One note we kind of glossed over from the Miami Heat’s dramatic comeback win over the Spurs Tuesday — Mike Miller is back.
The three-point specialist missed the start of the season due to a sports hernia but he was back running with the Heat on Tuesday night and went 6-of-6 from three in 15 minutes of play.
He helps the Heat in a lot of ways, starting with depth. Miller also spaces the floor with his shooting, makes good decisions on when to pass and plays better defense than he gets credit for.
But all of that is not the best thing his return brings to the Miami Heat, suggests Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated. Rather, having Miller (with Shane Battier and James Jones) allows Miami to play LeBron James at the four.
The Heat’s offense reached another level last season with James at power forward, scoring a whopping 10 more points per 100 possessions on average than lineups with James at his traditional small forward spot – lineups that scored at an elite level to begin with. Miami’s defense slipped from elite to average with James at power forward, though the results here were all over the map, depending on which four teammates joined LeBron…
This was a powerful weapon for coach Erik Spoelstra, and one he used to great effect against Boston and Philadelphia during the playoffs before personnel issues forced him to pocket it against Chicago and Dallas.
In a discussion last week about the best power forward in the land, it was pretty much agreed by myself and Donny Marshall of CSNNE.com to think of LeBron as a three because when he plays the four he is the best there is at the position.
The NBA is a game of matchups, and a roster that lets Spoelstra move LeBron between the three and the four to get the better matchup makes the Heat that much harder to beat. And if you don’t think they are a tough enough matchup just ask the Spurs.
The Pistons will start Reggie Jackson at point guard, and they signed Ish Smith to provide better backup at the position.
The competition for the third point guard spot is heating up.
With Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum already signed to unguaranteed deals, Detroit is adding undrafted Old Dominion guard Trey Freeman.
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Pistons have just 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. The final spot will very likely go to a point guard.
Brown and McCallum should be favored in the competition, because they’re more NBA-ready. A president/coach, Stan Van Gundy is more prone to covet the player who can step in immediately.
Freeman’s partial guarantee is likely designed to entice him to play in the D-League for a low base salary. The Pistons can waive him in the preseason and then assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, though he’d become an NBA free agent.
Freeman is working to become a better distributor after playing as a go-to scorer in college. A solid mid-range shooter, he must extend his range beyond the arc. It’d also help if he got to the rim more, and it seems he has the bounce to do that.
For an undrafted player, he has nice tools. They’ll probably just need to be refined in the D-League.
But even if that’s the intention, Freeman at least gives himself a chance first of upsetting Brown and McCallum in the race for third point guard.
With 32 wins and missing the playoffs, last season wasn’t exactly what the Knicks hoped for. However, last season also came with hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis.
And there were highlights. Check out the team’s Top 10 plays, courtesy NBA.com.
It starts with some Derrick Williams moments, and ends with a Jose Calderon game winner, but there are moments from players the fans actually like in between.
At this point, there is zero chance Russell Westbrook‘s posts are a coincidence.
First. he posted a video of himself singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want.”
Then came the shoe ad that was another little jab at now Warriors Kevin Durant.
Now comes Westbrook’s return to karaoke posts, this time singing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”
Apparently, Westbrook and Durant are having one rough teenage breakup.
One of the great stories of last season was the return of Paul George to All-Star level form (then to watch him be crucial to the USA winning gold this summer).
It was a great story because vintage Paul George was so great. Watch this throwback video of him blowing by LeBron James and dunking over Chris Andersen from a few years back — this is vicious.
By the way, if you’re not following NBA history on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.