Every proficient basketball marksman has probably heard the advice of needing to shoot his way out of a slump more than once, but has there been a member of the New Orleans Pelicans in recent memory that has seemingly taken it to heart better than Darius Miller?
Through the first eight games of this season, Miller connected on just two three-pointers out of 15 attempts. Over the last six contests, however, he’s been as hot as a New Orleans summer, knocking down 17 three balls in 29 attempts. For those who prefer percentages, that’s a frigid 13.3% versus a scorching 58.6%.
Forget Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, there’s a new fire and ice combination in town and this lone University of Kentucky alum honed his craft abroad in Germany before making his way back to the Crescent City.
Over the previous five seasons, there have been only three Pelicans who have managed to shoot 50% or better from three-point range for a minimum of six straight games: Jrue Holiday (twice), Anthony Morrow and E’Twaun Moore. (In case you’re wondering, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson managed this streak of hot shooting for just four consecutive games each while wearing a New Orleans uniform.)
After his spectacular showing on Monday inside the Smoothie King Center, Miller joined the exclusive list, but his feat should be considered the most impressive from among the group.
|Jrue Holiday 1/16-1/31/2017||8||269||21||38||55.3%||2.8||5.1||3-5|
|Anthony Morrow 11/1-11/13/2013||7||133||15||23||65.2%||4.1||6.2||3-4|
|Jrue Holiday 12/1-12/16/2015||6||152||14||24||58.3%||3.3||5.7||3-3|
|E'Twaun Moore 12/16-12/26/2016||6||131||10||16||62.5%||2.7||4.4||3-3|
|Darius Miller 11/3/2017-???||6||109||17||29||58.6%||5.6||9.6||5-1|
Not only is Miller looking for his three-point shot more aggressively than any of his predecessors, his team was the only squad able to enjoy a heavy dose of victories to go with the personal achievement. Also, remember the fact that Miller hasn’t even surpassed 1700 NBA minutes in his career yet!
If you’re wondering how the rest of the players in the NBA fared over the same time period, 26 players made more than half of their three-point attempts for a stretch of seven games or more, and just three players accomplished the feat in nine consecutive games.
Following Monday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks, Darius Miller credited teammates for getting him a lot of open shots, but he did note he’s been waiting to have this type of breakthrough performance.
“For a while, for a while,” said Miller amid a lot of chuckles from the media. “But I feel like I’m finally getting into a shooting rhythm. These guys get everybody a lot of open looks so I just have to continue to knock them down.”
In his postgame comments, Miller guessed he had just lived through the best moment of his NBA career. It’s hard to argue anything to the contrary considering Miller single-handedly rescued the Pelicans from an embarrassing defeat by scoring 14 points in the final quarter — which included making four of five crucial three-pointers.
At the start of this month, Miller was statistically the Pelicans worst long range shooter, but in the span of less than several weeks, he is now unquestionably the team’s deadliest marksman. And with Rajon Rondo showing a glimpse of his potential value to the ball club in his return to action on Monday, let’s not forget to pay homage to Kentucky South — they appear fully lodged in the driver’s seat of the Pelicans bus traveling down the road to the 2018 postseason.