Just two years ago, the Boston Celtics were one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, and had an intimidating 3-point shooting tandem in Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Well now, Pierce found himself in Brooklyn, and Allen is helping bring the Miami Heat to a third straight title.
Things have changed in Beantown.
Aside from losing two future Hall of Famers, Boston lost something else when both Paul and Ray left; one of the best deep shooting duos in the league. Since then, Boston has seen their dominance as a shooting squad disperse, ad they finished with the 28th-worst 3-point percentage in the NBA last season (.333). They only took 21.1 3s per game, 18th in the league. With the likes of Jared Sullinger and Kris Humphries being key members of the Celtics’ roster this season, the team transitioned to more of an inside-first team.
Star point guard Rajon Rondo isn’t exactly an efficient deep threat, and neither is their leading scorer Jeff Green. Maybe Brad Stevens want’s to build the team into more of an inside threat team, but a .333 shooting percentage won’t get any team very far, and it needs to be addressed.
That’s where 34-year old Mike Miller comes in.
Miller, who spent the past season with the Memphis Grizzlies, is one of the most efficient deep threats in the entire league. He posted a .459 3-point percentage in 2013-14 (third in the league) and a .481 field goal percentage overall. He only played 20.8 minutes per game, so by no means is he a starting quality player. Having him as one of the first or second options off of the bench, however, is an extremely valuable availability.
He averaged 7.1 points per game, appearing in all 82 games. He’s a tested veteran, helping the Miami Heat into some deep playoff runs, and an underrated veteran to have on a young squad like Boston. He could immediately come in and fill the same role that Ray Allen once did of being the go-to shooter when you desperately needed a 3.
Boston would like to get back to contending as much as anyone else. If you take a look at the two teams in the NBA Finals this year, San Antonio and Miami, one thing sticks out; they both have quality role players that can be serious difference makers. Miami has Ray Allen and Chris Anderson, and San Antonio has Danny Green and Patrick Mills. While having names like LeBron James and Tim Duncan speeds up the process, depth is what helps win championships when it comes down to it. Boston should be looking to build their young team in a similar pattern, without a doubt.
While he’d be signed for his 3-point shooting, his overall field goal percentage would be a huge addition to Boston, who had the 28th-worst in the league. With Miller being 34 years old, this is looking like it could be his last contract. His years are limited, so going to a contending team could be more in the cards for Miller. However, there may not be a team in the league that’s better than Boston at exploiting Miller’s skills where they are desperately needed. His skills will be much sought after in free agency, but Boston has the cap space to throw around a go after Miller if they so choose.
Shawn McFarland covers the Boston Celtics for HoopsHabit.com