It was barely over a year ago that many believed his career was over at the age of 32. Having just helped the Miami Heat to their second consecutive NBA championship, the injuries appeared to be too much for Mike Miller to the point that it was painful to watch him run. The retirement questions were surfacing well before Miami opted to use the amnesty clause on Miller to remove the two years and $7.6 million remaining on his contract.
His three seasons in Miami saw him play in only 60.4 percent of the Heat’s regular season games, and that culminated with a career low 15.6 minutes per game in 2012-2013, which was almost entirely caused by injuries. Here’s what Yahoo! had to say shortly before Miami placed him on waivers:
Miller missed 91 of 230 possible regular season games over his three seasons, suffering injuries to his right thumb, left knee, left ankle and right eye, sustaining multiple blows to the head, needing surgeries to repair his right shoulder and a sports hernia, and struggling with a back injury that severely hobbled him late in the 2012 season. (And that’s just the stuff we knew about.)
Then everything changed. Miller cleared amnesty waivers and agreed to a one-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, and for the first time since his rookie year, Miller played a full 82-game schedule…almost as many as his previous two seasons combined.
Although his stats were very similar (or worse) on a per 36 minute basis, it is his shooting percentages that are most important when it comes to his signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers (a two-year, $5.5 million deal). Miller hit 45.9 percent of his 233 attempts from long range, where only one player in the league finished with a higher percentage while taking at least as many attempts (Kyle Korver, 47.2 percent on 392 attempts).
He was particularly adept at the corner three where he shot 50 percent, and shot 45.9 percent on catch-and-shoot three-point attempts (2.7 per game). Assuming he has another healthy season, Miller is bound to see more open shots than he did playing in Memphis, which is a serious need for Cleveland, who attempted just 14.5 catch-and-shoot three-pointers per game last season (sixth worst in the league).
It is entirely possible that Miller will return to his health that caused so many in the league to wonder if his career was over; but if healthy, Mike Miller could be a dynamic shooter off Cleveland’s bench.