Khris Middleton does not sound like a basketball player’s name and add to the fact that the Milwaukee Bucks only played four nationally-televised games, the name doesn’t ring a bell that much among casual NBA fans.
But fantasy basketball team owners are not your casual fans. That’s why to us, hearing that Middleton sustain a hamstring injury that requires immediate surgery and a six-month recovery window is like hearing the United Nations has disbanded. It’s bad news–total bad news– especially if you used a 3rd-round pick for the sharp-shooting wing.
Middleton emerged as a fantasy star last year. He is a beacon of dead-eye shooting in a team that has a glaring lack of it. Averaging 18.2 points, 4.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.8 threes a game, Middleton is considered by many to be someone with a fourth-round to fifth-round value (41.1 ADP) with a considerable chance to be a top-35 player.
Losing someone like the Texas A&M product is problematic for the Bucks. You simply can’t replace 36 minutes a night. Jason Kidd must be scratching his head right now and even though they swung a deal with the Rockets for Michael Beasley, the former No. 2 pick is not as good as Middleton defensively.
Now, who’s going to step up for the Bucks? Here are 3 of his teammates that could end up being better contributors from a fantasy perspective than previously expected:
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis has the ability to do it all but he might actually HAVE TO without his back court partner for a good chunk of the season. This makes the Greek Freak a legit first round option as he will be looked upon to supply part of Middleton’s scoring and assists (and 3PM if he can). We may see Antetokounmpo’s post All-Star break numbers (18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.9 blocks) as the norm now rather than an exception. That’s good news for owners who used a second round pick on the long-limbed Greek.
2. Matthew Dellavedova
Based on long distance shooting alone, Delly possesses a wide edge over the incumbent Michael Carter-Williams who shot a measly 27% from out there last season. The Bucks are dead-last in the NBA last season in threes made (5.4) and ninth-worst in percentage (34.5%), two solid reasons to hand the Australian the bulk of Middleton’s minutes at both guard spots. Delly averaged 4.4 assists last season (6.5 assists per 36 minutes), so he checks the playmaking box as well.
3. Jason Terry
It could be MCW here or Rashad Vaughn but Terry’s experience and shooting win out. His previous championship foray with Jason Kidd back in Dallas wouldn’t hurt either. Terry played only 17 and a half minutes last year and at 36, he has seen better days in reality and fantasy. He could be a three point specialist in the deep leagues though but nothing more.