Breaking down Khris Middleton's increased role on the Bucks. Plus: Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Clip of the Week, and much more.
While many have focused on the effect the Bucks’ trade deadline deal has made on Khris Middleton off the floor (core piece, contract extension, etc.), the most interesting thing about Middleton is his recent play on the floor. Since the trade deadline, Middleton has been asked to significantly change his game while taking a larger role in the Bucks’ offense and, thus far, Middleton has been able to do so without sacrificing much productivity.
|Khris Middleton Per Game Statistics|
|Minutes||Field Goal Attempts||Field Goal %||3PT Attempts||3PT %||Points||Rebounds||Assists|
Since the All-Star Break, Middleton has been averaging almost nine more minutes, six more points, one more assist, and over five more shots per game. Despite these increases, Middleton has lost only 2.4 percent on his field goal percentage and actually shot two and a half percent better from the three-point line.
Though it doesn’t seem like much, nine more minutes of NBA action each night can really take a physical toll, and Middleton has seemed to handle the added time on the court with relative ease. Some may argue that Middleton isn’t really taking on a larger role, but rather simply playing more minutes. There is some truth in that, but a closer look at his statistics (per 36 minutes) would reveal otherwise. Other advanced statistics can help bear out Middleton’s increased role as well.
|Khris Middleton Advanced Statistics|
Since the All-Star Break, Middleton’s usage rate and assist percentage have increased by about four percent. It seems Middleton might be more comfortable creating off the dribble than originally thought. His increased playmaking has also led to an increase in his turnover rate, but that is to be expected when using more possessions and may decrease as Middleton becomes more comfortable making plays.
|Khris Middleton Shot Profile|
|%FGA 2PT||%FGA 3PT||%FGA 0 Drib||%FGA 1 Drib||%FGA 2 Drib||%FGA 3-6 Drib||%PTS FT||%PTS PITP||FGM %AST||FGM %Uast|
The most startling changes though have been in Middleton’s shot profile. Before the All-Star Break, a much larger portion of Middleton’s shots were coming behind the three-point line and off of assists from teammates. Since the All-Star Break, Middleton has been forced take a larger role in his own shot creation as teams have paid him more attention.
Opponents have been running Middleton off the three-point line and forcing him to score in different ways, which Middleton has done relatively successfully. Though he isn’t scoring in the paint quite as much as he did before the trade deadline, he has been more effective in getting to the line and working off the dribble.
Bucks fans have become quite comfortable championing Middleton as one of the league’s premier “3-and-D” guys in the last two years, but the last month has shown that Middleton may have the potential to be a bit more than that.
What to Read
SI Vault: How a coin flip helped the Milwaukee Bucks land Lew Alcindor – Sports Illustrated reposted an article written by Tex Maule in March of 1970 that details the coin flip that allowed the Bucks to land Lew Alcindor and the massive changes that his addition led to in Milwaukee. Interesting look back.
The 2015 Marc Gasol All-Stars – Zach Lowe is back! And in his return, he named Giannis Antetokounmpo one of the most watchable players in entire league.
Antetokounmpo is Greek, but no freak, New Orleans coach says – With another game against the Pelicans, the Journal Sentinel’s Charles Gardner had a chance to talk to Pelicans coach Monty Williams about Antetokounmpo’s ability. Williams is a bit of an expert on freakishly athletic young players.
Clip of the Week
A baseline finish past the greatest power forward of all-time. A block of the last NBA Finals MVP. A blow by for a dunk past that same Finals MVP. All in less than a minute.
Week in Review
Thursday – Michael Carter-Williams scored 28 points, a high since joining the Bucks, but Milwaukee just didn’t have enough against the Indiana Pacers, falling 109-103 in overtime.
Saturday – With Carter-Williams, Jared Dudley, and Jerryd Bayless held out with injuries, the shorthanded Bucks couldn’t manage enough offensively and lost 96-83 to the Memphis Grizzlies. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks with 19 points.
Tuesday – For the second time in nine days, the Bucks went toe-to-toe with the New Orleans Pelicans, but couldn’t close down the stretch, losing 85-84. Five Bucks ended the game in double digits.
Wednesday – The San Antonio Spurs opened up a nine-point lead in the second quarter and never looked back as they beat the Bucks 114-103.
Next Week’s Preview
Friday – The Bucks will look to get back on track against the Brooklyn Nets, who are still two and a half games outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
Sunday – After a one-game break, Milwaukee will get right back into their difficult March schedule when they welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Tuesday – After LeBron James and the Cavaliers take their talents out of Milwaukee, the Bucks will take on the Miami Heat’s new-look Big Three of Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, and a rejuvenated Dwyane Wade.
Stats of the Week
10.2 – Many things have changed since the All-Star Break, but Khris Middleton’s positive effect on the Bucks is not one of those things. The Bucks have still been 10.2 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor in the last month. (via NBA Stats)
11.2 – Despite being a popular target since the trade deadline, Michael Carter-Williams still creates the 11.2 points per game on drives, the league’s 14th highest mark. (via NBA Stats)
10 – Since the All-Star Break, the Bucks have been 10 points better per 100 possessions with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the floor. (via NBA Stats)
Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine‘s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can yell at Eric or calmly tell him if there’s ever been anything cooler than this national anthem on Twitter @eric_nehm.