Knight, a veteran journeyman point guard, only played in 124 games for the Bucks across two seasons. But the former first-round pick is inadvertently responsible for Middleton’s growth into an All-Star swingman.
The Bucks acquired Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight in 2013
Even the biggest basketball fans may easily forget that the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t draft Khris Middleton.
Actually, the Detroit Pistons used a second-round pick on the Texas A&M wing during the 2012 draft, and he averaged 6.1 points in 27 games as a rookie. He also spent part of his first NBA season playing in the G League, then called the D League.
In July 2013, the Pistons traded Middleton, point guard Brandon Knight, and center Viacheslav Kravtsov to the Bucks for Brandon Jennings, a talented starting point guard. Much like most moves the Pistons have made since winning the 2004 NBA Finals, that trade eventually backfired. Jennings lasted parts of three seasons in Detroit before the Pistons sent him and Ersan İlyasova to the Orlando Magic for Tobias Harris in February 2016.
Knight only lasted two seasons with the Bucks, and Kravtsov never even played a game in Milwaukee. However, Middleton seized the starting small forward role in his first season with the Bucks, and the rest is history.
Middleton has become a superstar for the Bucks
The history books may eventually show the summer of 2013 as the most crucial offseason in Milwaukee Bucks history.
Not only did the Bucks select Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick in that year’s draft, but they acquired Middleton as a secondary piece in the Knight-Jennings trade. Antetokounmpo is among the NBA’s top players and a global superstar.
On most teams, Middleton would be the unquestioned No. 1 scoring threat and alpha player. He took over the Bucks’ starting small forward role in his first season and, outside of a season where he primarily played shooting guard, never relinquished that spot.
The two-time All-Star is still a proficient shooting threat — he shot an even 46% from the field through the end of the 2020-2021 regular season — and is a durable starter. He signed a five-year contract extension worth $178 million in the summer of 2019.
Knight bounced around the NBA after that trade
The Bucks landed a superstar in Middleton. Knight, on the other hand, didn’t last too long as long in Milwaukee as the team may have hoped.
The eighth overall pick in 2010, Knight bounced around the NBA after the Bucks traded him to Phoenix midway through the 2014-2015 season. He played for four teams between then and the NBA’s hiatus in March 2020, when he was in his second stint on the Pistons.
Knight, who turns 30 in December 2021, did not play anywhere during the 2020-21 season.