The Milwaukee Bucks are about to get better. Likely a lot better.
Which should worry the rest of the league because the Bucks have looked like one of the two best teams in the Association this season: A 15-5 record with the best defense in the NBA and an MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Now they are about to get Khris Middleton back.
Middleton — the Bucks Olympian and All-Star forward — is set to make his season debut Friday night against the Lakers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at ESPN. Middleton had been recovering from wrist surgery.
ESPN Sources: Milwaukee Bucks All-Star forward Khris Middleton plans to make his season debut vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday (ESPN, 7:30 PM ET). Middleton has been recovering from July surgery on his left wrist. The Bucks are 15-5, second in the East.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 1, 2022
Middleton averaged 20.1 points and 5.4 rebounds and assists per game last season. More importantly in Milwaukee, Middleton is the hub of the Bucks’ halfcourt offense — he is the ball handler in the pick-and-roll at the end of games, asked to create for himself and others in the clutch (with Antetokounmpo working off the ball and sometimes setting picks). Without him so far this season, the Bucks’ halfcourt offense has struggled, ranked 21st in the NBA this season in points per possession (via Cleaning the Glass). Overall the Bucks have a middle-of-the-pack offense because of it.
That is about to change.
While Mike Budenholzer will ease him back into the rotation as he gets his wind back, having Middleton back makes the Bucks much more dangerous. Which is bad news for the rest of the NBA.