Miller's been an under-rated and unselfish piece for the last four seasons with Kentucky. For other teams in college basketball, Miller would have more than likely been a low number 1/high number 2 type scorer. It is ridiculous that for a college team, Miller was a 6th man, but with their semi-pro type talent, he adjusted to the role well. Miller’s game is built to be solid and should translate at the next level.
While not overwhelmingly athletic, Miller is solid at all aspects. He has an above average vertical, average lateral quickness, and above average straight line speed to go along with good height and wing-span at the small forward position.
At near 6-8, Miller possesses real nice size at the small forward spot (his natural spot). With a solid wing-span, strong hands, and a good build at 235 pounds to go along with above average athleticism, there is no reason as to why Miller cannot be at least an average defender at the next level.
There are no reports of Miller being anything except a solid citizen off the court.
Basketball IQ and want it factor
While nothing amazing in terms of basketball IQ, Miller is above average with decision-making. He does show solid understanding of defensive angles as well as an above average understanding offensively, as he shows versatility in spotting-up, runners/floaters in the lane, pull-up jumpers, or occasional post-up and knowing when to do so depending on which super-team Kentucky was fielding.
Miller sometimes plays a little too tentatively in terms of defense. While he does not shy away from contact, he does have lapses of focus giving up the occasional blow by. At the same time, he showed he cares about winning because he did not whine about being a 6th man as a Senior for a loaded team in which normally he would be the 2nd best player for high major type teams. Miller shows great characteristics of being a role player at the next level.
Skill-wise, Miller is a jack of all trades. Miller is a very nice spot up shooter. While not a primary ball-handler, he has an above average first step,and uses solid ball-handling to get mid-range pull-up, floaters, and runners. When guarded by a smaller defender, he is a good post-up player, but I expect him to do this less against NBA Small-Forwards. He is also a solid passer from anywhere on the court.
Defensively, Miller uses his body pretty well and should be an asset at the next level. At near 6’8, he should be slightly above average for a small-forwards height. With his above average athleticism, average wing-span, and above average understanding of the game, he should have little problem contesting numerous shots and not allowing many small-forwards to post him up. He can also likely defend shooting guards and power forwards in spots as well.
Stating all this, Miller does have a few concerns. He will never be a go-to-guy, but at late first-round/early second, he should be a steal for any team. Offensively, while talented, he sometimes needs to go up stronger, but sometimes it is also an understanding of knowing he is not going to finish all plays at the rim. Defensively, he occasionally shows lapses and gets beat for it.
Overall, Miller does not have the stamina or high basketball IQ of Luol Deng, but he possesses many characteristics to be a great role player and similar characteristics to a Luol or Kawhi Leonard type player. I am excited by Miller’s potential to be a good player at the next level and he will be a great player for a winning-type team.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
Currently, as the roster is constructed, Miller does not have a spot for this roster as we have Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler, and with such a deep draft, we have other pressing needs. However, and this is a big if, I would still be tempted to draft him depending on who is available. I say this because while nothing special, he is a dream type player for Coach Thibs and would fit well with our team.
He is a solid shooter which spaces the floor, a solid defender at the small-forward, semi-versatile in that he can do many things solidly, is experienced, has played for a championship type team, and will be cheap.
While I appreciate everything Deng has contributed to the Bulls, I feel we can get great value for him and meet other pressing needs for our team. Miller will never be as good as Deng, but he is a Luol-Lite type player and I feel can help our team and address other needs.
I would be very tempted to draft Miller and truly feel he is going to play a lot of minutes at the next level and be a good player while doing it. I also feel he was somewhat under-utilized at Kentucky and will be a steal in this draft - pass me some Darius Miller Kool-Aid.