In John Calipari’s time as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, he has remade the rosters of NBA team with his former Wildcat players.
It is hard to find an NBA team that doe does not have at least one former Wildcat, much less multiple ones. The New Orleans Pelicans have four former Wildcats on their roster and three of them arrived in the league via first-round draft picks and are entrenched in the starting lineup. The fourth one has taken an untraditional path to the NBA in the Calipari era.
It's OK to admit that you do not remember Darius Miller's first stint in the NBA. Drafted 46th in the 2012 draft, Miller played in 102 games in his three seasons, starting ten. He averaged 3.13 points a game and hit 33.5% of his three-point attempts.
It was not a shock when he was cut by the Pelicans just five games into the 2014-15 season.
While the NBA dream appeared over for Darius Miller, he set off for Germany and spent a couple of years abroad, working on honing his skills. When it comes to overseas basketball, Germany was kind of a middle of the road stop as it is considered to be behind the circuits in Spain, Turkey, and Russia.
All of this makes the fact that Miller has not only returned to the NBA, but that he is thriving a pleasant surprise.
With the season close to the halfway point, Miller has emerged as one of the top three-point shooters in the league. As of this writing, he ranks #8 in the NBA hitting 45.7% of his long-range attempts.
That puts him right behind Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield. Miller has proven that he can get hot and carry his team like he did last week when he had five three-pointers and 21 points against Atlanta in a one point win.
Miller is averaging 7.7 points in his second stint in the Big Easy and you can not underestimate the value of a SF that can step up and knock down the long-range jumper.
While Miller is not a threat to unseat E'Twaun Moore as a starter for the Pelicans, he has proved his value in the league and has set himself up for a bigger payday if he can keep knocking down shots at this consistency. He recently earned a spot start, replacing fellow Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis.
As we are in the holiday season, Miller's story is a good reminder of what determination and hard work will do for you. Miller never gave up on his dream and it is great to see him back in the league and producing.
Miller is not an All-Star yet but hopefully, he is recognized in the three-point competition over the NBA All-Star weekend.