The Milwaukee Bucks are a young team that has just emerged from a very tough Western Conference playoff race. On Thursday night, the Bucks took a decisive Game 7 win to move one step closer to a title. Khris Middleton scored a team-high 25 points, and the team’s leader in assists and steals added on a team-high three steals.
There’s a lot to be said for the importance of a good head coach, especially when it comes to a franchise’s fortunes. But, with the Bucks’ recent turn towards mediocrity, how much does that head coach really matter? What if the Bucks end up with a smart, but boring coach who does nothing more than win 50-plus games and lose in the first-round of the playoffs?
If the Milwaukee Bucks ever win a championship thanks to Chris Middleton, the team might want to give Brandon Knight a Ring of Honor. Knight, an experienced point guard, has played just 124 games for the Bucks in two seasons. But the former first choice unwittingly became the culprit in Middleton’s transformation into an All-Star swingman.
Bucs acquired Chris Middleton and Brandon Knight in 2013
Milwaukee Bucks trade Brandon Knight (R) for Chris Middleton | Justin Casterline/Getty Images; Christian Petersen/Getty Images Even the biggest basketball fans can easily forget that the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t draft Chris Middleton. The Detroit Pistons selected the wing attacker out of Texas A&M in the second round of the 2012 draft, and as a rookie he averaged 6.1 points in 27 games. He also spent part of his first NBA season in the G-League, which was then called the D-League. In July 2013, the Pistons traded Middleton, point guard Brandon Knight and center Vyacheslav Kravtsov to the Bucks for Brandon Jennings, a talented starting point guard. Like most measures the Pistons took after winning the NBA Finals in 2004, this deal was a bust. Jennings spent parts of three seasons in Detroit before the Pistons sent him and Ersan Ilyasova to the Orlando Magic in February 2016 in exchange for Tobias Harris. Knight has only spent two seasons with the Bucks, and Kravtsov hasn’t even played a single game in Milwaukee. But in his first season with the Bucks, Middleton took on the role of starting small forward and the rest is history.
Middleton has become a superstar for the Bucs
The summer of 2013 might go down in the history books as the most defining offseason in Milwaukee Bucks history. The Bucs didn’t just pick Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick. They also acquired Middleton as the second pick in the Knight-Jennings swap. Antitokounmpo is one of the best players in the NBA and a global superstar. On most teams, Middleton would be an excellent scorer and a first team alpha player. In his first season with the Bucks, he took over the position of small forward and never gave it up, with the exception of one season where he played primarily as a shooting guard. The two-time All-Star is still shooting well – he even hit 46% from the field in the 2020-2021 regular season – and is a solid starter. He signed a five-year, $178 million contract through the summer of 2019.
After that exchange, Knight traveled through the NBA
The Bucs have a superstar in Middleton. Knight didn’t last as long in Milwaukee as the team had hoped. Knight, ranked eighth in 2010, was floating around in the NBA after the Bucks traded him to Phoenix midway through the 2014/15 season. Between then and the NBA break in March 2020, he played for four teams when he joined the Pistons’ roster for the second time. Knight, who turns 30 in December 2021, did not play anywhere in the 2020-21 season. Like Sportscasting on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @sportscasting19 . COMPARED TO: NBA star Chris Middleton went from sophomore to millionaire