Khris Middleton is an impending restricted free agent for the 2015 off season. With that being said, the Milwaukee Bucks can match any offer for Middleton. In this article, I will discuss the value of Middleton to the Bucks and what contracts should be used to base his on and should be given to him.
High School Basketball
Middleton played high school basketball at Porter-Gaud. His sophomore season, he averaged 12.0 points a game and 8.0 rebounds a game. His junior season, he averaged 21.0 points a game and 8.6 rebounds per game. His senior season, he increased his points per game to 22.4, while his rebounding numbers stayed at 8.6 per game. He was nominated for the 2009 McDonald’s All-American Game, but was not selected to participate. Middleton left high school ranked as a 3 star recruit. On May 30, 2008 he signed with Texas A&M to play collegiate ball.
Middleton, his freshmen year, was expected to be a three point specialist and solid defender. For the season, he averaged 20.9 minutes a game, 7.2 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 41.6% from the field, and 32.4% from three.
During his sophomore season, Middleton saw his numbers increase across the board. He averaged 29.6 minutes per game, 14.3 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, while shooting .450% from the field, and 36.1% from three.
In his last college season, Middleton was a unanimous choice for the preseason All-Big 12 team. With this hype, some could say Middleton disappointed as he saw most of his numbers drop. He averaged 28.8 minutes a game, 13.2 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 41.5% from the field, and 26.0% from three. After this season, he would declare for the NBA draft.
This brought his college averages to 26.0 minutes a game, 11.3 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 43.1%, and 32.1% from three.
In the 2012 NBA draft, the Detroit Pistons selected Khris Middleton in the second round with the 39th pick.
His rookie season he spent a majority of it in the NBA Development League playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He did manage to play 27 games for the Pistons that season in which he averaged 17.6 minutes per game, 6.1 points per game, 1.9 rebounds, while shooting 44.0% from the field, and 31.1% from three.
Only July 31, 2013, Khris Middleton was traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks along with Brandon Knight and Viacheslav Kravtsov for Brandon Jennings.
The 2013-2014 season brought better times for Middleton who appeared in all 82 games and starting 64 of them. For the season Middleton averaged 30.0 minutes per game, 12.1 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.0% from the field, and 41.4% from three.
So far in the 2014-2015 Middleton is averaging 27.6 minutes per game, 11.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.0% from the field, and 41.9% from three.
His monthly numbers are broken down here:
October: 32 minutes per game, 14.5 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 38.7% from the field, and 28.6% from three.
November: 21.8 minutes per game, 7.9 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 39.6% from the field, and 36.7% from three.
December: 24.8 minutes per game, 10.5 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.3% from the field, and 43.8% from three.
January: 30.6 minutes per game, 12.9 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.8% from the field, and 52.3% from three.
February: 34.2 minutes per game, 17.0 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 50.8% from the field, and 32.3% from three.
To put his numbers in perspective, only five other players under the age of 25 are averaging 11.0 points per game and shooting better than 40% from three, and those five other players are Bradley Beal, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, and Klay Thompson.
With regards to ESPN’s real plus-minus stat Khris Middleton is the sixth best player in the NBA. Middleton is ahead of the likes of John Wall, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge for this stat. He also presents a WAR(wins above replacement) of a 7.47 which is higher than DeMarcus Cousins(7.07), Tim Duncan(6.23), and Klay Thompson(6.26).
Let’s Talk Money
To start with the max range for a wing players, you look at players like Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward who are commanding in the $15 million dollar range a year.
Chandler Parsons contract year stats:
37.6 minutes per game, 16.6 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.2% from the field, and 37% from three.
Gordon Hayward contract year stats:
36.4 minutes per game, 16.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 41.3 percent from the field, and 30.4% from three.
Right below them, you have the Lance Stephenson contracts that range in the $9-10 million a year range.
Lance Stephenson contract year stats:
35.3 minutes per game, 13.8 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 49.1% from the field, and 35.2% from three.
With the impending 2016 TV deal for the NBA, I feel as though, Middleton with his recent development and stats very similar to Stephenson, Middleton should garner interest in the Lance Stephenson range, whether it be in the form of 3 years $27 million or 4 years $36 million. When Jabari Parker comes back next year, it will be difficult to see Middleton keeping up his numbers now with less touches but he will still be an efficient three point specialist and excellent defender for the Bucks to have. So this might be a little bit of an expensive contract, but for the Bucks to stay successful they will need to keep their young core together and especially a guy who is very underrated at what he does. Middleton is not a star and probably will never develop into one but one thing is for sure and that is he is a key role player and is a solid third option for a team to have.
The stats that I used were from Basketball-Reference.com and ESPN.com.
By: Mac Crowe @Mac_Truck17