No. 2. Khris Middleton
This selection might not be the most obvious, but also not the biggest surprise.
Khris Middleton has not had the individual success that Giannis has had in his career, but his impact for the Milwaukee Bucks has been just as great. After arriving to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, he slowly worked his way into one of the premiere wing scorers in the entire league, and a major piece to the Bucks’ success over the years. In just his third year with the Milwaukee Bucks, he saw his points per game average soar to over 18 a game, which was a six point increase from what he averaged in his first season with the Bucks.
As he’s continued to develop over the years, he’s regularly been regarded as the side-kick to Giannis, but he’s played that role beautifully. He’s collected three all-star nods during his time with the Milwaukee Bucks, and has found himself reaching the 20 points per game mark on multiple occasions. What makes his impact so unique is how he’s been able to step up for the Milwaukee Bucks when Giannis has either been injured or struggled in the past. Specifically, when you look at the significance he played in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, many can argue that the Milwaukee Bucks might not have made it to the Finals without Middleton’s performance.
After Giannis was hobbled with a knee injury during the ECF, the Milwaukee Bucks were looking for someone to step up in the MVP’s absence. After he went down in game four with the injury, Middleton’s scoring saw a major increase from the series’ first four games to the last two. He erupted for 26 points on 50-percent shooting from the floor, to give the Milwaukee Bucks a 3-2 series lead. In game six, his play shrined through the most, as he poured in 32 points for the Bucks, on their way to punching their ticket to the NBA Finals.
Since he’s had both individual and team success during his Milwaukee Bucks career, Middleton will more likely than not find his number 22 jersey hanging up in the team’s arena one day. However, with the recent extension he’s signed it will give the elite scorer more years to perform at a high individual level, and guide the Bucks to more championships which will guarantee his jersey being retired.