Khris Middleton is ahead of Schedule

Updates on injured Bucks guard Khris Middleton suggest he is ahead of schedule. What does this mean for the Milwaukee Bucks?

It may seem premature to talk about a Bucks playoff run with the team just 1 game below .500 (20-21 at the time this article was written), but new information regarding key Milwaukee sharpshooter Khris Middleton makes playoff talks seem more realistic. 

Middleton was injured in September during preseason workouts.  It was expected that the Bucks would be without their top scorer from last season for the entire season.  Early on it was estimated that Milwaukee would lose Khris for 6 months, virtually the entire NBA season.  In recent weeks however, it seems that Middleton could be back ahead of schedule.

Now it is possible that he could return after the All-Star break.  This would give him at most 27 games to play in before the playoffs start.  It's reasonable to assume that Middleton won't return immediately after the break and play in all the games after it, but if he does indeed come back around that time, he could get useful game experience, and possibly help the Bucks make a push for the playoffs or even a higher seed.  

Middleton makes the Bucks a lot more dangerous late in the game.  This season in particular has seen Milwaukee struggle winning tight games in the final minutes.  Khris forces defenders to account for his reliable 3 point shooting.  With the defense worrying about Middleton shooting threes, other players, specifically Giannis and Jabari, can get open for an easy 2 for a win, tie, etc.  

Middleton has had his share of game winners in his career, most famously against the Miami Heat in 2015.  The entire play was a mess, and Khris was able to deliver.  His ability to provide space for other scorers and his 3 point shooting make him one of the most valuable players on the Milwaukee Bucks.

As of now the team is definitely overachieving at 20-21 and in the playoff picture.  While most fans (myself included) tried to be optimistic about this season, the thought in the back of our minds was "bottom 5 team."  However, these young Bucks have been able to make noise in the Eastern Conference.  Just imagine what the season could have been and could be if a healthy Khris Middleton was available all year.  A core of Middleton, Antetokounmpo, and Parker would be a formidable trio in the East, one that could give even the top teams a run for their money.  They wouldn't be Finals contenders, but they wouldn't be the afterthought they normally are.  If Middleton is able to help the Bucks make a push for the playoffs, there is only one thing to say.

Watch out NBA.  Time to Fear the Deer.

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