The Cleveland Cavaliers begin the second half of the season with a record of 15-27. While they are on pace to win 30 game, only six more than last season, they are hoping that the addition of Luol Deng, as well as the team becoming further acclimated to the demands of Mike Brown, will help them make a push towards a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. While the success of this plan remains to be seen one of the most underrated pieces in keeping the Cavaliers only 2.5 games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference has been the play of starting shooting guard C.J. Miles. What makes Miles so underrated? Take a look below to find out.
Miles currently sports a Player Efficiency Rating of 16.1
When John Hollinger created PER, he designed it so that the average score was 15.0. By this measure, Miles rates as a slightly above average player. While that may not seem like much, he currently has a higher PER than fellow shooting guards Dion Waiters, Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, Joe Johnson and Lance Stephenson. This is not to say the Miles is clearly better than those players, but he has been more efficient in his role than they are in theirs, which brings us to our second point.
Miles provides valuable spacing for the offense.
A large reason for Miles’s solid PER is his three-point shooting. Miles is currently shooting 39.9 percent from beyond the arc, the best on the team. With four attempts per game, he shoots often enough to that teams have to respect him from deep. Miles also shot 38.4 percent from deep last season, a huge improvement over the 30.7 percent he shot his last year with the Utah Jazz.
The Cavaliers are better on both sides of the ball when Miles is on the floor.
When Miles is on the court, the Cavaliers score 105.8 points per 100 possessions while giving up 103.9 points over the same span. When he is on the bench, the Cavaliers core 99.4 points per 100 possessions while giving up 109.8 points. So the Cavaliers go from outscoring the opposition by 1.8 points per 100 possessions to being outscored by 10.4 points per 100 when Miles goes to the bench. This is basically the difference between a decent team and the worst one in the league. Miles has been underrated on defense during his time with the Cavaliers and is currently holding opposing shooting guards to a miniscule PER of 8.7 this season. All of the above factors combine to make…..
C.J. Miles’s contract one of the best deals in the league.
Making just $2,225,000 this season, Miles is essentially on the same salary as a late lottery pick. Would teams be happy if they got solid defense and borderline elite three point shooting from the 11th pick in the draft? While Miles is often lumped in with Alonzo Gee and Earl Clark as part of the Cavaliers’ group of unproductive wing players he has actually been a productive bargain in both of his years in Cleveland. One of the more interesting subplots of the upcoming offseason will be whether or not the Cavaliers are able to resign Miles. He seems happy here, but is probably due for a fairly significant pay raise due to his age (26) and productivity. With Dion Waiters continuing to struggle with consistency, Miles has helped stabilize the shooting guard position. Hopefully the Cavalier sand Miles will come to an agreement that will keep him in Cleveland as this team continues to grow into a playoff contender.