Milwaukee Bucks fans received great news on Tuesday. Eric Nehm of The Athletic reports that Khris Middleton and MarJon Beauchamp have been assigned to the Wisconsin herd for today’s practice.
Many Bucks fans have been wondering when we’ll get an update on Middleton, and with him heading to the G League-affiliated team today, the wheels are in motion for his return. Middleton has been out since early July recovering from wrist surgery.
Reactions to Khris Middleton’s impending return to the Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have already scared the rest of the league this season with their perfect 6-0 start. They’re about to get even scarier with another All-Star close to his return. It’s unclear where Middleton is in his rehabilitation process, but regardless, his return to basketball activities is important to the Bucks.
Milwaukee was able to hold the fort without Middleton early in the season. However, with Jordan Nwora starting to struggle and Beauchamp being assigned to the G League, Middleton’s impending return couldn’t come at a better time for the team.
Middleton’s return will help the team get back to the roles they are used to playing. This takes some attacking pressure off of Jrue Holiday, who has generally been better as the team’s third goalscoring option than the second option he had to be without Middleton.
Middleton will boost the Bucks in perimeter shooting, something they’ve struggled to do without him this season. The Bucks currently rank 24th in the NBA in 3-point percentage, shooting 33.5% as a team, according to NBA.com/stats. Middleton will help in that department as a career 39.2% shooter from deep.
Middleton will help the team offensively just with his presence. Of course, the defense will continue to end Giannis Antetokounmpo as the team’s best player. Still, Middleton adds another weapon that opposing defenses will need to factor into their game plans. With defenses focused primarily on stopping Antetokounmpo and Middleton, open eyes should be there for Milwaukee roleplayers.
Middleton had his third All-Star season in four years last year. Middleton averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists for the team, although his shooting count fell to one of the worst of his career. It can’t be determined whether or not Middleton’s wrist was the cause of his declining percentages, but it wouldn’t seem like a coincidence if it was.
Middleton will add another long defenseman to the Bucks, who are already the best defense in the NBA. It remains to be seen who Middleton’s place in the starting lineup will be, but it could be one of the most important decisions surrounding the squad.
While not producing jumping numbers offensively, Jevon Carter has been tremendous for the team on defense. Carter in the starting lineup allowed the team to be versatile with defensive assignments for Jrue Holiday. When Middleton returns, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer should continue to allow Carter to start regardless of his offensive numbers.
Middleton’s return will help the Bucks in many ways. Even if they’re undefeated playing without him, adding another All-Star to your roster can never hurt.
Stay tuned to see when Middleton officially returns to Milwaukee and how he performs.