3 Milwaukee Bucks that must step up with Khris Middleton sidelined

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton, Chicago Bulls: Alex Caruso
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 20 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Pat Connaughton must step up for the Milwaukee Bucks after Khris Middleton’s injury in Round 1

After serving as Milwaukee’s unsung second unit hero throughout last year’s championship run, Pat Connaughton had his best regular season to date. Unfortunately, Connaughton’s rhythm has been off since he returned from a month-long absence due to a fractured hand, and the guard has not looked like himself throughout the first two games in these playoffs thus far.

During his 40 minutes played off the bench across these two games, Connaughton has scored just six points on 2-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. The head-scratching thing is that a majority of his looks have been open, as Connaughton has shot just 1-of-5 on “open” looks and 1-of-7 on his “wide-open” 3-point attempts in this series, per NBA.com/stats. Given that 3-point shooting was his greatest strength in the regular season, this slump has obviously been problematic, as he has been a non-factor in the first two games against the Bulls.

Connaughton is more than capable of turning this around with his shooting. Although last year is just history now, this is the player that buried the second-most threes in the NBA Finals less than one year ago, having shown that he can perform on the biggest stage. With Middleton now out of the picture for the foreseeable future, the Bucks need that version of Connaughton to rise up and make an impact on this series. The open looks will continue to be there and his teammates will be encouraging him to keep letting it fly, but Connaughton must simply knock them down.

His minutes are about to skyrocket over these next few games, and the two-guard must make the most out of the opportunity afoot.