Milwaukee Bucks need Khris Middleton to find his stride down the stretch

Apr 3, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

With four games to play before the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to close the regular season on a high note. It would certainly be nice to see the defending champions finish strong after consecutive losses in recent days, and there is one particular player that needs to help lead the charge in that regard. That player would be Khris Middleton, who has been in a significant slump throughout Milwaukee’s last few games, having played uncharacteristic basketball after the three-time All-Star had just found his footing post-All-Star break. Middleton is undoubtedly one of Milwaukee’s best players, and getting him back on track before the postseason begins is crucial.

Breaking down Khris Middleton’s recent slump with the Milwaukee Bucks

Over his last four appearances, Middleton is averaging 16.3 points while shooting 33.9 percent on his field goals and 26.1 percent from 3-point territory. The All-Star forward has been unable to get himself into a groove lately, and it has hurt the Bucks drastically. In addition to the shooting issues, Middleton also has been turnover prone as he has tallied 3.5 giveaways per contest in this stretch.

Shooting-wise, Middleton is generating his share of good looks that he would normally make with ease, but, for whatever reason, he has failed to hit them with any consistency. Per, Middleton has knocked in 3-of-12 (25 percent) on his “open” 2-point looks, 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) on his “open” 3-point tries, and 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) on his “wide-open” perimeter looks over the past four games he has played in. He has been open, but Middleton just cannot buy a bucket lately.

Middleton’s struggles have plagued the Bucks late in games over this stretch, as his averages over the past few fourth quarters are gruesome. He has averaged just four points per quarter during his last four fourth quarters while shooting an abysmal 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) on his field goals and a lackluster 1-of-6 (16.7 percent) from behind the arc. Given how clutch Middleton typically is late in ballgames, this recent play has been beyond troubling.

Middleton must find a groove over these final four contests for the Milwaukee Bucks, as entering the playoffs with this slump still ongoing could spell trouble. The Bucks will need Middleton at his best if they will make a deep playoff run, and right now, he is playing far from that. Middleton still has time to flip the switch here, but the regular season clock is ticking with just about one week to play before the postseason ultimately begins. Ending this slump starts with Middleton capitalizing on his open looks offensively while also turning the ball over less. If he can get a grip on those two things, he will be in good shape moving forward.

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The forward will have his first chance to get back on the right track as the Bucks take on their rival Chicago Bulls tonight. This matchup will be an important one as it has huge implications within the Eastern Conference standings, and it would be welcoming to see Middleton snap his pesky slump in a game of this magnitude.