3 Bucks who are underperforming, 2 exceeding expectations at the All-Star break

These Bucks have exceeded or underperformed expectations in the first half.

Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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Underperforming: Khris Middleton

Middleton’s struggles this season are mostly health related. He is averaging 14.8 points, 5.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.9 steals on 48.7 percent shooting from the field, 37.8 percent on his 3-point attempts, and 83.2 percent from the foul line. He is not scoring 20 every game, but his per-36 averages are above his career numbers in points, rebounds, and assists.

His playing time has dipped. Middleton had offseason surgery, and the team eased him back in. He is not playing back-to-backs and an ankle injury robbed him of the final five games before the All-Star break. Can he consistently play 30-plus minutes every night in the playoffs? The Bucks need the 32-year-old to, but it is no guarantee.

Middleton’s biggest drop off has come on the defensive end. He has a negative defensive box score plus-minus and his worst defensive win shares since 2017. The Bucks are allowing 117 points per 100 possessions with Middleton on the floor, which is the worst mark of his career.

Milwaukee needs Khris Middleton to play like a star in the playoffs. He answered the bell last season after appearing in just 33 regular season games, but the Bucks were eliminated in the opening round. They need Middleton for multiple series, and he must figure things out quickly if he wants to be the Bucks third-best player in the postseason.