Khris Middleton: Does He Have An All-Star Case?

Dec 28, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton (22) is ejected from the game during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Bucks 103-93. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton (22) is ejected from the game during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Bucks 103-93. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

He’s had an incredible run of form, but could Khris Middleton end the Milwaukee Bucks All-Star drought?

Don’t look now, but the Milwaukee Bucks have won three games in a row and four of their last five. The recent hot streak brings their record to 19-25, meaning they’re within three and a half games of a playoff spot. So you’re telling me there’s a chance! But, enough about actual important basketball things, it’s time for All-Star season!

It’s that special time of year where people on the internet rant and rave about how their favorite player deserved to be an All-Star and that they were “snubbed” because of some real or perceived bias. The good news is Bucks fans may actually have a player to argue about this season!

Unless you’ve been living inside a wolf carcass along the border of Arizona and Mexico (shout-out Sicario and Andy Greenwald), then you know Khris Middleton is in the midst of a fantastic season.

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Middleton has turned himself into Milwaukee’s clear number one scoring option and is the best three-point shooting two-guard in the Eastern Conference. Middleton is averaging 17.6 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game with a PER of 16.45. He’s shooting 44.5 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from three-point range.

His numbers would be even better if he had not gotten off to such a slow start. Even though his overall shooting percentage is down I think it’s safe to say this is the best season of Middleton’s career. He’s raised his points per game from 13.4 last season to 17.6 this season and he’s even improved his playmaking. He’s averaging 1.6 more assists per game than he did in 2014-15.

His most impressive improvement is from beyond the arc. Middleton was already an outstanding three-point shooter, but he’s gotten even better. Last season he made 40.7 percent of his three-pointers, this season he’s upped that number to 42.7 percent, despite taking 1.3 more threes per game. He’s increased volume while also increasing efficiency, no easy accomplishment.

I agree with Behind the Buck Pass’ Editor-in-Chief Adam McGee that Middleton has prime Joe Johnson written all over him. He’s a big shooting guard that is an outstanding three-point shooter with a knack for knocking down big shots. People forget that before Johnson was an overpaid role player with the Brooklyn Nets he was an excellent scoring guard for the Phoenix Suns and the Atlanta Hawks. A comparison to Joe Johnson is a compliment.

His deadly midrange jumper is also reminiscent of Iso-Joe. Middleton is shooting 44.3 percent between 10 and 16 feet and 44.1 percent from between 16 feet and the three-point line. He’s used these types of shots frequently when posting up smaller defenders and when perimeter defenders aggressively close out on his three-point attempts. A quick pump fake and one dribble leads to Middleton comfortably swishing a pull-up jumper. As his offensive arsenal grows he will only get tougher to guard.

So, I’ve said plenty of nice things about Middleton, but does he have an All-Star case? Well, he has a case, but it’s tough to argue that he deserves to be there over the other elite shooting guards in the Eastern Conference.

Middleton is essentially competing with Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, and Dwyane Wade for a spot on the team. Thanks to the lovely people at we can take a look at their stats head to head.

Jimmy Butler.450.317.487.484.8295.04.31.822.4
DeMar DeRozan.444.270.463.457.8444.
Khris Middleton.445.427.454.517.8733.
Dwyane Wade.455.226.467.460.7784.14.60.918.1

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/21/2016.

Jimmy Butler21.8.5676.719.
DeMar DeRozan21.2.5437.
Khris Middleton16.4.5685.617.71.60.410.
Dwyane Wade20.5.5137.729.

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/21/2016.

Jimmy Butler is undoubtedly the best shooting guard in the Eastern Conference. If the fans vote Wade or DeRozan in, the coaches will almost certainly pick Butler. Butler is carrying the Bulls offense this season, leading the league in minutes, and is an absolute beast defensively. So the one safe bet is Jimmy Butler.

DeMar DeRozan is also having a career year, and the game is in Toronto, so it’s very likely he will be there as well. He can’t shoot, but he’s attacking the rim relentlessly and is averaging 23.1 points per game on the second best team in the Eastern Conference. He’s going to be an All-Star.

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There just isn’t room for Middleton when you also consider that point guards and shooting guards are lumped into the same category (John Wall, Kyle Lowry, and Isaiah Thomas come to mind as the most likely point guard contenders).

Middleton’s downfall will end up being his slow start to the season and Milwaukee’s struggles in general. DeRozan and Butler are number one scoring options on playoff caliber teams and Wade might get in just as a lifetime achievement award. Based on the most recent voting results Wade is on pace to be voted in as a starter. 

Middleton is a far superior outside shooter than those three, but they are better overall scorers and that will be the difference. They’re also bigger names which is huge when you consider that the All-Star voting is essentially a giant popularity contest. I don’t think anyone is going to be riding or dying for Middleton other than Bucks fans.

Next: Shooters Shoot: Jerryd Bayless

Sadly it’s safe to say that Khris Middleton is not going to be an All-Star. Does he to deserve to make the Eastern Conference roster? The answer is probably no, but he absolutely deserves consideration. If he continues to play like he has since late December he will be an All-Star sooner rather than later, it just may take the rest of the league awhile to realize just how good he has become.