Milwaukee Bucks: 3 reasons why Khris Middleton misses Jrue Holiday

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
DENVER, COLORADO – FEBRUARY 08: (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO – FEBRUARY 08: (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Secondly, Jrue Holiday provides high-quality looks for all Milwaukee Bucks shooters, especially Khris Middleton.

Holiday himself can burn a defense from multiple angles. As both a skilled slasher and shooter, he poses a threat from anywhere on the court.

The defense knows this, and must respond accordingly: a strong team will deny him both outside shots and inside buckets, leaving themselves vulnerable to a less-efficient mid-range jumper.  With Holiday’s passing ability, though, he’s begging defenses to throw pressure at him, so he can reward his shooters with clean looks.

Take a look at what happened when Toronto hosted Milwaukee at full strength last month.

At this point in the game, Toronto was on an 8-2 run, and in threatening position to steal a win.  The Bucks needed a score.

Holiday gets the ball on the wing, and drives hard to the hoop. In an endgame scenario, driving the ball increases the likelihood of producing some amount of points. Inside looks are maximally efficient, and can also lead to foul shots. Even when protecting a lead, empty possessions can kill you.

Based on the scenario alone, it would make sense for the Bucks to force it inside. But, if they’re going to take a jumper, it better be open. Being as dangerous as he is, Holiday’s drive is met with immediate pressure. Stanley Johnson had intentions of covering Middleton, but audibled into additional support. With VanVleet crowding the lane and Lowry on his back, Holiday is triple-teamed.

Still fully in control, he delivers a strike to Middleton’s shooting hand, and the sniper converts.

Jrue Holiday presents danger, so much so that teams will abandon 45 percent 3-point shooters with the game on the line just to stop him. He manufactures high-percentage looks for his shooters all game, and Middleton is always first in line.

It’s no surprise that without his point guard, Middleton’s 3-point percentage has dropped roughly 20 percentage points. Holiday commands attention, optimizing the forward’s looks in single-coverage, where he can operate with ease.