3 areas the Milwaukee Bucks must improve to repeat as NBA Champions

Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Philadelphia 76ers: Danny Green
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

No. 3 – The Milwaukee Bucks need more from Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton has had a very streaky inconsistent season thus far. Outside of his scorching hot month of January where he averaged 22 points on 48 percent shooting, he has not had a month where he’s shot over 43 percent from the field. This is very troubling, as Middleton is known as an efficient tough shot-maker who is also deadly when left open. This year, those tough shots haven’t been falling nearly at the rate they have in years past.

Compared to last year, he also hasn’t been the defender we know him to be, and his turnovers have ballooned to three per game. All in all, most Bucks fans can agree something has just looked off with him, in spite of his all-star berth. Some would argue, and understandably so, that Middleton has just been coasting through this year in preparation for the playoffs.

While that is absolutely a possibility, from my eye test, he looks slightly slower from last year, he isn’t creating separation on his crossovers and spin-moves, and his shot looks like it has lost some arc. My verdict is that Khris has played a crazy amount of basketball in the past year, and he is tired, which I totally understand. That doesn’t excuse the silly turnovers or mental lapses on defense, though.

He simply needs to be better, regardless of the causes for his dip in production. This isn’t me saying he’s been bad this year, or I don’t trust him when the lights shine brightest. I still want him taking the last shot 10 out of 10 times on this Bucks team. He’s proven himself time and time again as a clutch playoff performer, and someone you can run the offense through when the game bogs down. But if he continues to play at the level he has been playing at this season into the playoffs, which I highly doubt, this Bucks team will be staring down a first or second round exit.

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The Milwaukee Bucks are the reigning champs, and they have a target on their back every single time they step on a basketball court. They’ve had their challenges and obstacles this year, but if they can improve on these three aspects, they should be feeling pretty good about themselves come playoff time.