For the rest of the month, GBB will be breaking down every Grizzlies player that logged double-digit game appearances for Memphis this season and what their games need moving forward. Welcome to the 2018-2019 Memphis Grizzlies Player Review series!
BY THE NUMBERS
13 Games (0 Started), 40% shooting, 36.4% from three, 104 offensive rating, 112 defensive rating, 10.8 PER, .054 Win Shares per 48 Minutes
SEASON IN REVIEW:
C.J. Miles was acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies on February 7th, 2019, in the trade that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto. While Miles was acquired as a rotation piece for Memphis, his main reason for being included in the trade was to ensure salaries matched to complete the deal. With Avery Bradley also coming over at the deadline, and Chandler Parsons returning, Miles initial role did not seem destined for significant playing time.
However, an unexpected injury to Kyle Anderson opened up minutes, and Miles was an immediate contributor. In his first game with Memphis, Miles scored 13 points in over 20 minutes of play, shooting 6 of 9 from the field in a win over New Orleans. Overall, Miles averaged 22.6 minutes per game. He scored in double digits in 7 games.
The veteran resume of Miles quickly gained the favor of J.B. Bickerstaff. He found himself in several late game lineups, mainly due to his efficient play. Miles only had one game with more than one turnover in Memphis. His main role was as a catch and shoot target on the perimeter. Over 70% of his shots came beyond 16 feet from the hoop, with 62% coming from three. Miles averaged over 36% from beyond the arc, averaging just under 2 per game.
Miles’ most memorable performance in a Memphis uniform unfortunately came in a forgettable night for the Grizzlies as a team. In a 21-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Miles scored 33 points and made 8 three pointers. The effort was historic both for Miles and Memphis. For Miles, it tied his third highest point total and second highest three-point total in a single game in his career. In terms of the Grizzlies, it tied the second highest points total and most three pointers in a single game for a reserve in franchise history.
His performance against Atlanta would be his last significant appearance for the year. After just ten minutes against Washington, Miles left the game. The injury was a stress reaction in his left foot, and Miles was done for the season. Despite the disappointing end to the season, Miles’s production had been a pleasant surprise. He helped fill a long-time need of the Grizzlies with his outside shooting. Furthermore, he was a steady veteran presence that helped the team successfully transition to a more productive style of offensive play.
Miles is one of the few Grizzlies players who will certainly be here next season. On Friday, Miles opted in with his 2019-2020 player option for $8.7M. Coming off the injury and his declining overall level of play, it is very unlikely Miles would have made more on the open market. As a result, he will return to Memphis in a similar role as a reserve and wing depth.
For Miles, a focus in the off-season likely will be attempting to return to the level of play he was performing at as recently as the 2017-2018 season. From 2012-2013 through 2017-2018, Miles produced a PER over 13 for six straight seasons while averaging over 15 minutes per game each year. The two key factors will be his health and a steady role. If Miles can overcome his foot injury, he likely will see the usual 15-20 minutes a night that he as averaged for most of his career.
The Grizzlies also certainly have reason to hope Miles returns to his previous level of play. However, the exact reason itself is still to be determined. Though Miles will almost certainly be on the Grizzlies to start the season next year, like many on the current roster his future also depends on whether Memphis conveys its 2019 first rounder to Boston. If the Grizzlies do not convey, Miles becomes a potential key reserve in an effort to compete next year. If the Grizzlies do convey, Miles could become a valuable trade piece to exchange for a future asset if his play returns to its past level of effectiveness.
Either way, just as he proved this year, C.J. Miles likely will prove to be a better value than most originally thought.
Stats provided by basketball-reference.com.