Khris Middleton has had an efficient season shooting the basketball for the Milwaukee Bucks, but will he be able to carry that momentum into the restart?
It’s been a historic 2019-20 NBA season so far for Milwaukee Bucks All-Star wing Khris Middleton. As the season restart approaches after over a four-month stoppage, Middleton and the Bucks will look to pick up right where they left off.
Before the hiatus, Middleton was averaging a career-high 21.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 0.9 steals in only 30.1 minutes per game. In addition, he was shooting a career-high 49.9 percent from the field, 41.8 percent from 3-point range, and 90.8 percent from the free throw line.
Middleton is having an unbelievable season headlined by his efficiency and consistency shooting the basketball. He’s currently .01 percent away from joining the exclusive 50-40-90 club and will have the chance to become the ninth member in the eight regular season games that remain.
What’s even more impressive is that Middleton could join an elite group that includes Larry Bird (twice), Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry. These players have all averaged more than 20.0 points per game while averaging 50-40-90 shooting percentages in a single season. It would be an incredible accomplishment to cap off what has arguably been his most effective NBA season.
Khris Middleton has proved to be an essential piece to the Bucks’ success largely due to his efficient shooting abilities and comfortable fit alongside league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, will Middleton be able to continue to flourish behind his stellar shooting as the Bucks dive headfirst into the NBA restart?
Middleton recently stated that he didn’t shoot a basketball for two-to-three straight months during the long NBA hiatus that forced players to quarantine. Apparently, Middleton doesn’t own a basketball hoop in his home in Milwaukee, but in his defense, many other NBA players don’t.
Although, not shooting a basketball for that long could certainly affect his abilities once the season resumes in Orlando. For Middleton, it could feel like an entirely new season is starting, which would be somewhat concerning considering the fact that it could affect his consistent rhythm.
Fortunately, Middleton will have training camp and the eight regular season games to get back into his groove before the playoffs begin. The Milwaukee Bucks currently hold a league-best record of 53-12 and remain 6.5 games ahead of the second-place Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings, so they should have microscopic concerns about losing that No. 1 seed in the East.
Milwaukee should have time to shake off the rustiness before the playoffs, but the main question for Middleton will be how much of that individual rust will he be able to shake off until then?
As an elite shooter, Middleton’s pure shooting stroke shouldn’t be affected, but as scorers know, rhythm and momentum also play an important factor for volume shooters like Khris Middleton.
Needless to say, the Bucks will absolutely need Middleton at his best in the playoffs if they want to reach their ultimate goal of bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Milwaukee. There are many teams out there that will test the Bucks along their journey toward glory, especially if they’re slowing down Giannis.
Khris Middleton has to be that guy who steps up if teams are shifting their focus to solely stopping Giannis and limiting him, which could very well happen. Last season, the Raptors seemed to successfully slow down Giannis in the Eastern Conference Finals and Middleton wasn’t able to find his stride throughout the series, which led to an unfortunate playoff exit.
As mentioned earlier, Middleton is the second-best player on the Bucks and an All-Star mostly due to his efficient and consistent shooting abilities. If he can’t contribute the similar volume shooting that he was executing before the hiatus once the playoffs begin, it could really have a negative impact on the Bucks’ postseason success and title aspirations. His important role is significantly vital to the team.
Hopefully for the Milwaukee Bucks, Khris Middleton can carry his hot shooting streaks into the NBA restart despite the long break away from basketball.