Preseason prediction: Will set a career-high in three-point field goal percentage
In this prediction, I saw Middleton benefitting from the added space and focus on three-point shooting courtesy of coach Budenholzer on his way to a career year shooting the three.
Now, that didn’t exactly happen, Middleton’s career high in three-point shooting is 43.3 percent (41.4 if you only want to count seasons not cut short by injury). Middleton this season shot 37.7 percent from behind the arc.
Of all the Bucks players, Middleton had to make the largest adjustment to Budenholzer’s new offensive scheme, which largely did away with mid-range jumpers, isos and post-up opportunities, all huge facets of Middleton’s game.
At the beginning of the year, there were clearly some growing pains as Middleton struggled to adjust to the offense and it affected his play. But after communicating with Budenholzer the two came to a compromise that gave Middleton some more offensive freedom to get his shot and he thrived thereafter.
Middleton may not be having a career year when it comes to shooting percentage, but he’s still been a great shooter and floor-spacer for the Bucks, boosting both the volume of threes taken this year and increasing his percentage from the previous season.
Also, to be fair, Middleton shot and additional 170 attempts from behind the arc this season more than his career-best season, so the argument could be made he actually had a better shooting season when it comes to volume and efficiency.
Alas, my prediction still misses the mark.
Running tally: 0/1, 1 push