Milwaukee Bucks: 3 reasons why the Bucks are better than last season

Milwaukee Bucks Donte DiVincenzo (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks Donte DiVincenzo (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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NBA Milwaukee Bucks
NBA Milwaukee Bucks Khris Middleton (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Khris Middleton’s increased efficiency

A common monicker mentioned around the Bucks/Celtics fan universe is “Boston Khris” Middleton. It’s an urban legend, at this point, that Middleton is always abnormally exceptional against the Celts. A key point to Milwaukee’s uber-success this season though is that “Boston Khris” is seemingly showing up every night in every city.

Critics of the Milwaukee constantly reference that Middleton doesn’t “fit the mold” of a second option for a team with title aspirations. This year, he’s putting that said criticism to the test.

In an ideal second option, you want a player who you can trust when called upon to find a consistent bucket (and specifically, in the Bucks’ case, when Giannis is off the floor or not engaged). Middleton has been exactly that for the first half of the year, thanks to his shots falling at a much more consistent rate.

Exhibit A lies in the fact that he is closely flirting with the 50-40-90 club this year. Middleton is shooting 49 percent on field goal attempts (career-high), 40 percent on 3-point attempts, and 90 percent on free throws (also a career-high). The 50-40-90 club is often used as a clique to define elite scorers, given Middleton’s usage, it’s fair to call him at least borderline elite in 2019-20.

Middleton just seems so much more controlled on the offensive end this season, and the stats show that. His intelligent post-up game is at another level this season (he ranks in the top-5 percent of the league on all mid-range shots); it finally seems like he’s “toying” with defenders out there (something we’ve seen him do against the most elite of the elite, in a more casual setting).

All this adds up to what is a career-high for Khris Middleton in effective field goal percentage at 56.1 percent. This also perfectly describes Middleton this season: an effective player – an effective second option – on arguably the most effective and best team in the league this season.

Next. Boston Celtics: Why this year’s team is the real deal with Kemba Walker. dark

Nobody really expected Milwaukee to be this good in 2019-20; on paper, many went on to assume they’d be worse. But they haven’t, and Middleton’s rise in efficiency – as well as the aforementioned reasons – are some of the (less-discussed) reasons why. It’s time to give those listed reasons/players their due-respect because if the Bucks bring the banner down at the end of the year, they will top the “thank you list.”