While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard both made their preseason debut for the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, Khris Middleton was still nowhere to be found. The three-time All-Star is still nursing a knee injury that dates all the way back from last season’s playoff series against the Miami Heat (and beyond?).
Khris Middleton on Milwaukee Bucks’ New Superstar Pairing
In a recent interview with Eric Nehm of The Athletic, Middleton was asked about his transition to becoming the third option for Milwaukee now that Lillard is in the picture. The 32-year-old made it abundantly clear that he has no problem whatsoever falling behind the pecking order so long as it helps the team win:
“Look, those guys, Dame and Giannis, get much of the credit, as they should,” Middleton said. “They’re two of the best players that this league has ever had. So for me, it’s just coming in and trying to fit, be a role player at times. Just change roles throughout the game, whatever is needed. … Let those guys handle a lot of the heavy lifting, figure out ways I can help, space the defense and make their job a little easier.”
As Middleton said, he’s willing to do everything and anything he can to help the Bucks this season. If this means taking the backseat to let Giannis and Lillard cook, then Middleton will do just that.
Khris Middleton’s Reminder
Middleton is able to say all this because he also knows that both Giannis and Lillard appreciate what he brings to the table. Both stars have already gone out of their way to say that they want Middleton to keep on doing what he does, which is something the 6-foot-7 swingman is intent on accomplishing:
“Plus, I’ll have my opportunities where I’m able to be me. But I’m leaning on those two guys — I think we all are — to carry a lot of the load, which they want and expect. But they also know that I’m here for them when needed.”
Giannis and Lillard can do their thing, but Middleton just wants to remind them that he’s going to be ready when they need him.
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