3 Bucks on Thin Ice Heading Into the Playoffs

The Milwaukee Bucks are entering a crucial postseason. These three Bucks have the most to prove.
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 3

2. Khris Middleton

If the Bucks end up underwhelming in the playoffs, one of the scapegoats will almost certainly be Khris Middleton. The 32-year-old swingman already had a disappointing season, still not looking like himself post-injuries. Not only does he need to manage his load during the regular season, missing back-to-backs and only playing 27 minutes per game, but he is also not as good as he used to be.

Appearing in 55 games this season, Middleton finished the year with 15.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He can still be effective as a closer with his ability to get to his spots and generate shots at the end of games but he is a step slower in almost every aspect of the game. He barely gets to the free-throw line, isn't the defensive difference-maker he was at his best, and isn't the dynamic scorer he was during his All-Star seasons.

Middleton is a fan favorite in Milwaukee and his departure would certainly hurt. However, it doesn't make sense for a title contender to pay him over $30 million per season. He gets paid like a third-best player on a championship team but at this stage, he should be more like a fifth-best starter or a sixth-man type of role.

This is a make-or-break postseason for Middleton. If he doesn't show more than he did in the regular season, his time in Milwaukee might be coming to an end. Especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo hobbled to start the playoffs, Middleton has an excellent chance to prove his worth by taking on more of the offensive burden and delivering.