There’s been a lot of chatter around the league that the Phoenix Suns might trade up in this NBA Draft, which they currently only hold one incredibly late pick in at #52. Whether they do or they don’t move up, one option to consider is TCU point guard Mike Miles Jr., who finished his junior season as one of the best true point guards in college basketball.
Just about as small as I’m willing to go on prospects, Miles measured in at the combine at 6-foot-0.75 (without shoes, which add an inch or two), weighing 205.0 pounds, and a 6-0.5 wingspan.
The veteran point guard runs pick-and-roll on nearly 30% of his possessions and was among the best in college basketball at it, yielding 0.86 points per shot (72nd percentile). Doesn’t shoot the three-ball well out of P&R, making just four out of 18 attempts (22.2%), but is solid on twos, shooting 39-79 (49.4%).
One of the bigger problems with his deep pull-up shooting is that they tend to be in last resort, “nothing else is working, gotta make something out of nothing” scenarios. They don’t feel purposeful to me, so a clunky pre-shot turns into a clunky shot oftentimes.
When he’s able to find his deep attempts in rhythm and in the flow of the offense, like walking into the deep one here, he’s more successful.
Though he’s most familiar with running the show, Miles is elite off-ball, excelling in areas like spot ups, cuts, and off screen. He shot 26-61 (42.6%) on spot up threes (30-72 or 41.7% on all catch-and-shoot threes), helping him achieve 1.21 PPS (93rd percentile) in that area. While cuts and off-screens are much less frequent (less than 30 combined possessions), he’s at least 90th percentile in both, shooting 16-20 (80.0%) on twos.
As the head of TCU’s hydra, Miles pushes pace but stays in control, only takes calculated risks. Will make your defense pay in transition – even after makes – if you don’t run back. He led TCU to 17.46 fast break points per game to lead the nation (closest behind was Cornell at 15.93).
Out of 124 drives as a junior, only about 10 included ill-advised decisions. Has incredible touch around the rim, finished on 84 of those 124 attempts (67.7%). Overwhelmingly favors driving left (73.3% of his drives) and is much more efficient there, shooting 53.3% going left and 33.3% going straight or right.
Miles makes up for his size – or lack thereof – with incredible toughness. His free throw rate over the years has steadily climbed from .262 to .330 to .538 over his three seasons while most other usage stats stayed the same, or grew more incrementally. As a career 76.7% free-throw shooter, he’s able to capitalize on those moments.
This brings us to the second half Miles had in an early-Big 12 season and top-20 matchup against Baylor. Down double-digits at the break, Miles willed TCU back into it and eventually over the top, winning on a late jumper set up by him.
He spent much of the half aggressive in transition, feasting on lazy defense and continuing to get whatever he wanted even after the defense woke up, forcing them to resort to fouling him on the break. Overall, it was a 21-point, two-assist dominant half that I consider to be one of the best halves from any prospect this cycle.
His competitive nature translates to a willingness to step in for tough plays like taking a clutch charge even after getting banged up earlier in that ASU game or meeting the full-foot-taller Warren Washington at the rim for a block:
The most succinct way I can tell Suns fans about the ceiling of Miles is to liken it to a less reckless Cam Payne; think his starter-level play on a consistent basis. In 28 starts as a Sun, Payne averages 14.7 points (41.7-37.9-78.3 shooting splits), 3.4 rebounds, and 7.9 assists (2.2 turnovers), and 1.0 steals per game. Picture that when you picture Miles.