Khris Middleton owns up to defensive shortcomings after being benched
Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton played just 18 minutes in their 136-134 overtime loss against the New York Knicks. Head coach Mike Budenholzer opted to leave arguably his second best player on the sidelines for the entire fourth quarter and overtime as the Bucks failed to close out the lowly Knicks on the road.
According to Matt Velasquez of The Journal Sentinel, Middleton admitted after the game that coach Bud benched him due to his poor effort on defense and not competing enough.
Talked to Khris Middleton, who said he got benched, “plain and simple.” Said it was on him for missing defensive assignments, not competing at the necessary level.
— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) December 2, 2018
In his 18 minutes on the floor, Middleton tallied just 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal a losing effort. The 6-foot-7 guard averages 31 minutes per game. Thus, it was pretty strange to see one of the Bucks’ best players ride the bench for most of the game, especially during a close one like this. Nonetheless, Budenholzer may have just had enough of Middleton’s lack of effort and chose to give his starting shooting guard a lesson.
However, it looks like Middleton took the benching professionally and understood why his coach did what he did. Budenholzer is one of the best and most respected coaches in the league. Hence, moves like these usually go unquestioned. His track record speaks for itself, and his offensive scheme is one of the best the league has to offer. More so, he is already making an impact with Milwaukee, revamping their offense and leading them to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
This move by Budenholzer should not become a trend moving forward. It seems like Middleton is aware of what he has done, and will make the necessary adjustments to keep himself on the floor. The former second round pick will look to bounce in the Bucks’ next outing against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.