Will the Indiana Pacers Get A More Consistent C.J. Miles This Season?

The Indiana Pacers are hoping C.J. Miles learned from his scouting report so he can avoid the cold streaks that have marked his career.

The Indiana Pacers don’t have a lot of reliable shooters on their roster, but in the past, C.J. Miles has filled that role with his 3-point shooting.

The problem is that at times C.J.’s Miles goes from ice flowing through is veins to just being ice-cold.

C.J. started off last season on fire (44.9% in November from 3-point range) before bottoming out in January (shooting 21.6% from beyond the arc) and returning to form near the end of the season, shooting 44% from deep after the All-Star Break.

There may have been reasons why, but it doesn’t change the fact he’s streaky as a shooter.

When Miles is hot he’s one of the best sharp-shooters you could ask for. The Pacers don’t need him to be the best one in the NBA, but they do need a more consistent shooter.

The answer may not be acquiring another shooter in a trade — which is the internet’s answer to all sports problems ‚— the answer may be Miles adapting and making himself a better one.

This offseason Miles looked at a scouting report of reminded himself of a few of his weaknesses according to the Indianapolis Star’s Nate Taylor.

Miles explained that the first man, an NBA scout, gave him valuable information: The C.J. Miles scouting report. 

That evaluation led Miles in June to contact Bob King, with whom he had never worked before. Miles and King – who is based in Dallas, Miles’ hometown – spent hours in the gym. They created their plan based on what the scouting report said were Miles’ weaknesses last season.

>> Crowd Miles at the 3-point line and force him to dribble.

>> If Miles does dribble, take away his left hand.

>> Above all, be physical with Miles.

For the TL:DR crowd: Run C.J. off the 3-point line and get physical.

Has he applied any of that to his game?

So far he’s taken 10 3-pointers this season, making half of them. That’s a good place to start.

All 10 of his 3-pointers have been on catch and shoot attempts. Not having the ball in your hands for very long is a very easy way to avoid letting the defender get physical with you. He is getting the ball in the middle of the shot clock and wasting no time before letting it go, which has worked out for Miles to make 50% of 3-point attempts this season.

The best sign that the scouting report is committed to Miles’ memory is this 3-pointer from the Pacers loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Miles gets the ball, drives into the paint, and then dishes it off before getting the ball back in the corner. It is the moment he turns the defensive pressure into a positive for himself and his teammates that I start to believe he’s adapting to the scouting report.

Instead of trying to take a contested shot, Miles drives into traffic and finds Kevin Seraphin for a potential assist. Once that option is taken away, the ball is passed around until a now wide-open C.J. can drain it from the corner.

Miles knows defenses will attack him on the 3-point line, so he counterattacks by driving to the basket for what might be his own shot or someone else’s.

Against both the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls we saw C.J. pass up his own shot before finding a teammate for the easy bucket.

We’re only three games in so small sample size warning, but so far he is ready when a defender tries putting pressure on him beyond the arc. Defenders will still want to get physical with him as the Mavericks caused him to lose the ball twice in the season opener once he gave up the shot, but now Miles has a plan to deal with that pressure.

Miles isn’t perfect, but if he’s making the right plays then perhaps he can be more consistent with his 3-point shot as well as from the rest of the floor. Even if an opponent forces him to give up the 3-pointer, Miles can burn them with a drive to the basket. If they start to respect him driving the ball more, then he’ll have more room for those 3-pointers.

The Pacers need a knockdown shooter to spread the floor and if C.J. Miles adjusts his game enough to create more consistency, then they may already have one on the roster.

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