Why couldn’t he have waited one more game?
Your Los Angeles Lakers will kick off an intimidating road trip tomorrow night in Milwaukee against probably the greatest player in the game today, All-NBA forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his 15-5 Bucks.
It sounds like, unfortunately for the Lakers, the Greek Freak will be getting some additional reinforcements ahead of Friday’s contest.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that three-time All-Star swingman Khris Middleton, who injured his left wrist during the first round of the 2022 Eastern Conference playoffs and has yet to suit up this year following a July surgery, is targeting a return against the Lakers.
Last season, the 6’7″ small forward was part of Milwaukee’s lethal championship-winning triumvirate of two-way studs, alongside Antetokounmpo and All-Defensive Team guard Jrue Holiday. Middleton averaged 20.1 points on .443/.373/.890 shooting splits as the Bucks’ second option on offense and one of its two best perimeter defenders. He also chipped in 5.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.2 steals a night in 2021-22.
The 8-12 Lakers could be missing some critical role players themselves tomorrow. Last night, in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles was without starting wings Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. It didn’t stop L.A. from trouncing Portland (sans star Damian Lillard), 128-109, but the Bucks are at another level, so the Lakers could use all the scoring help they can get.
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com reveals that tomorrow night, Walker remains questionable with the sore left foot that sidelined him Wednesday. That’s a big blow for L.A. potentially, as the athletic 6’4″ shooting guard is the club’s third-leading scorer behind stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Brown has now seen his status upgraded to probable for tomorrow, thankfully, but now reserve guard Dennis Schröder is questionable.
Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register reports that Schröder and his wife are expecting their third child together any day now, which may preclude his availability against the Bucks. The absence of Schröder could make head coach Darvin Ham lean a bit more on reserve combo guard Kendrick Nunn.