5 Bucks who are expendable, 5 they can't afford to trade

The Bucks may look to make a trade before the Feb. 8 deadline.

Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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Cannot afford to trade: Khris Middleton

The Bucks need Middleton to return to his All-Star form. Injury limited him to 33 games last season, and he started this year playing 20 minutes each night after offseason surgery. The three-time All-Star appears to slowly be ramping up his playing time, but none of it will matter if Middleton isn’t healthy in the playoffs.

Damian Lillard is a walking bucket, but the defensive decisions get exponentially more difficult with Middleton on the floor. It is another creator and scorer to cover. Teams cannot send two at Dame or Giannis if it means leaving Middleton wide open. The Bucks offense has stagnated in the playoffs in recent years, but that won’t happen with Lillard flanking their dynamic duo.

Middleton has played well when he has been on the floor, but can the Bucks count on him for 35 minutes per game in the playoffs? Fans should hope his minutes continue climbing, and he stays on the floor.

His defense is something to watch closely. Khris Middleton’s stout defense has been a key for the Milwaukee Bucks, but there has been some slippage on that end of the floor. Is it the adjustment to playing under Adrian Griffin or are the injuries sapping a bit of athleticism? Losing Jrue Holiday hurt, and the Bucks need more from Middleton. Can he stand out on defense still? Only time will tell.