NBA

Khris Middleton.

Khris Middleton may be the most underrated player in the NBA

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is the superstar for the Milwaukee Bucks and deservedly gets all the headlines for his dominance on the court every night, but he's certainly not the only player behind their success this season.

Small forward Khris Middleton is quietly having a career year and is arguably the most underrated player in the NBA.

His return to health this campaign has elevated the Bucks and allowed Antetokounmpo to be the destructive figure he is as they've formed a strong tandem.

Middleton has been flying under the radar but he certainly deserves recognition for the work he does on the floor and his importance to this Milwaukee team.

He's averaging 20.0 points, 4.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting 35.3 percent from three-point range, which are all career-highs.

To put it into perspective, only five other players have managed that stat line: James Harden, LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and DeMarcus Cousins.

But the big difference is those players will be All-Stars once again this year but the Bucks small forward is likely to be overlooked.

Milwaukee Bucks v Atlanta Hawks

Snub

The 26-year-old's numbers certainly put him in the same bracket with the elite players in the league but he surprisingly isn't talked about enough and won't receive the same honours.

Being an All-Star doesn't define a player, but it certainly shows that your play is appreciated and recognised.

In the two voting returns so far, Middleton's name was nowhere to be seen which means his only hope of making it to the showpiece event in Los Angeles will rest on the shoulders of the coaches who will pick the reserves.

His performances on the court this campaign means he should no longer be underrated but be considered a legitimate star. Milwaukee has a winning record at 22-19 in the Eastern Conference and he's been integral to that.

Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Pelicans

Improvement

The Texas product has made a huge leap from a defensive role player to one of the most gifted scorers and complete offensive players in the league.

He's a smooth operator on the floor and has a deadly jump shot, both from beyond the arc and particularly from mid-range.

Middleton's ability to hit spot-up shots from distance or to pull-up off the dribble adds another dimension to the Bucks offence which they lacked last year when he missed the majority of the season with a hamstring injury.

The 6'8" forward isn't overly flashy but he's hugely effective with what he does and produces at an efficient rate.

Milwaukee Bucks v Atlanta Hawks

Of course, he benefits from the attention that Giannis receives on the floor but he's a perfect second option behind the 'Greek Freak' and their relationship is key to what the franchise can achieve.

Middleton may not be a part of the All-Star festivities in L.A. next month but he is sure to be part of a dangerous Bucks team in the playoffs that could cause some serious damage.

He may not get the credit he warrants across the league but the fans in Wisconsin know just how crucial he is to their team.

Topics:
Khris Middleton
Milwaukee Bucks
Central Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Eric Bledsoe
Phoenix Suns
Pacific Division
Western Conference

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