Bucks Lead

Make No Mistake: Middleton Will Be a 2020 All-Star

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Khris Middleton has dominated since returning from injury on November 27th. Most recently, the 2019 NBA All-Star put on a show during the Bucks West Coast road trip. Middleton dominated in back-to-back games, scoring 28 points Friday night against the Kings and added another 30 on Saturday night in Portland.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Middleton’s performances on the trip is how easy it all looks for him. He’s letting the game come to him.

Whether he’s posting up against smaller guards on the baseline or pulling up in transition from behind the arc, Middleton has looked incredibly smooth and in control of all facets of his game — it’s been amazing to watch.

Middleton’s recent performances have many people, Bucks fans included, wondering how Khris was left off of the second return of the NBA All-Star voting for this year’s game in Chicago.

The answer to that question is the fan vote. Middleton will never draw the national attention that many All-Stars do, but we obviously believe he should, and will, make the All-Star team. So, let’s make his case.

BY THE NUMBERS

Khris Middleton is having the best season of his career. Yes, even including his All-Star campaign last year. That said, he has to be an All-Star again this year, right?

The numbers show it all; just take a look for yourself.

If you dig in even further, taking a look at Middelton’s per-36 numbers, things look even more All-Star worthy. Per-36, he’s averaging 24.4 PTS, 7.3 REB and 4.8 AST.

For context, Jayson Tatum is averaging 22.5 PTS, 7.3 REB and 3.0 AST per-36, while Jimmy Butler is averaging 21.1 PTS, 7.1 REB and 6.6 AST.

Those guys are slam-dunk All-Stars and Middleton should be, too. It’s time to end the debate.

THE EYE TEST

Watch the Bucks on any given night, especially over the last few weeks, and you’ll see dominance from Giannis, of course, but Middleton as well. He’s playing like the true second star that the Bucks need to make a deep run in the playoffs. And when Khris really has it going, he looks at times like the primary option for the Bucks.

His ability to get a bucket when the Bucks need one most has been incredible as of late. As many critics have noted, the Bucks can go into long offensive funks, especially when they shoot poorly from behind the arc, but Middleton has been there to take control of the offense and completely dominate when needed. And buckets are coming easy for him lately.

The buckets are flowing because Khris is a very unique player.

He creates matchup nightmares for most teams in the league. The thing that stands out most is his ability to create for himself at all three levels. We all know he’s dangerous from behind the arc and is dominant in the mid-range, but he’s also getting to the rim and finishing at an extremely high level this season.

If a defender is bigger and slower than Middleton, he will take him off the dribble. If his defender plays for the drive, Khris is deadly on the pull-up behind the arc. If his defender is smaller and quicker, he’ll get into the post and put his masterful footwork and shotmaking on display.

What else does he need to do?

THE BEST TEAM THEORY

Khris deserves to be an All-Star based on numbers alone. And if you watch the Bucks play a few times, you’ll surely give him a passing grade on the eye test. The final reason for Khris’s All-Star bid is the fact that he plays on the 36-6 Milwaukee Bucks.

Middleton is the second-best player on the undoubtedly best team in the NBA. Typically, the best teams in the NBA have multiple All-Stars. There’s no specific reason for this, but historically the best teams are awarded for being the best teams. It’s just how it goes. The Bucks, like the Lakers, Clippers, Sixers, Celtics, and others, are very much deserving of his honor.

We understand that the votes listed above shouldn’t be taken too seriously — they don’t solely decide who makes the NBA All-Star team. The starters are chosen by a combination of fan, media and current NBA players. The reserves are then selected by the coaches. Even without a ton of nationwide fan support, Middleton has a strong chance to make the team — he certainly deserves a spot.

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