With stats for the seeding games counting towards the 2019-20 regular season, Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton’s 50-40-90 bid remains alive.
When we last saw Khris Middleton in action with the Milwaukee Bucks, a tough stretch of shooting performances had taken a hit on his bid to join some of the most elite shooters throughout NBA history.
All throughout the 2019-20 season, the All-Star swingman had been tracking to join the famed 50-40-90 club and his 21.1 points per game average had him within shot of the elite of the elite that headline such an exclusive club.
Yet, as the Bucks’ three-game losing streak unfolded out West right before the season suspension, Middleton’s tough shooting nights over that road trip, save for when he rested in a visit with the Denver Nuggets, had thrown him off by the slightest of margins in this pursuit.
As it stands, Middleton holds .499/.418/.908 shooting splits through his 55 appearances on the season.
But hope still remains as the Bucks and 21 other NBA teams are preparing to take part in the season restart next month at Walt Disney World. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweeted over the weekend, the stats accumulated during the seeding games when the season restarts next month in Orlando will go towards the participating players’ statistics for the 2019-20 regular season.
That is certainly music to Middleton’s ears, as is the ability for the Bucks to be able to pick up their pursuit of an NBA championship obviously.
While we have no idea what the seven-year Bucks swingman’s game will look like with so much unforeseen time off due to the season stoppage, it shouldn’t take away the fact that Bucks fans had been seeing one of the most efficient individual seasons in franchise history.
In fact, Middleton’s 61.9 true shooting percentage only ranks second in Bucks history next to Antetokounmpo’s 64.4 percent mark set during his MVP-winning season last year.
Under his second year playing for Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, Middleton has gone back to his roots as one of the league’s best mid-range marksmen. The catch, this time around, is that Middleton hasn’t eschewed his high 3-point volume and is certainly one of the best snipers when firing away from beyond the arc off the dribble.
Middleton’s comfort within the Bucks offense had been palpable for the majority of the season, which, in turn, resulted in him enjoying his career night of scoring 51 points versus the Washington Wizards and earning his second straight All-Star appearance shortly thereafter.
The overarching steadiness to Middleton’s game has long pushed him toward the background throughout his career, especially in the shadow of superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s extraordinary abilities. But as Budenholzer put himself to CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney following Middleton’s career night earlier this year, the skill level Middleton possesses has many fans of Middleton across the league beyond Milwaukee:
“I just think he’s underrated,” Budenholzer said. “He’s very nuanced, and he can sneak up on you in how he gets his baskets. But I think the rest of the league is appreciating him more and more. The success of the team, his individual performances, I think people that understand the sport know how good he is. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how he’s rated. As long as he’s with us that’s all we care about.”
Whether Middleton’s quest to become a member of the 50-40-90 club will change that remains to be seen, but he will have extra motivation to etch his name in glory beyond potentially winning an NBA title with the Bucks.