The Milwaukee Bucks are two wins away from making the NBA Finals.
This would be their first appearance since 1974.
That is such a long time for any franchise.
However, they are so close because of the brilliant performance in Game 3 by Khris Middleton.
Khris Middleton tonight:
This is the 2nd time ever a Bucks player had a 30/10/5/5-three playoff game. The first time was also Khris Middleton. pic.twitter.com/eba0TdL2ET
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 28, 2021
Middleton outscored the Atlanta Hawks by himself in the fourth quarter.
It was a great showing from him as he helped the Bucks gain a 2-1 series lead.
The talks about who is truly the best player on this team have started to trickle out with the media.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the two-time MVP of this team, but Middleton is the guy that has been closing games out.
So who is the best player on this team?
Is it Middleton?
No, and here is why.
Differences Between Closer And Best Player
When you think of the early 2000s Lakers, you say their best player was Shaquille O’Neal.
However, their closer during that time was Kobe Bryant.
Those statements are not an indictment on one or the other.
It is actually a good thing to have.
Joel Embiid would love to have a closer right now.
It is hard for a big man to be the closer.
Antetokounmpo is a big man.
He tries to play like a guard at times, but he is a big man in the grand scheme of things.
Middleton is their closer.
When a big shot needs to be made, he is the one for the job.
Antetokounmpo is still their best player.
Without him, they are not able to compete at this high of a level.
He knows that as well.
Giannis on Khris Middleton, the closer, in part: “I want to be a winner. I have the whole game to be ‘the guy.’ I don't care about being the guy in the fourth quarter. I trust Khris to death. If Khris asks for the ball, better give him the ball.”
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 28, 2021
A game is not just two minutes long.
It is 48 minutes and your best player needs to show up for the majority of the game.
Giannis Is Still Playing Great
Middleton had a great game.
His fourth quarter is what propelled them to the win.
However, Antetokounmpo played just as great.
He finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bucks needed that performance just as much as Middleton’s.
Also, Middleton has had games this postseason where he struggled and Antetokounmpo needed to step up for the team.
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a great performance, but Middleton struggled.
He shot 6-23 and scored 15 points.
The Bucks lost by three points that game.
Media members are trying to push this narrative because of one game.
.@KendrickPerkins thinks Giannis is the "Robin" of the Bucks' team 👀
"Right now, on this Milwaukee Bucks team, Khris Middleton is the Batman." pic.twitter.com/tqeaW0sRN3
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 28, 2021
They refuse to look at the totality of the postseason.
Yes, Middleton played great, but he is by far not the best player on this roster.
There is one man that leads the charge.
Without Antetokounmpo, they will falter.
He is the two-time MVP for a reason.
Middleton is still a very good player in his own right and is needed.
However, Antetokounmpo is the engine for this team.
We can easily see who the best player on this team is and who the closer is for the Bucks.
They are not the same person, but that is what makes the Bucks a title contender.