Is Khris Middleton a MIP candidate?

Khris Middleton's emergence in Milwaukee over the first 40 days of the season is one of the bigger surprises so far. Does Middleton, a 2012 second-round pick who came to the Bucks as a throw-in in the Brandon Jennings-Brandon Knight deal, have a chance to take home Most Improved Player honors?

That remains very much doubtful, but not because Middleton isn't putting up big enough stats. Kels Dayton of SheridanHoops.com highlighted them on Tuesday.

"Middleton went for a career-high 29 points in a rare 109-105 win over the Wizards on Friday," he wrote. "He has scored in double figures 10 times already this season. At this point with Detroit as a rookie last season, Middleton had played 12 minutes over three games and had four points."

Middleton is averaging 11.3 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from 3-point range, all very solid numbers for someone who was buried on the depth chart and virtually off the radar when the season started.

The problem is two-fold:

  1. With Caron Butler, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh and tantalizing rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, there aren't enough minutes to go around at the two forward spots for Middleton to continue to play as big of a role as he has thus far. Once Larry Sanders returns, Henson will likely move from center back to power forward.

  2. Too many other players are having breakout seasons that are even more impressive, from Eric Bledsoe and Anthony Davis to Tony Wroten, Andre Drummond, Miles Plumlee and Jordan Crawford.