Khris Middleton And The Ten Greatest Milwaukee Bucks’ Shooting Seasons Of The 3-Point Era

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Nov 29, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Milwaukee Bucks power forward Khris Middleton (22) goes up for a shot over Charlotte Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo (0) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After watching Milwaukee Bucks home games have you started to feel like you just can’t get the O’Jays 1973 hit record “For the Love Of Money” out of your head? Or do you question whether the games might actually be played to an endless loop of the track? Well, you’ve got Khris Middleton to thank for that.

Every time Khris, or “Money” as he has now commonly become known, makes a shot on the Bucks home floor, the Bradley Center’s game ops crew cue up that song, and as such the folks in Brewtown could be forgiven for having it grate on their nerves.

It’s obviously not that Bucks fans don’t want Middleton to make shots, the opposite couldn’t be more true, it’s just that he has made a LOT of shots this year, so it has become perhaps an overly familiar refrain.

Middleton is having an outstanding season all around, but it’s his shooting and scoring that have stood out most of all. He’s average a field goal percentage of 47.3, a three-point mark of 43.8 percent, and a free throw percentage of 85.4.

Even better again, just for the last 19 games (i.e. February and March), his points per game has jumped from his 12.9 season average to 18.1 a night.

How does that stack up in the pantheon of great single season shooting performances in franchise history though? Well, I decided to find out.

Using a statistical measure for shooting that I had devised to judge the 25 Greatest Shooting Seasons in NBA History over at HoopsHabit a few months back, I decided to gauge some of the best shooters that have worn “Bucks” across their chest.

Just like Middleton, these would only be guys that were happy to take all types of shots. This was never going to be about post players with sky high field goal percentages around the rim, these players would also have to stretch the floor, and couldn’t let their teammates down when they got to the charity stripe.

As a result, it only seemed right to limit this investigation to the three-point era. We’re looking for the most complete shooters to have represented Milwaukee, and if we’re bringing the long ball into play it doesn’t seem fair to include those who we can’t judge by that yardstick.

From this point onwards, the goal was to find a way to cut that back to leave only players who played a meaningful amount of minutes, contributing across the full set of shooting measures available to us.

As a result, the criteria for a single season to be considered was as follows:

A player must have

  • Played 60 games or more in that season
  • Averaged over 20 minutes per game
  • Shot over 45 percent from the field
  • Shot over 40 percent from three-point range (minimum of one attempt per game)
  • Shot over 75 percent from the free throw line
  • Amassed a true shooting percentage of 55 or greater

After doing that, the highest quality shooting seasons in the last 35 years of Bucks history had been identified, and then it was all about trying to quantify which were the best.

How can that be measured though?

Well, getting back to that measure I mentioned earlier, I turned to Shooting Productive Efficiency (SPE). SPE creates a score for a player by multiplying their points per field goal attempted by their true shooting percentage.

This allows me to take into account both the volume in which a player scores and his efficiency, in an attempt to weight their overall worth as a shooter.

It’s far from fool-proof, but it makes for a fun exercise, and throws out results that the numbers more often than not seem to justify.

How does it leave Khris Middleton’s current campaign looking though? Who will crawl out of the woodwork to surprise us, and which familiar faces will pop up?

Lets get down to the top ten and find out.

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