Kicking off Roundball Mining Company’s 15-part #NuggetsRank series is Quincy Miller. At No. 15, he was a unanimous selection by our writers for this spot. Though young and still wildly in need of improvement, Miller is also teeming with the type of raw potential that very few Nuggets possess.
I remember watching Miller in his first days at Baylor. With Perry Jones sidelined due to suspension, Miller was the unquestionable top dog and go-to scorer through most of his initial games as a freshman. Fellow RMC readers took notice and even mentioned in the comments section of several posts how they adored the possibility of seeing Miller in a Nuggets uniform.
Well, their wish came true.
Miller faded throughout his freshman campaign, losing the luster he possessed through the first handful of games with Jones sidelined. As a result he dropped all the way to the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft where the Nuggets selected him 38th overall. To many Nuggets fans this was not only the steal of the draft but a more valuable pick than who the team took with its first-round selection in unknown Frenchman, Evan Fournier. However, just weeks later at Summer League, these perceptions would be quickly reversed.
While Fournier looked comfortable, Miller looked lost. He rebounded well, played solid defense and was often in the right position he needed to be in to make plays, but the assertiveness displayed by rookies and bench players looking to make a name for themselves at Summer League was totally absent from Miller’s game. Either he was not properly prepared for the level of competition seen in Vegas or he just wasn’t comfortable in his own shoes quite yet.
I have a feeling it was the latter.
The thing fans must keep in mind with Miller is this: He’s young. Outside of phenoms such as LeBron James or Kevin Durant, it’s rare that anyone coming off one year of college (or straight out of high school) is ready to tackle what’s in store for them at the NBA level. Even guys like Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose took their fair share of time to develop before they started appearing on MVP ballots year in and year out. In some cases players even peak at 19 (believe it or not) and can’t seem to ever find that fountain of youth again.
The point is: Everyone develops at their own rate. At this period in time, Quincy Miller just isn’t as far along as his other 14 teammates. A lot of this is likely due to the slow recovery he underwent after tearing his ACL during his senior year of high school. What can’t be ignored, however, is that prior to his injury Miller was once seen as the best player in his class, which included the likes of Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Austin Rivers.
Though it may not seem like it, this is actually a big year for Quincy Miller. With so many talented players and only a certain amount of court time, another trade seems destined to appear on the horizon. Miller must be ready to prove he belongs in the NBA. Even if he spends some of his rookie campaign in the D-League (which seems likely), it’s crucial that he shows progress along the way.
If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll be ready for the challenge of playing at the next level. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller roughly 14 spots higher on this list in the not-too-distant future.