Khris Middleton, a second-round NBA draft pick, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who also wasn’t a lottery pick, are the two best players on an NBA title contender.
“There’s a lot of good fortune there for both Khris and Giannis to end up here,” Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “And now being together for seven, eight years that they have been teammates and kind of building this together and trying to get to this point, it speaks to being able to build championship-level teams different ways. There’s not just one way to make it to the NBA Finals.”
The Bucks have just one lottery pick in the starting five, and that’s Brook Lopez who is 13 years removed from going No. 10 in the 2008 draft.
Not often are the two best players on an Eastern Conference championship team a guy who was reluctantly traded just to make a deal that featured two other players work, and a player born in Greece to Nigerian parents.
When the Bucks acquired Middleton from Detroit in 2013, the main part of the deal was Brandon Jennings for Brandon Knight – two point guards who needed a change of scenery. Middleton was the only player the Pistons had who would make the deal work financially under the NBA trade rules.
Jennings and Knight are out of the league, and Middleton has a starring role in the Finals.
No one involved in drafting Antetokounmpo, the No. 15 overall pick in 2013, pictured him as a two-time MVP even in their most fantastical daydreams.