When Quincy Miller was picked with the 38th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, most Nuggets fans were ecstatic (including yours truly). In fact, many fans were more excited about seeing Miller in a Nuggets uniform than Evan Fournier, whom Masai Ujiri selected 18 spots higher in the draft. Though his freshman season at Baylor was far from record breaking, Miller still displayed an intriguing combination of athleticism, versatility and innate talent that earned him a once prestigious high school ranking ahead of players like Anthony Davis, Cody Zeller and Ben McLemore.
But the NBA is not high school basketball and Miller is no longer facing players he can dominate with his physical skills alone. Miller is now in an arena where everybody is tall, everybody is athletic and everybody has a world-class handle. Now that Miller’s going up against NBA-caliber power forwards, he’s often too frail to bang down low; and when going up against small forwards his lengthy appendages prevent him from moving his feet fast enough to defend or blow by his man on offense.
After several years of watching Miller grow, this bodily conundrum of where he fits in a traditional five-man NBA lineup seems to be his biggest problem. He’s neither a small forward, nor a power forward; meanwhile, the unorthodox release on his shot prevents him from possessing a dangerous mid-range game. Miller’s greatly improved his outside shot, knocking down 45 percent of his 3-point attempts at Summer League this year, yet he’s always been inclined to do most of his damage close to the basket.
Pigeonholing players in the NBA based solely on their physical attributes has proven time and time again to be an erroneous undertaking. But when it comes to Quincy Miller, it not about disproportional limbs or a wiry frame — it’s about a mindset. LeBron James is a point guard who understands how to play in a 6-9 body frame. Andre Miller is a 6-2 point guard who understands how to operate in the post, even though his vertical is nonexistent. Quincy Miller, from what we’ve seen thus far, appears to be a 6-9 basketball player with no clue as to what position he wants to play.
As soon as he figures it out, Miller will likely find a role in the NBA. But if he continues on the pace he’s at, that role might be with a different team.
15. Anthony Randolph
14. Quincy Miller