WASHINGTON — Malcolm Miller may not be a familiar name to most Raptors’ fans but that may change soon.
Miller has played more than the seven minutes he got Friday in a Raptors’ win over Washington in a Raptors’ game before, but never has he played any minutes beyond the garbage minutes in an NBA game that was already decided.
That all seven minutes of his run came in the second quarter of a game that was a long way from being decided was huge for the undrafted young man out of Holy Cross.
Offensively Miller contributed a lone three-pointer which may not sound big but on a night when CJ Miles was the only member of the team who as Dwane Casey pointed out “was the only one who could buy one” it stood out.
Also standing out was his defence, which is never lost on a man who appreciates good defence as much as Casey.
“I liked him,” Casey said. “I tell you what, he is a basketball player. We got to keep looking at him because he can make shots, he’s smart and he’s long. We were afraid tonight if we started him on Bradley Beal it would be a little bit too much of a challenge but the young man played well.
He’s smart and he picks up things quick. He knows how to space and play without the ball and at the end of the day he can make shots so he gained some confidence from his coaching staff and his teammates.”
Miller already has a reputation as a solid defender in the G-League and Casey believes he can bring that to the NBA.
“He can be with his length,” Casey said when asked if Miller can be an NBA defender. “He knows how to play. He’s 25 and he has played overseas so he has seen everything. Nothing is going to overwhelm him on that end.”
Norm Powell got first crack at the minutes made available with the injury to OG Anunoby. In 16 minutes he did not score but did a solid job keeping Beal in check when he was on him.
Casey said before Friday’s game that how the Raptors fill those minutes will change from game to game and even half to half. Don’t be surprised if Miller starts pulling down some of those minutes on a semi-regular basis.
Miller just wants to contribute.
““It’s really just whatever they give me,” Miller said. “I’m going to make the most of. That’s really just how I am. If I am on the bench cheering then that is my opportunity to be a good teammate. If I’m on the floor making plays then that’s my opportunity. I’m just trying to see whatever way I can make a positive impact.”
JUST WATCH HIM
Dwane Casey is looking for the rule book.
The one that says teams must shorten their rotation when they get into the playoffs.
Blessed with a bench that has extended his rotation to a full 10, Casey sounds very much like a man who has no intention of changing that once the playoffs come around.
“We’ll find out,” he replied when asked if he could go with his 10-man rotation in the playoffs. “The goal is to find out. Why not? What is our record right now? Why change just because some rule book somewhere – if you find it please send it to me – because I have been on some teams where you keep the same rotation and somebody somewhere in the back room says in the playoffs you have to shorten your rotation. We have to find out unless this group proves us wrong.”
FOR THE RAPTORS-GET-NO-RESPECT CROWD
Plenty of praise from the Washington Wizards following Friday’s win for the Raptors. Washington head coach Scott Brooks had this to say about the Raptors. “Seems like every night somebody steps up. The big fella (Fred) VanVleet, (Pascal) Siakam, (CJ) Miles tonight with 20 points. We couldn’t make a three off our bench and they made eight so I think that’s the difference.”
Bradley Beal has this to say about the Raps’ bench mob.
“They got a lot better. I think the last time we played them they had a few guys out. I think VanVleet was out and CJ didn’t play either. As of late they’ve been one of the hottest teams if not the hottest team in the league.”
QUICK HITS: Powell did not have the best return to the starting lineup looking tentative at times to shoot but it won’t be his only chance. This team knows it’s going to need Powell at some point this year. For a guy who hasn’t been in the league three full years yet he has already built a nice playoff reputation … Casey has been on CJ Miles to be more involved defensively when he is on the floor and Miles clearly took that heart on Friday in Washington. Miles was engaged on the defensive end so much he piled up a season-high tying four fouls and while he wasn’t thrilled with the calls particularly it did point to a more aggressive and determined approach at that end of the floor. Miles said defence is what is going to keep him on the floor and it’s up to him to take it to another level.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies