this series of NBA Finals, if and when he returns, all eyes – one again more – I’m on the other All-Star in Milwaukee.
Although he hasn’t always been terribly efficient in these Finals – which, again, is hard to sustain in the postseason, in general – Middleton has been undoubtedly effective, otherwise the Bucks wouldn’t have come this far. The multiple All-Star swingman averaged 23.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game through his 17 playoff games. Today it is down 43.4 percent from the field, and 33.8 percent from three, which are lower than its 48/41 shares in these same categories.. However, he still reached the fall line close to five times per game, which is where he pulls 88.6 percent.
In the Eastern Conference finals, where the Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 4-2, Middleton wasn’t exactly his best in three of the first four games. Save for a 38-point, 11-rebound, and seven-assisting the explosion of Game 3, Middleton had worked around 15 points per game in 34/9 splits from the field and three. Yes, nine percent, 2-for-23. But in the last two games, both without Antetokounmpo, the All-Star version of Middleton was back.
In Game 5 on July 1, Middleton recorded 26 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists on the 10-for-20 shot, including an improved (from, back, nine percent) 2-for-6 record. from very, while also hitting 4-for-5 on free throws. And in Game 6, Middleton set the pace for the offense with 32 points and seven assists. Here, he shot 10-for-22 from the floor, 4-for-8 from three, and 8-for-8 from free throws.
Middleton’s abilities may also reflect that of another type who will play right ahead of them in these NBA Finals, and with him in Team USA. If Giannis is going to be out for a long time, or even just Game 1, Middleton playing Devin Booker by chance won’t be enough, maybe if Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis can mix for more than 50 points again. Then again, Jrue Holiday he had 25 points and 13 assists that game, too.
Many of the Final discussions revolve around Chris Paul’s first championship ring at his fingertips, Booker’s possible emergence into superstardom, and Antetokounmpo’s health. Middleton is another one we should be looking for to answer some questions in this series. One way or another, it will.