Darius Miller Returns

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Published: July 5, 2017

Scott Kushner tweeted out that our old friend Darius Miller will be returning to the team in some capacity.  At this juncture, it is unclear what sort of contract Miller has, but one of our writers will add to this post once there is more clarity.

For those of you who were not around when AD was drafted, Miller spent a few years with New Orleans.  Some facts:

  • Miller was a teammate of both AD and Boogie at Kentucky.
  • Coming out of college, he was billed by many as a shooter with role player potential.  He had several cracks at the rotation, but did not manage to stick
  • Miller has spent several years playing professional basketball overseas since his time with New Orleans

and some opinions:

  • Darius was one of the better passers we had at that time and has a solid handle as well
  • Darius was on track to be a good shooter
  • Didn’t seem to have the greatest quickness on the wing
  • Has a stocky frame and might be able to play small ball 4.
  • We should temper expectations unless you actually watched him play in Europe (you didn’t)

Darius has long been one of my favorites of our role players, and I am hoping that he has developed into the player I thought he’d be when he played for us.

 

 

His best game was vs. the Clippers. Highlights below.

And some highlights from Europe, where his team, Brose Bamberg, won their League title:

Other Notes from Mason:

  • According to Draft Express, Miller “consistently put his team’s aspirations for a National Championship ahead of his desire to showcase his own talents in front of scouts.” He has been a team player for his entire life, and is by all accounts a great teammate. Even if Miller isn’t someone who is ever going to contribute on the court in a meaningful way, that doesn’t mean he can’t help in other ways.
  • Miller was a career 38% 3-point shooter in college and has continued that sharp shooting overseas. He complements that shooting skill with above average size for a wing – he measured in at 6’7 1/2″ (in shoes) with a 6’9″ wingspan. While that shooting and size didn’t translate to NBA success during his first stint in New Orleans, there is always a chance that something could click this time around.
  • During Darius Miller’s rookie season, he ranked 3rd among qualifying small forwards in assist rate. He is a willing passer – someone who will happily look to get the ball to the Pelicans’ talented big men. That ability and willingness to pass would theoretically fit well alongside a player like Jrue Holiday. He can also handle the ball a bit too, which can’t hurt his case.
  • Miller was not a particularly strong rebounder, but that is a weakness that could be hidden to a degree playing next to Davis and Cousins. Otherwise, it is something he will have to put more effort towards than the last time he put on a New Orleans uniform.
  • In summary – the skills and attributes that Darius Miller possesses are things that this Pelicans team needs – size on the wing, shooting, and unselfishness. The big question, of course, is if what he does well is good enough to be “good” at the NBA level. That was not the case a few years ago, but at the age of 27, there is a chance that Miller has grown enough as a player to add value. We look forward to figuring that out.
  • Other Notes from 42:

  • The deal is likely for just the minimum salary, and may not even be guaranteed. It has been reported that Miller is expected to be in camp, nothing more.
  • As you can see above, Miller has some of the key skills I pointed to earlier in the offseason in order to maximally use Davis and Cousins on a team together. Catch and shoot, especially from three, and passing ability are indicators, even in this small signing, that this is the kind of thing they need to keep the engine going while the heavy-minutes role players are on the bench. If he can defend, or at least be a speed bump for an opponent when called on to switch, he’ll have a good chance of surviving camp. As I said, it also offers some insight, possibly, into what the brass is thinking.
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