Can Khris Middleton really shoot well?

Khris Middleton didn’t make David Thorpe’s list of the top seven 21-year-old rookies, but the ESPN writer listed Middleton in the “to be determined” section:

Middleton has a nice shooting stroke that makes long shots look easy. That is a good sign going forward. What else he can do is still a big question mark.

It’s almost sacrilegious to suggest Middleton isn’t a great shooter, and considering analysts much smarter than me consistently praise his shooting stroke, I won’t argue with that. But at some point, it matters whether the shots go through the hoop.

Middleton is shooting 25 percent on 3-pointers this year, but 2-of-8 is too small a sample. OK, he shot 26 percent at Texas A&M last year. Injuries, his supporters cry. Fine, he shot 32 percent for his college career. In his very best 3-point-shooting season in college, Middleton shot just 36 percent from beyond the closer arc.

Tayshaun Prince doesn’t have the prettiest shooting stroke, but he’s effective. That matters much more to me than Middleton’s fancy form.

There’s still time for Middleton’s shooting percentage to increase and mirror his impressive stroke, but every day, the needle moves closer to measuring him by his production rather than his potential.

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