3D wing, Pure Shooter, Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Darius Miller Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Darius Miller is said to have agreed re-joining New Orleans after spending the last two-and-a-half years at Brose Baskets of Bamberg in Deutschland. In that time, the 27-year-old[1] earned 3,754 minutes of EuroLeague and German Bundesliga[2] experience for a team that won the last three domestic titles.

The six-foot-seven wing got the opportunity to improve his skill-set in Europe, playing a key role within Andrea Trinchieri’s diverse offense. He was relied on to create shots within the flow and also in emergency situations late in the shot clock and late in games as well. But Miller won’t return to the United States totally unaccustomed to what his role will be there, as he logged only a 20% usage-rate in his two full seasons in Deutschland.

His playing time should still depend on what he does on defense, though, and that’s something Miller didn’t improve. He remains a disappointing defender for someone who looks like the prototypical 3&D wing every team is looking for these days, given he is not an asset defending the point of attack, chasing shooters around the floor, creating events as a weak-side defender or toughening up against big men.

OFFENSE

Miller’s top skill remains his catch-and-shoot three-pointer, as he nailed 44.4% of his 616 three-point shots over the last two-and-a-half seasons. He’s flashed some ability to get shots sprinting around staggered screens but proved himself able to make shots relocating to open spots around the wing and coming off pin-down screens. His release is not lightning-quick but it’s quite fluid.

His average of 6.5 three-point shots per 40 minutes over his time in Deutschland is a reasonably disappointing figure, though. He should be a more aggressive shot taker off the catch on spot-ups rather than opting to stop the ball and taking a one-dribble pull-up or at times transitioning into an isolation that decreases the expected value of a given possession.

He’s developed into someone who can run a side pick-and-roll, not just to keep the offense moving but also a reliable asset to create a good shot. Miller has proven himself able to play with pace and make drop-offs or kick-outs to the strong-side, assisting on 15.2% of Bamberg’s scores when he was on the floor last season — according to RealGM.

But rather than consistently attacking off the ball-screen, Miller often walks it back and transitions into one-on-one play. He lacks an explosive first step to blow by his man on speed but has shown some shiftiness to shake him side-to-side, a hesitation move to go around him and strength in his 225-pound frame to maintain his balance through contact.

Miller doesn’t often explode off one foot to finish strong at the basket but has flashed some ability to hang and adjust his body in the air to score around rim protection going up off two feet. He is not a consistent rim attacker, though, more often than not pulling up from three-point range if his defender dies on the screen or getting to the elbow for a mid-range pull-up and getting to the foul line very little — averaging just 2.4 free throws per 40 minutes last season.

Miller proved himself a pretty good shot maker at the European level, averaging 1.33 points per shot last season, despite his uninspiring shot selection. His jumper also made him an asset in the post, as he showed an inclination for taking smaller defenders down low. It’s unclear how much of his off dribble diet can translate to the NBA level, though.

DEFENSE

Miller is a decent individual defender, as he has the resources to be. He can slide laterally to keep pace with his man side-to-side, has a thick build to contain penetration when he puts in the effort and has an eight-foot-five standing reach to contest pull-up jumpers effectively.

But he struggles if the opponent forces him to be a part of a team-oriented effort. Miller works to go over ball-screens when he finds himself defending at the point of attack but is too big to be able to slide around them cleanly. He also struggles to negotiate screens when he’s chasing shooters around the second side and doesn’t consistently manage to run shooters off their shot.

Despite his size and length, he has not shown to be an asset playing as the second biggest player on his team in smaller lineups, as he is not tough enough to hold his ground against bigger players in the post and boxing them out under the glass.

He is also not a productive weak-side defender. Miller is an iffy-to-poor helper, often late or ineffective acting as the last line of defense crowding the area near the basket and rarely leverages his athleticism into creating events. His contributions through steals and blocks are marginal and his 12.7% defensive rebounding rate is an unimpressive figure for a big wing.

Brose Baskets had lower defensive ratings without him on the floor in the both the EuroLeague and the German Bundesliga.

[1] Who only turns 28 in March

[2] Which Next Step ranks as the sixth best domestic league in the continent

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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