Mulling Miller

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Published: January 24, 2018

Should Miller be getting more minutes? A different spot in the rotation? If not now, when?

Mason: It looks like things are already trending that way: Miller has played 30+ regulation minutes in each of his past 3 games. Gentry appears to have landed on one of two crunch time lineups depending on the matchup: Holiday, Moore, Davis, Cousins, & either Clark or Miller. The Pelicans have outscored opponents by 56 points since the new year (10 games) with Miller on the floor. Assuming his minutes hang around 30 or so per game, the only question remaining is this: should he start? I lean towards no. I would rather start Ian Clark and bring Miller in off the bench with Rondo. Hill will eventually be the starter when he returns, so it makes sense to avoid messing with Miller’s role since it’s clear that he will get extensive playing time regardless.

42: It’s not consistent, but he’s been seeing more 30+ minute games, and that’s appropriate. I was critical of his reluctance to shoot in his first run here and had a watchful eye on this when we returned. As soon as he showed the willingness to shoot, I happily pointed it out (while others were distracted by Clark) and have been watching him since. His three is respected, and he’s added more movement, cutting, passing to his game, and his defense is acceptable. All of that said, I would feel free to play him more and more, but I wouldn’t put him into a real starting role unless an injury or other absence afforded the opportunity.

I just don’t want there to be a setback with him. The team is in the mix, so I’d rather be careful and stay in the pack since growth is occurring rather than trying to hit another gear with the risk of losing some gains in his confidence. Give the guy the minutes, but don’t change the role. Starting is somewhat arbitrary and is nearly meaningless over the course of 48 minutes (or more), but it comes with pressure. Not worth it. When Hill returns, the minutes will come from all over. If Hill plays the role of backup big, Miller can perhaps take some of Rondo’s and Nelson’s minutes if he can show that he can pass suitably, not as a point guard, just as someone who can move the ball to a scorer in a good situation or out of a bad situation he is in.

Kumar: Yes. Maybe. I think Miller should consistently get 27-30 MPG. I am unsure of if he should start. I believe playing Miller off the bench allows him to build confidence and play with less pressure. It allows him to play against weaker competition and get in stride for the final minutes. However, our starting lineup has performed so poorly that you would almost wish Miller would start. In a perfect world, Solomon Hill gets to start at small forward and Miller continues to receive a healthy dose of minutes from the bench. But the Pelicans do not have that liberty at the moment. The one argument against starting Miller is that he is prone to easy fouls – hand in the cookie jar syndrome. Pitting him against starting wings night in and night out could be problematic. Fouls may take him out of his rhythm offensively and have him playing timid defensively. If forced to pick an answer, I agree with Mason. I would start Clark until Hill is healthy and close with Miller.

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