I can already see it, some replies to this headline will be “LOL Lakers fans expectations (Kawhi Leonard) vs reality (Khris Middleton)." Well hey, reality isn’t so bad.
Khris Middleton is currently 27 years old and turning 28 in August. He is entering into the prime of his career. This season, he became a first-time NBA All-Star. He’s also the second-best player on the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the best record in the NBA and are currently in the Eastern Conference Finals. So yeah, reality is pretty cool.
Middleton has a player option this summer, which he will most likely opt-out of to possibly sign a max contract. I think there’s a good chance the Bucks offer him what he wants. But if they don’t, I think the Lakers should give Middleton some consideration if their primary targets fail this summer. There’s plenty of reasons why:
The addition of Middleton would really benefit the Lakers. In the video above, there’s a lot of interesting stats that I point out, so I won’t give all the details away, but i’ll give you an example. In the playoffs, Middleton has been hitting 47.7% of his catch and shoot 3’s. The Lakers during the regular season shot only 33.6% as a team during the regular season. Middleton is also currently leading the Bucks in plus/minus with +8.8 when he’s on the court. He’s also Milwaukee’s primary defender. Adding him with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram would be really entertaining to watch on the defensive end, and endlessly switchable and versatile to boot. Swarming arms everywhere.
In the playoffs, Middleton is currently averaging 18 points, shooting 43.9% from three. He’s also averaging 6.2 rebounds (third on the team) and 4.3 assists (second on the team). When you watch Middleton, he’s not the flashiest player by any means, so many fans don’t get too excited about his game, but he’s an all-star and one that I think isn’t talked about quite enough. The Lakers should factor him into their plans, even if it's neither side's first option on July 1.
Disclaimer: All stats shown were taken after game 4 vs the Raptors.