Khris Middleton is getting back on track for the Milwaukee Bucks

What a wild season it has been for Khris Middleton. After a championship run with clutch shot after clutch shot, which included some outstanding performances, ended with a 40-point effort in the NBA finals to claim the title for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Anyone who plays the way Middleton plays is inevitably going to experience some shooting inconsistencies. The 30-year-old is a tough shooter (and maker) and that look is tough for a reason. He’s great at firing his shot from anywhere, but sometimes those looks go unnoticed.

This season, however, we’ve seen bigger waves of Middleton’s inconsistency than most seasons. The second star of the Bucks 2021-22 looked like a play in three acts in the ups and downs that it has experienced.

Khris Middleton (finally) finds his groove for the Milwaukee Bucks this season

The first act was probably the worst of the three, or the lowest point. He averaged 20 points in his first six games, which wasn’t bad by any means, but came with some brutal efficiency numbers. In those games, he scored 52.7 percent real shooting and an effective field goal rate of 47.5 percent. He shot a terrible 25.7 percent out of 3 which added to most of his struggles for efficiency.

He then missed a handful of games in health and safety logs (even before the big wave) but came back with some positive results, but overall not what we expected him to be. He averaged about 17 points per game, not great, but his 3 point percentage was over 38 percent, so that was better!

Middleton, however, struggled with his bread and butter: his middle-class jumper. His 3 point percentage and ability to get on the line based his true shooting percentage at 54.5 percent, but his effective field goal rate was still 49 percent, below his career average.

Given his struggles and the excellence of Jrue Holiday, it was clear that Middleton was not the second option at the moment.

Then Middleton missed a few games with a hyperextended left knee. It was a moment that most fans remember well because it looked a lot worse than it was. Despite his struggles, the Bucks need every version of Middleton if they are to repeat themselves as champions. Fortunately, he only missed three games before returning.

He’s played nine games since then and we’re starting to see the Middleton we all know. He averages over 20 points per game, but unlike the first six games of the season, the efficiency is vastly improved.

He has nearly 61 percent real shooting and his effective field goal rate of 54 percent is above his pre-season career average (52.8 percent). He shoots over 40 percent from 3 to almost six tries per game and comes to the line with the same number of tries.

However, those were not Middleton’s concerns. It was the middle class jumper. In those 15 games when he got back from health and safety logs, he shot under 39 percent of midrange jumpers, according to NBA.com/stats.

Last season he shot 45 percent on over 320 medium-distance attempts, so that number was definitely below average. In order for a player like Middleton to make these medium-range shots worthwhile, he needs to hit them at a solid rate (around 45 percent).

In his last nine games, Middleton shoots 44 percent from middle distance. A great sign that he’s turning things around and a big reason his efficiency numbers are increasing.

The final concern is that Middleton is still really having problems trying paint jobs without rims (floater area). In around 70 attempts, he shoots below 36 percent for the season. Last season it was 50 percent in almost 200 attempts.

It couldn’t have come a better time for Middleton and the Bucks as they lack many key rotation players and have needed everyone in the meantime.

It took Middleton longer than expected to find his groove, but there are real signs that he found it in his third act of the regular season.

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