Milwaukee Bucks: Don’t sleep on what Khris Middleton adds to the Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 22: Khris Middleton
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 22: Khris Middleton /

Even though he wasn’t playing his best basketball, Khris Middleton brought a ton to the Milwaukee Bucks last season.

Khris Middleton was better in the 2015-16 NBA regular season than he was in the 2016-17 NBA regular season. The Milwaukee Bucks forward missed 53 games due to a torn hamstring suffered before the season, and it took a real toll on Middleton during the 2016-17 campaign.

Truthfully, Middleton couldn’t last throughout the postseason. He looked exhausted near the end of Milwaukee’s first round series against the Toronto Raptors. Middleton returning to full strength for next year will be huge for the Bucks.

Even with him at clearly less than 100 percent, Milwaukee was noticeably better with Middleton than the team was without him. It should be clarified that most of Middleton’s numbers came on Bucks lineups chock full of spacing — around the time he came back Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker both gained minutes in the Bucks rotation, which helped out everybody.

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Still, it’s no accident that Milwaukee got better with Middleton on the floor. First, here are some examples of how the Bucks fared with other players on the roster, to put how much better the team was with Middleton into perspective. All of these numbers come from

With Giannis Antetokounmpo, who started in the Eastern Conference All-Star Game, the Bucks were 1.5 points per 100 possessions better than the opposition. With Greg Monroe, arguably the second-best player on the Bucks last season, who went up against bench units most of the time, Milwaukee was 3.7 points per 100 possessions better than other teams.

It’s good that the Bucks outscored teams with some of their best players on the floor, of course, but Milwaukee barely beating teams with Giannis on the floor is demonstrative of some of the lineups he shared the floor with.

Once Middleton came back and the Bucks played lineups with lot of shooters, things got better. With Middleton on the floor, Milwaukee outscored other teams by 5.7 points per 100 possessions, by far the best mark on the team.

Unsurprisingly, Middleton being in the lineup helped Giannis out as well. With both of those players on the floor, the Bucks beat teams by 5.2 points per 100 possessions.

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If you’re not a fan of advanced stats (or the eye test, which definitely favors Middleton lineups), some more basic numbers do the trick in explaining just how good Middleton can be, and how good the Bucks are with him.

The simplest metric of all is winning, and Milwaukee was 19-10 with Khris Middleton last season. Over an 82 game season, that winning percentage comes out to nearly 54 wins. And this was a beat up version of Middleton, who scored just 14.7 points per game after putting up 18.2 points per game a season ago.

Even though the Milwaukee Bucks might be having a screwy offseason right now, with the starting five that performed so well locked in for the next several seasons, Giannis, Khris, and company should continue to play winning basketball in Milwaukee.

Next: Trying to figure out the Bucks rotation

Getting a healthy Middleton can only help how he performs this coming season.