RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Quincy MillerPosted by EJacoby on June 12th, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses.
Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
Player Name: Quincy Miller
Height/Weight: 6’9” / 210 lbs.
NBA Position: Small Forward/Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Mid to Late First Round
Overview: Drawing widespread comparisons to Kevin Durant in high school, Quincy Miller tore his ACL during his senior year that left him sidelined for several months and seemed to hamper him throughout his only season at Baylor. The long, athletic, versatile scoring forward flashed many moments of brilliance as a Bear but also appeared limited at times by his knee, role, and inexperience. As a result, Miller’s impact on the team dropped off as the season went along. He scored in double figures in 11 of his first 18 games, but only in just seven of his final 19 games as a frosh. His overall averages of 10.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks in 24.4 minutes per game failed to meet the lofty expectations placed upon him. That’s why it was quite a surprise when Miller declared for the NBA Draft just days before the league deadline. Had he returned to school, Miller would have been the first option on a good team, capable of proving he’s a star player and potential Top 10 NBA talent. Instead, Miller enters the stacked draft with questions about his knee, his motor, and his ability to take over games. Still just 19 years old, though, with big-time upside, Miller could find his way into the late lottery for the right team. He has the potential to become a massive steal if he falls far in the first round, but he’ll need to stay healthy and play with confidence against the best players in the world as he develops in the pros.
Will Translate to the NBA: There’s a reason why Miller has often been compared to Kevin Durant. He’s the same height (6’9”) with a similarly outstanding wingspan (7’3”) and versatile offensive game. He’s incredibly skilled with great footwork and strong handles for his size, which will make him a constant mismatch if he develops into an NBA small forward. He can shoot it from deep (34.8%), makes his free throws (81.6%,) and has great court awareness on both ends. Despite averaging just 0.6 blocks as a freshman, Miller has the length and smarts to become a solid defender in the league.
Needs Work: Miller has some of the biggest upside in this draft but needs plenty of work in several areas, most of which are intertwined. First of all, he needs to seriously bulk up his wiry frame in addition to proving he can stay healthy over the course of an entire season. If you think Durant is skinny, Miller is 25 pounds lighter with a similar frame and height. Improvements on his body should help in the next deficient area, which is rebounding. Miller grabbed just 4.9 boards per game last season, in part because he strayed too often out onto the perimeter. He needs to work harder inside and show a more consistent effort. All of these things usually improve for freshmen over time, but he’ll have to do it at the pro level rather than against players his same age.
Comparison Players: As we keep mentioning, Kevin Durant is the ultimate upside comparison for Miller. But Durant was an efficient scoring machine by the time he was 19, whereas Miller lacks similar quickness, explosiveness, and shooting accuracy at this time. In due time after a full recovery from injury, perhaps someday he’ll get there. But for now, a more realistic comp is Thaddeus Young, another versatile forward who has guard skills and good scoring ability. Young has had a really nice career early on for the 76ers, a realistic target Miller should strive for.
Best Case Scenario: If Miller stays healthy and comes into his own as a confident player, he has the skill set to become a very good NBA player, even a borderline All-Star down the road. He has that ‘toolsy’ kind of game in which there’s not a whole lot he can’t do on the floor. Filling out as a 6’9” small forward would give him the best opportunity to succeed and be a mismatch asset. It’s going to take a lot of work in several areas, but Miller has the pedigree and the potential to get there.
Best NBA Fit: The most important fit for Miller is for a team that will be patient and understand how to best utilize him. Teams that play him out of position due to necessity or do not give his development enough attention will stunt his long-term growth. It’s unclear, then, which teams fit that bill, but it would probably help him to be on a team with a quality coaching staff in place and experienced forwards to learn from. Falling to the Dallas Mavericks at #17 or Boston Celtics at #21 for those strong organizations to learn from Dirk Nowitzki’s or Kevin Garnett’s multi-faceted games and work ethics could be an ideal fit.
*This post was contributed by RTC’s Evan Jacoby. He can be found on Twitter @evanJacoby.