The New York Knicks are in the midst of a rebuild. They have won just 34 games this season, but they have also been one of the best stories in the NBA.
The characteristics of a great team is a phrase used by LeBron James to describe his Cleveland Cavaliers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the franchise player for the Milwaukee Bucks and the reigning NBA Finals MVP. Antetokounmpo gets the most of the attention, and rightfully so. However, the two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner is often the first to divert credit away from himself. However, there is one teammate that has been with Antetokounmpo from the beginning. He describes one teammate as a “big-time player” who contributes to the Bucks’ “greatness.” Khris Middleton, his Batman, is the Robin to his Batman.
The Greek Freak and Middleton both arrived in Milwaukee in the same year. Since then, the two have been developing together, and Antetokounmpo has said many times that he would not be where he is now without the former Texas A&M star.
Khris Middleton has been acknowledged by Giannis Antetokounmpo as a crucial component of his growth.
Prior to the 2013-14 season, the two landed in Milwaukee. Middleton was acquired as a throw-in component in a trade that sent point guard Brandon Knight to Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo was the 15th overall selection in the 2013 draft. Through ownership changes, new coaches, and GM replacements, Giannis and Khash have remained together.
Antetokounmpo complimented his teammate in an article by Kane Pittman on SportingNews before to a winner-take-all Game 7 in last year’s Eastern Conference playoffs series against the Brooklyn Nets:
“I’ve been in the NBA for eight years. I played six years before getting into the NBA, so I’ve played 14 years of basketball and eight years with this man, No. 22, Khris Middleton.
“We know we have to give him the ball when he feels well. He’s never afraid of such situations. It’s been an incredible eight years having him at my side; he’s always prepared and willing to give his all.”
On Bucks teammate Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Antetokounmpo has always understood how important Middleton is to his team’s success.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton celebrate after beating the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals. | Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel
In Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, the 6-foot-11 Milwaukee center single-handedly defeated the Phoenix Suns. Antetokounmpo dominated, scoring 50 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and blocking five shots.
But it wouldn’t have been possible for the Athens native to reach the championship game if it hadn’t been for Middleton.
During last year’s playoffs, Khash averaged 23.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. On 7.6 shots per game, he shot 39 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bucks’ most difficult playoff matchup was against the Brooklyn Nets, who were shorthanded. Milwaukee had to hurl all they could against Kevin Durant and his big toe in order to get beyond the second round of their championship quest. Middleton scored more than 28 points per game in the Bucks’ four victories in the series.
Milwaukee’s 6-7 winger isn’t the greatest player on the team, but he might be the most crucial. The Bucks’ championship run demonstrated that they follow Middleton’s lead, as Antetokounmpo noted in the same SportingNews story:
“You know you’ve got to get him the ball when he’s making shots.” I just know how to interact with him. He’s a big-time talent who contributes to the success of this team.”
Middleton’s significance on the court, according to Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is all about his family, and Khris Middleton is his Bucks sibling in this instance.
On the court, the two are not identical twins. After an explosive dunk, Giannis will mean mug whomever he can find, while Middleton will sink a mid-range jumper in the face of an opponent and jog back on defense with no apparent response.
However, the two have a lot in common. When Antetokounmpo first entered the NBA, he was a relatively unknown Greek youngster. When he joined Giannis in Milwaukee, Middleton was a forgotten second-round selection. Neither of them had high hopes for him. However, over the course of the last eight seasons, both shows have totally reversed that narrative.
Without Middleton, Antetokounmpo would not be where he is now, and vice versa. On and off the court, the two have a strong connection. Superstars like Antetokounmpo, the 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year, desire the ball down the stretch in tight games.
But, as he told FoxSports, he and Middleton have a deeper level of trust than most NBA duos:
“I have complete faith in this man. He gets the ball if he wants it. It’s as simple as that.”
Deferring to Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics.
Giannis Antetokounmpo already owns the NBA, and now he owns a piece of the Milwaukee Brewers after purchasing a minority stake in the team.
The what makes a good team player answer is a question that asks what makes a good team player. There are many different answers, but the most popular one is that someone who plays for the team is always willing to help their teammates.
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