With Paul George injured and Lance Stephenson gone, the Indiana Pacers are going to need a lot out of C.J. Miles if they hope to make the playoffs this season. Is he up to the task?
To help find out, Mark Montieth recently talked to some of Miles’ former coaches in Utah and Cleveland for Pacers.com.
The first part of this quote from Mike Brown is a bit concerning, but his overall message seems to be that C.J. Miles may now be in the best position of his career to hit his peak.
“There are times when C.J. will go out there and you think he’s ready to take off, and he disappears for a moment,” said Mike Brown, who coached Miles in Cleveland last season. “Part of that will help with him getting consistent minutes and a consistent role. He hasn’t had that since the run he had in Utah. He was so young and it was too much for him and he’s bounced around since then.
“Now he’s in Indiana with a lot of veteran players who know how to play, and it will be a good fit. If he gets in the right environment and has the right guys around him and someone pushes the appropriate buttons to get him going, he can be very productive in this league. He’s more than capable with his length and size and ability to shoot.”
Tyrone Corbin, one of Miles’ coaches in Utah, had this to say.
“He’s a great young man,” former Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “To see his growth from the day he stepped onto the NBA floor to when he left Utah was great.
“He can handle the ball. He can create shots. He has a high basketball IQ. I always thought he was a pretty good player who could become a great player in this league.”
While Miles is now known for his offense — and mainly his outside shooting — he thinks his defense doesn’t get enough attention. He told Montieth that “I can defend my position and I’ve shown it,” noting that Jerry Sloan used to trust a young Miles to check the opponent’s best wing.
Corbin backed up this fact, and Brown added that Miles is also good off the ball.
“We had him play against Kobe (Bryant),” Corbin said. “A lot of young guys shy away from those kind of games. Kobe still had big numbers, but C.J. didn’t back down from the challenge. That’s one of the things that’s kept him around this league.”
Added Brown: “I thought on the weakside he was very good and understood how to use his length. He got numerous deflections and steals and was always in the right position.”
Naturally, a player’s former coach isn’t an unbiased source. But both of these guys sound pretty honest — if a bit glowing — in their assessment of how Miles might fare in Indiana.