A gutting loss to the Detroit Pistons on January 3 saw the Milwaukee Bucks’ six-game win streak come to an end.
While it was an all-around lackluster effort from the defending champs, Khris Middleton received the most criticism among any of the Bucks. The forward had a poor game by scoring 10 points on a subpar 3-of-10 shooting, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range in 28 minutes. It was his worst performance of the season to that point in a year where the forward has struggled to look like the version fans are accustomed to seeing. Thankfully, it appears that his lackluster performance was enough to help him flip the switch in the five games since then.
Khris Middleton has looked rejuvenated in the Milwaukee Bucks’ last five games, but there is a catch
Following the blunder in Detroit, Middleton has averaged 24.4 points while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and a blazing hot 56.3 percent from 3-point range. He has found his footing on the offensive end, knocking down his patented mid-range jumper and perimeter shots with incredible efficiency. In addition to his scoring barrage, the forward has taken on more facilitating duties by dishing out an eye-catching 7.2 assists in that timeframe. Not to mention he has been a force on the glass by pulling down an average of 6.8 boards a night.
Middleton’s resurgence has come in the absence of Jrue Holiday, who has missed the last four of Milwaukee’s games. Without their All-Star hopeful, the Bucks needed Middleton to step up in his absence, and he has done just that. With more opportunities to handle the basketball, he has not only upped his scoring, but his facilitating has been on full display as well.
Speaking of passing the ball, the one wrinkle to come out of this stretch from Middleton has been his turnovers, which have piled up. He has totaled 21 over these past five games, an average of 4.2 per contest. This turnover frenzy has obviously hindered the Bucks, as Middleton’s loose play with the ball led to some frustrating moments out on the floor. Whether it be a careless pass or a bone-headed decision, the two-time All-Star has made some questionable calls in this stretch, despite his strong play everywhere else.
Turnovers have been a problem for Middleton all season as he is averaging 3.2 for 2021-22 so far, a new career-high by a wide margin. He has not helped lessen that mark at all over this recent run.
The Bucks need Middleton to keep his foot on the gas with his red-hot scoring and facilitating, but he must get a better grip on these careless turnovers. With Holiday’s return date uncertain, he will be tasked with more ball-handling duties, and cutting back on the turnovers will be essential as he looks to keep this momentum going.
Despite Middleton’s surge, the Bucks are just 2-3 over these last five games. Although it has been welcoming to see him get back on the right track, they need it to translate to wins, and lessening the turnovers would certainly help.
Middleton will aim to do so as the Bucks take on the Toronto Raptors at home tonight.