Milwaukee Bucks: Revisiting Khris Middleton’s crucial 2020-21 goals

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 23: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 23: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

There was a lot of scrutiny around Khris Middleton heading into the 2020-21 season, as there was for the whole Milwaukee Bucks team.

The team was coming off of a second-round exit in the playoffs to the Miami Heat in the bubble and Middleton had what many believed to be an underwhelming playoff performance compared to his regular season. It was almost a make-or-break year for Middleton as being the potential number two to Giannis Antetokounmpo. That being said, the prior season was arguably Middleton’s best as he narrowly missed out on being named to his first All-NBA team.

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After having a career season the year prior and looking to prove he could fit with a new point guard, Tyler Schickert gave Middleton some goals for the 2020-21 season.

Now without spoiling too much, I’d say Middleton far exceeded at least two of the goals set out for him last season. While he had his ups and downs while navigating a new point guard, new offensive sets, and trying to live up to his lofty 2019-20 regular season, Middleton provided another All-Star-caliber season (even though he wasn’t named to the All-Star team).

Let’s review his goals from last season.

Revisiting Khris Middleton’s 2020-21 goals with the Milwaukee Bucks: No. 1 – Maintain blistering shooting efficiency

I don’t think it was going to be as likely for someone who takes as many tough shots as Middleton does to reach the same heights he did for a second consecutive season, but all in all, he did a damn good job of coming very close.

In 2019-20, Middleton nearly hit the elusive 50-40-90 mark, falling just short at 49.7 percent from the field. His true shooting percentage was 61.9 percent while producing a career-high 26.4 percent usage rate. Middleton had found his groove in Mike Budenholzer’s offense, and it showed on the floor.

Last season, however, there were more adjustments to be made after acquiring Jrue Holiday and Budenholzer making some tweaks to his offense. Middleton responded by posting the second-highest true shooting in his career at 58.8 percent and hit nearly the exact same percentage of 3-pointers at 41.4 percent (41.5 in 2019-20). The biggest difference was that his efficiency on 2-point attempts dropped from 54.6 to 50.8 percent. The main factor for this was a dip in his percentage on medium-to-long midrange attempts. Last season he shot 45.4 percent on 557 attempts in those areas, compared to 52.4 percent on 435 attempts in 2019-20.

Although it wasn’t the insanely efficient season that he had the year prior, Middleton was still one of the most efficient scorers in the league. According to Stathead, only 13 players had a higher true shooting with a similar amount of field goal and 3 point attempts. Safe to say Middleton hit this goal.