Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton 2020 Skills Challenge preview

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 4: (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 4: (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton will look to improve on his All-Star Saturday record when he takes to the court for the 2020 Skills Challenge.

Before Pat Connaughton takes centerstage for the Slam Dunk Contest, it will be the turn of Khris Middleton to represent the Milwaukee Bucks at All-Star Weekend on Saturday night.

Of course, Middleton will be taking part in the big game under the captaincy of his teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo, but before then his focus will be on the Skills Challenge.

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For Middleton, this will be his third time taking in the fun and games of All-Star Saturday, although it will be the first when he’s not participating in the 3-Point Shootout.

In spite of his adept marksmanship from beyond the arc, Middleton’s shooting has never been able to translate to even competent showings in prior 3-point contests, meaning this change of event offers up something of an opportunity for him to redeem himself.

Middleton will follow in the footsteps of Brandon Jennings, Brandon Knight, and Antetokounmpo as Bucks who have previously tried their hand at the Skills Challenge, although much like the franchise’s Dunk Contest history, that doesn’t leave him too much to live up to.

If Middleton is to make a mark with his own performance in 2020, he’ll have to get the better of a stellar field.

Competing alongside Milwaukee’s two-time All-Star will be Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), 2015 winner Patrick Beverley (LA Clippers), 2018 winner Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn Nets), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), and Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors).

Derrick Rose was originally scheduled to compete in his hometown, but injury led to him being replaced by Gilgeous-Alexander.

Although this event may not be the most obvious choice for Middleton, the truth is the improvements he’s made in his game over the past couple of years could leave him sneakily well-equipped to really make a run at the trophy.

With greater responsibility, Middleton has improved dramatically as both a ball-handler and a passer, and has the advantage of being arguably the best shooter of any of the players in this year’s competition.

Considering just how well Middleton has shot the ball this season, if he can give himself even a single chance to knock down the three-pointer that concludes the rounds, you’d be brave to bet against him winning it.

Watch out for Middleton as one of the potential surprises of the night.

Next. Pat Connaughton 2020 Slam Dunk Contest preview. dark

Coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday will get underway from 7pm CT live on TNT.