The Return of Khris Middleton


For Bucks fans, Wednesday will feel like Christmas morning.

Milwaukee will finally get to see its leading scorer from last season take the floor for the first time in the 2016-17 campaign, and the Bucks get their swingman back when they need him the most.

Khris Middleton averaged 18.2 points, 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game last season while missing only three contests. The hamstring tear he suffered all the way back in September has kept him sidelined for the first 50 games of this season.

Middleton was originally projected to miss at least six months, with a slim chance to play at all this season. The six-month timeline should have had him out until the end of March, but the Bucks’ medical staff has cleared him to play tomorrow night against the Miami Heat.

The Bucks are in need of a change, having lost 10 out of their last 12. Despite this recent skid, they remain just a half-game out of the eighth spot in the Eastern conference and have plenty of time to catch up to the rest of the East. They have plenty of winnable games left before the all-star break, and the return of Middleton will only add to their arsenal of offensive weapons.

The devastating injury to Middleton forced the Bucks’ front office to make some moves. Shortly after Middleton went down, Milwaukee traded for Tony Snell and Michael Beasley, while shipping Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis to the Bulls and Rockets respectively. These trades turned out to be upgrades for the Bucks. Snell provided three-point shooting that Carter-Williams could not, and Beasley provided a spark off the bench that Ennis could not match.

Middleton will be held to a 15-20 minute restriction Wednesday night and likely until the all-star break. Once he returns to a full workload however, the Bucks can have Tony Snell come off the bench, joining the likes of Greg Monroe, Malcolm Brogdon, Jason Terry, Michael Beasley, and Mirza Teletovic.

The Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the NBA really haven’t seen what their big three is capable of. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton have only spent one whole season together without any serious injuries (Parker missed 67 games in the 2014-15 season with a torn ACL). On top of that, we didn’t see the Greek Freak explode until after the all-star break last season, and by that time, the Bucks were out of the playoff hunt. A healthy Middleton, explosive Parker, and point-forward Antetokoummpo should be quite the difficult trio to deal with in the Eastern conference.




About Eric Peterson

The Lead's Chief of Content

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