Its Miller time.
Reggie Miller's status as a top five shooting guard in NBA history may be coming to an end very soon. So here’s an ode to him.
Many young guns, if they can finish their careers stronger than they started, have an opportunity to supplant Mr. 8 points, 9 seconds. If, and this is big, James Harden can will Houston on a Finals run or Klay Thompson continues to profit from being a member of the Golden State Warriors, Reggie will be off the Mount Rushmore for his position.
Currently, he is arguably the third or fourth best shooting guard in NBA history, and that depends where you rank the likes of Dwayne Wade and Jerry West. All of whom sit behind the GOAT and Anti-GOAT, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. He is firmly planted in front of prolific scorers Clyde Drexler and George Gervin. Neither, though influential to the game, have fathered a movement. Gervin played before the three point shot became available and Drexler was just born to close to MJ, mimicking his athleticism, but not matching his success.
Miller’s skill set would have made him a star in any era, however in today’s NBA he would be capable of being truly unleashed. Ray Allen, Allen Iverson and Bryant did not compete to long in the Jordan rules NBA, mostly stuffing the stat sheet post-elimination of hand checking. The freedom that today’s shooter are awarded was never afforded to Miller. He instead employed bigs to set screens away from the ball as he elegantly glided through them to flex effortless range. This is exactly how the Warriors play today, and has been noticed by many as the major change in play styles from different eras. However, today’s screen and space NBA has shooters spaced everywhere so defensive players cannot focus on one man. Reggie was the only focus of defense on a nightly basis. Miller was able to seek out 18.2 PPG for his 18 year career. Not stellar, but proves that his slender frail body was able to handle a physical beating and consistently perform, that physicality is something Harden or Thompson had to deal with.
Similar to Gervin, Miller does not have any jewelry to boast about, but he played in an era that overlapped Jordan and Bryant. However, Miller was a staple on the Indiana Pacers, opting to stay loyal and grind with his teammates through the years. Countless times, he placed his squad on his back to get a victory.
His ability to wreck a defensive game plan, tenacity and clutch gene make him an elite shooting guard. No matter who your favorite is, he deserves an honorable mention.