Buried in the Indiana Pacers’ Jekyll-and-Hyde season is the standout play from veteran journeyman C.J. Miles.
While Pacers have struggled to find success on the road this year, Miles has surged as a key member of the Pacers revitalized bench. He has reached double-digit scoring in all but two of the Pacers games thus far.
At 29 years of age, Miles sits 12th in the NBA in PER and is in contention for sixth man of the year.
After a swollen knee sidelined him from all but one of the Pacers preseason games, Miles looked destined for a difficult season. Eight games in, he is posting career highs in points, steals, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.
With starting shooting guard Monta Ellis struggling from the field, it could be possible for new head coach Nate McMillan to give Miles the starting job.
Although he is averaging fewer minutes per game this year than he did in his first two seasons with the Pacers, Miles has been featured in the Pacers crunch time lineups.
For Miles, the NBA has been a series of ups and downs. Coming out of high school, Miles decided to forego college basketball to chase the ultimate goal of playing in the NBA. After being picked 34th by the Utah Jazz in 2005, Miles spent his first season playing for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (now the Canton Charge).
Three years in and out of the D-League and eight years being used prominently as a bench player for Utah, Cleveland and Indiana, Miles has found a significant role on a Pacers team that hopes to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
His streaky scoring ability and length allow for the Pacers to fill Paul George’s offensive production when he is on the bench.