Bucks Lead

Bucks’ Depth to Be Tested in Wake of Middleton Injury

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On Monday afternoon, the Bucks learned that their all-star forward Khris Middleton is set to miss at least the next three weeks of play with a thigh contusion. The injury timeline was first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

 

The Bucks have somewhat of an easy schedule for the next month, playing only three teams with a winning record. However, they’ll still have their work cut out for them in figuring out how to replace Middleton’s production on both ends of the floor. With that said, let’s take a look at a few players who can help fill in for Middleton over the next month.

Expanded Rotation

So far this season, the Bucks have used their bench pretty extensively, with 12 different players averaging more than 10 minutes per game. The players slated to get the largest minutes increase from this injury are Sterling Brown and Donte DiVincenzo. Brown is the most likely out of the two to claim Middleton’s starting minutes. After Middleton went down with his injury in Oklahoma City, Brown was the one that soaked up those minutes right off the bat, ending with 18 minutes played.

A couple of other candidates to get increased minutes during the next month are Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Cam Reynolds. The Bucks are short on taller wing players that can guard opposing team’s taller wings. These two would be good candidates to watch simply for their defensive potential against those types of players. Reynolds is on a two-way contract, so the Bucks would have to decide whether or not they want to use a majority of his 45-day NBA eligibility this early in the season.

Covering Middleton’s Offensive Production

The Middleton injury will most likely be felt the hardest on the offensive end of the ball. The Bucks are most likely going to try to fill in by a committee approach, but there are a few players that should specifically get more run as offensive playmakers.

An obvious solution is to have Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe get more touches every game. This will probably be the case but they will need even more. This is where I think DiVincenzo comes into play. He has looked like one of the few Bucks who can put the ball on the floor and create a shot for himself. During this time, the Bucks will need him to continue asserting himself on the offensive end while Giannis and Bledsoe are on the bench.

Filling In On The Defensive End

The defensive side of the ball is where Sterling Brown will come into play. He’s the biggest wing player the Bucks have besides Middleton that has been getting regular minutes already. He can easily slide into the small forward spot and hold his own against most of the teams the Bucks play in the next month.

The only teams that have players that could potentially cause Brown problems are the Pacers and Clippers. This is because they both have taller wing players in TJ Warren, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. They all excel at being able to pull up over smaller defenders, which might be a problem for Brown. This is when I think the Bucks could potentially go with Thanasis Antetokounmpo or Cam Reynolds in these games. They both offer better length to disrupt these shooters a tad more.

Injuries are never a good thing especially when they occur to your second-best player. But the Bucks have a few options to weather the storm in Middleton’s absence. And with an easier schedule for the next month, the Bucks should be able to keep pace in the Eastern Conference until he returns.

All statistics logged from Basketball-Reference. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @BucksLead for the latest Bucks news and insight.

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