Now we get to the Bucks’ latest All-Star, Khris Middleton. Since his early-season shooting slump, there has been a groundswell of Bucks fans who would like to see Middleton traded before the deadline instead of signing him to what will almost definitely be a max contract this offseason.
I am here to tell you those people are unfathomably, unequivocally stupid.
For all the talk that Middleton is having a down year, all the numbers point to Middleton having a career year. Middleton’s points, assists and rebounds per 36 minutes are all the best of his career, and he’s shooting better from deep than last season.
The only reason his per game and gross numbers are down is simply because he’s playing less, only 31 minutes per game, because the Bucks are blowing out more teams.
Middleton has also become the more modernized wing that fans have been hoping for in Budenholzer’s offense, shooting more three-pointers than ever in his career.
Of course, this still won’t satisfy some Middleton haters because they want him to be the next Klay Thompson, which Middleton never will be.
Plus, Middleton has plenty of playoff experience, including torching the Celtics for 24 points per game with an effective field goal percentage of 71 percent last year.
Middleton is a really good player. Period. He’s only 27 and is going to command a max-level contract offer in free agency because he is worth it.
His pending free agency may scare some teams away, but others would jump at the chance to have an inside track on signing Middleton. You don’t think a team like the Lakers or Knicks would open up the checkbook for Middleton?
It would take a substantive offer from any team for the Bucks to even consider trading away Middleton, and even then it would only be because they’re fairly certain they can’t re-sign him this summer.
I don’t see that happening as the Bucks understand the value that Middleton brings to the franchise, even if some fans don’t.