The Return of Khris Middleton
On September 20th, word came out that Khris Middleton had completely torn his hamstring, and doctors had given him a 6 month recovery. Fast forward 5 months and Khris Middleton is set to return for the Bucks. During the game against the Denver Nuggets, Middleton joined the Fox Sports Wisconsin crew and announced he was aiming for a return in the February 8th game versus the Miami Heat. This news could not have come at a better time, as the Bucks have lost 10 of their last 12 games.
What does this mean for the Bucks? Obviously it will be a process until Middleton is back to season form, but his return and promise is nothing but positive. The overwhelming blemish of this Bucks team is their inability to defend the corner three, giving up roughly 40% from the corners. Khris Middleton, when fully healthy, should be able to help the Bucks there in a major way. Known as a 3-and-D player, Khris should help the spacing of the defense overall. The other thing the Bucks need is a sharpshooter who can help space the floor for Jabari and Giannis. That's where Khris will thrive now, as Giannis and Jabari will be able to draw defenders away and get Khris open looks. Tony Snell, Jason Terry and Mirza Teletovic have been filling that role, but Khris is a step up from any of these players. A 40% three point specialist will undoubtedly be a big addition to this already intriguing Bucks offense.
What should Bucks fans expect? Bucks fans should not go into Wednesday's game versus the Miami Heat expecting many minutes or gaudy numbers. Middleton will probably get somewhere between 5-10 minutes and be eased back into the flow of the game. Sure, Jason Kidd will try getting Middleton his shots, but coming off a torn hamstring is nothing to mess with. After the All-Star break, Middleton may progress into a larger role, but his starting spot will remain in the hands of Tony Snell for the foreseeable future. Snell has been productive in Middleton's role, producing 8.0 PPG, and 3.3 RPG while shooting 45% from the field and 38.5% from long range. Snell is by no means Khris Middleton, but has been a solid replacement and will remain important when moved to the bench.
It may take time for Khris Middleton to come back to his normal self, but the fact that he is coming back from such a severe injury is exciting for Bucks fans. Although Middleton may not be the cure to all of the Bucks woes, he will definitely help and add a dynamic that this young team hasn't had all season. The Bucks are certainly all in on "Own The Future", but getting a glimpse of this dynamic trio, this year, will be fun to watch.