The story of the Milwaukee Bucks’ NBA Finals run was the greatness of Giannis Antetokounmpo. It definitely should have been. After all, Giannis suffered a horrendous knee injury in the Eastern Conference Finals, just to return and dominate the NBA Finals. While Giannis’ greatness is, no doubt, a major factor in the Bucks’ first title in 50 years, the steadiness and scoring of Khris Middleton often is overlooked. Now that Middleton has finally proven that he is a good enough second option on a winning team, now is as good a time as any to ensure that he gets the credit he deserves.
Khris Middleton in the 2020-2021 Regular Season
In order to get the full measure of just how good Khris Middleton was in the playoffs, it is important to understand his regular season numbers. Middleton had a very underappreciated season, averaging 20.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. His 20.4 points per game average was the second-highest of his career. So, too, were his 6.0 rebounds per game. Middleton’s 5.4 assists per game were a career-high.
Middleton achieved these averages while playing in 33.4 minutes per game, the second most in his NBA career. He shot 47.6/41.4/89.8 from the floor. The only other two players in the NBA who shot better than 47/40/89 were Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving.
The Playoff Run
The best players elevate their game in the playoffs, and that is certainly true of Khris Middleton. Despite his three point percentage going down (the whole team went cold from beyond the arc), Middleton improved his scoring to 23.6 points per game on 43.8/34.3/88.9 shooting. He also averaged 7.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
In arguably the Bucks’ two toughest matchups, Middleton stepped up even more. Against the Brooklyn Nets, he averaged 24.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. In the Finals, Middleton put up 24.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game.
Khash Is Clutch
As good as Middleton’s playoff numbers are, he was even better in the fourth quarter.
Throughout the playoffs, it was often Khris Middleton’s midrange game that helped the Bucks pull away or stay in games.
Just how clutch was Middleton? Well, it is comparable to one of the greatest players ever, LeBron James in 2007.
Khris Middleton doesn't get enough credit for his 2021 playoff run!😤 pic.twitter.com/0gBpr9xVdM
— Bucks Nation (@BucksNationCP) August 20, 2021
Remember when many Bucks’ fans wanted Khris Middleton traded? That talk should be put to bed by now. If Middleton’s playoff performances were not enough, he then went onto to help Team USA win the Gold Medal in Tokyo. He and teammate Jrue Holiday became the first pair of teammates since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to win a championship and a Gold Medal in the same year. Khris Middleton is good, and it is time for everyone to acknowledge that.
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