Underrated Milwaukee Bucks of the Giannis Antetokounmpo era: Honorable mentions
Khris Middleton has been Antetokounmpo’s running mate for the past several years, and he is one of the most consistent scorers in the NBA. He has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the past 5 seasons, and he is a two-time All-Star. However, he often gets overshadowed by Antetokounmpo, and he is not always given the credit he deserves. For someone who was but a throw-in in a deal that landed the franchise the talents of Brandon Knight, Middleton is arguably one of the biggest surprises of the franchise in its 55-year history.
It’s tough to call a starting-caliber forward and All-Star champion an underrated player in this association, but the reality is that to this day, some fans overlook the fact that Middleton is a bonafide NBA star. Middleton’s name is often thrown around mercilessly in discussions that bring the likes of James Harden and Damian Lillard to Milwaukee.
With a crafty “old man game” and a deadly proficiency from the mid-range, Middleton has very efficiently (and very quietly!) averaged over 20 points per game in each of the past 5 seasons playing second fiddle to Antetokounmpo, leading to his status as a two-time All-Star.
He is a reliable scorer who can get his points in a variety of ways, including scoring off the dribble, shooting the 3-pointer, and attacking the basket. Middleton has come up big in big games throughout his career, too, as he’s showcased time and time again a knack for making big shots, which makes him a perennial threat to take over any game.
Just like Pat Connaughton, there is no championship to be hoisted in Milwaukee without the clutch shooting and all-around contributions of Khris Middleton.
Big man Larry Sanders was another defensive force in the paint in the early years of the Giannis era. He averaged 1.5 blocks per game in 2013-14, and he was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
However, he had some off-court issues, and he was eventually waived by the Bucks in 2015. And though his contract situation went on to weigh down the franchise long after he was gone, his game on the court made for some really good moments for Bucks fans in the earliest days of the Giannis Antetokounmpo era.
You’ll have to do your best to separate the player from the person, but any Bucks fan who watched Larry will have to admit: that was one hell of a Bucks player for that time in the franchise’s history.
These players were often overshadowed by Giannis’ ascension to stardom but played crucial roles in supporting his growth and the overall success of the team. They may not have received the same level of recognition as some of their teammates, but their contributions were instrumental in laying the foundation for the Bucks’ rise in the Eastern Conference.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks content as the off-season comes to an end.