Mike Miller was a major staple in the NBA for about a decade and a half. His resume includes Rookie of the Year, Six Man of the year, and two-time NBA Champion. Many casual fans will probably remember him from his impressive stint with the Miami Heat with former Memphis Grizzlies teammate Shane Battier. He has a career average of 40.7% from 3-point range. In context, that is better than Kyle Korver’s 36.0% and Danny Green’s 37.7%. He was a tremendous player throughout his career that unfortunately had some serious back problems towards the end. Following his retirement, Miller stayed dedicated to the game of basketball and is currently the assistant coach of the 13th ranked Memphis Tigers who are without potential number one overall pick James Wiseman. Mr. Miller joined host JD Sharp in May 2019 to talk about a slew of topics.
Mike Miller reminisced on his time in Miami:
“I learned so much from there, you know, from Pat Reilly and Erik Spoelstra. Just the way they build things and do things”.
This statement really speaks volumes about the program down in Miami and especially coach Erik Spoelstra. Following the departure of Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, he has kept this franchise on a consistent path that was established for success if the roster was properly assembled. I would not blame Spoelstra for the bad contracts given out to Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson, and Kelly Olynyk. Even through those years, he led them to the playoffs on a consistent basis. This year the Heat are 3rd in the East being led by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and rookie sensation Kendrick Nunn. The team this year was definitely influenced by the culture established back in the Lebron James era of Miami.
“Can you talk about the relationship with you and your brother? Is there a possibility maybe later on down the line of you coaching together or having head coaching possibilities you may be taking advantage of”?
Mike Miller’s brother Ryan is four years older than him and is currently the assistant head coach at TCU basketball. TCU is currently 3rd in the Big 12 and has seen steady improvements since he was been there. Most Las Vegas locals will remember Ryan for his time at an assistant at UNLV from 2014-2016 under head coach Dave Rice. Ryan is undoubtably going through the gauntlet of proving yourself as a coach joining better programs as the years go on. I think he has to be careful to not take the first head coaching job offered to him. A bed reputation as a head coach can prevent you from ever getting another chance. Mike Miller, on the other hand, is starting from one of the biggest programs in the country at the moment. I imagine he will get his chance to coach at a more prestigious school than Ryan will in the next few seasons.
This interview made me sad. The Memphis Tigers were able to get a desirable coach in Penny Hardaway and bring in smart basketball minds like Mike Miller in one season. Meanwhile the UNLV Rebels, one of the most revered programs in the nation has not been in the NCAA tournament since losing in the round of 64 in 2013. Many long time Vegas residents remember the buzz around the city for Runnin’ Rebels basketball and how much it meant. Being that Ryan Miller was dismissed from the team with Dave Rice, I don’t see Ryan and Miller combining forces to help change UNLV for the better. It will be interesting to see how long Mike stays with a successful program like Memphis before wanting to leave and take on a head coaching career for himself. I personally think it will be two years.