C.J. Miles is not a ‘sexy’ player, nor was he the flashy pick up many Cavaliers fans wanted this offseason. In seven years as a pro, Miles career stat line looked like this: 8.4 points per game, 1.3 assists per game, 2.3 rebounds per game with a field goal percentage of 41.9. Those are not the stats of a starting two guard or small forward, or even that of a guy who can start alongside a budding superstar on an emerging team.
But oddly enough, so far, it looks like Miles has become exactly that – at least for this season. Coming into the preseason, Miles was up against returning Cavalier Alonzo Gee and top draft pick Dion Waiters for playing time on the wing. Out of that trio, he has been the only one to consistently play well. Based off just the stat lines alone, that is pretty clear. Take a look.
- C.J. Miles – 12.3 PPG, 42.9 FG, 90.9 FT, 21.8 MPG
- Dion Waiters – 8.0 PPG, 36.0 FG, 75.0FT, 20.8 MPG
- Alonzo Gee – 6.7 PPG, 46.4FG, 80.0FT, 22.0 MPG
As these statistics show, Miles is outplaying both Waiters and Gee. He is scoring more, making the most of his chances at the free throw line, and playing more minutes. Granted, Gee’s numbers are close, but I’d still take Miles’s numbers over Gee’s.
Last night’s game against the Indiana Pacers was on outlier of these statistics. Miles had his worst game of the preseason last night, only scoring nine points and having a +/- of thirteen. Gee, on the other hand, had his best game of the preseason with eighteen points. Still, at this point, I’ll take Miles over Gee.
But Miles ascension has been more than just statistical superiority. Miles simply looks like he knows what he is doing on the court. He makes the right passes, stays buckled down on defense, and doesn’t take any plays off. Gee, at times, has gotten himself in positions where he has no choice but to throw a stupid pass that kills a possession. And Waiters, a shooting guard drafted to be Irving’s sidekick, has looked awful in every game sans one good performance against the Chicago Bulls. He forces a lot of jump shots, and just does not appear ready to play full time in the NBA. Miles, at this time, is the best out of the trio without question.
I’m not going to suggest that Miles is the long-term answer at the two or three guard – I still think it would be wise for the Cavaliers to take a wing with their top pick next June. But I do see a place for Miles here in Cleveland. They need a veteran presence that can provide consistent play and I have hopes that he can be that man.