The Milwaukee Bucks picked up a young guard who had a body of work and a young wing without much of one when they opted to ship Brandon Jennings to the Detroit Pistons over the summer in a sign-and-trade deal.
In Brandon Knight, the Bucks got a combo guard prospect that had started 135 games over his first two years in Detroit and, at least to this point, might be best well known for this:
Never mind the size of the onions it took for a 6’3”, 189-pound guard to get in the way of the rising freight train that was Jordan (6’11”, 250 pounds). Never mind that Knight—the point guard on the floor at the time—probably shouldn’t have been the last line of defense at the rim for the Pistons (I mean, there are bad rotations and then there’s just … damn). He got facialized, posterized and whatever other variation of “-ized” you want to throw out there.
Middleton, on the other hand, is a lesser-known entity. The 6’7”, 215-pound small forward ripped up his knee as a junior at Texas A&M, but opted to enter the NBA Draft anyway. Detroit took him with the 39th overall pick in 2012 and he played just 27 games while still recovering from the knee problems.
In the Bucks’ lone preseason game of the week, Knight scored 19 points in 27 minutes on 8-of-16 shooting and handed out four assists with just one turnover in a 102-99 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum on Tuesday night.
Middleton, meanwhile, led the bench mob with 15 points in 25 minutes, going 7-for-14 with four boards.
It was Middleton’s best showing of the preseason, where he’s scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 66 minutes in Milwaukee’s four games. He’s 13-for-32 from the floor (40.6 percent), including 2-for-7 from deep.
Knight also broke out of a shooting slump in the loss at Memphis—he had gone just 5-for-22 from the floor in Milwaukee’s first three practice tilts. In 89 minutes, Knight is 13-for-38 (34.2 percent), including 1-for-8 from deep, and has 19 rebounds and 14 assists to go with 34 points.
It’s not like anyone in forest green has shot the ball particularly well; the Bucks are shooting 41.9 percent as a team in the preseason … and that’s after shooting 46.2 percent (36-for-78) against the Grizz.
Knight has a little security now, as the Bucks picked up his fourth-year rookie-scale contract option Saturday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Knight, the eighth overall pick in 2011 by the Pistons, will earn $3.75 million in 2014-15. Milwaukee also picked up the third-year option on big man John Henson, the 14th overall pick by the Bucks in 2012.
Other notables from the loss at Memphis include:
- O.J. Mayo showed signs of heating up, hitting 4-of-5 from long range.
- The Bucks led 97-92 with 1:04 remaining before Memphis closed the game on a 10-2 run. Ouch.
- Zaza Pachulia still wasn’t back for the Bucks, while Nate Wolters sat out again with a sore wrist and Trey McKinney Jones was a DNP-CD. The South Milwaukee native who went to the University of Miami was invited to camp this fall, but has played just three minutes in the preseason.
- Larry Sanders fouled out in just 27 minutes and also picked up a technical foul in the first half for slapping the backboard.
The Bucks close out their preseason slate with three games this week:
- Monday at Chicago, 7 p.m. Central Time.
- Wednesday vs. New York at the Resch Center in Green Bay, 7 p.m. Central Time.
- Friday vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m. Central Time at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.