Reggie Miller is one of the greatest shooting guards of all time. This, we know. He’s responsible for countless breathtaking moments and must-see classics. But now he is a broadcaster, and he wastes the majority of his breath spewing ill conceived (and often blatantly incorrect) analysis. This, we hate.
To make Thursdays a little more fun I’ve come up with this column. Each week, I will highlight some of Miller’s most egregious errors in this space. I’ve also created a petition to get Miller off TNT that I encourage you to sign. Now, let’s get right into it.
He starts talking about how Denver is the best offensive rebounding team in the league. This is partially correct. They are tied with Memphis in raw offensive rebounds per game, but this doesn’t mean anything. With the pace the Nuggets play at, they throw up a lot more shots and thus have the chance to grab many more offensive rebounds. When you look at offensive rebounding rate aka the percentage of available offensive rebounds a team grabs, Memphis is clearly in front of them. Miller has well documented his hate for advanced stats, but I just don’t see how this isn’t a better way to measure offensive rebounding.
Contradictory analysis begins when he notes that he didn’t think Denver was a good defensive team (For the record: they are a slightly above average defensive team, sitting at 13th in the league), but that it was a pleasant surprise how they were getting after it. Then, in the third quarter, he says Denver is probably the league’s best team at creating offense out of defense, which of course requires them to… well… uh… play good defense! But remember, Denver totally isn’t a good defensive team, at least not according to Miller two quarters earlier. For the record, it’s clear that Denver isn’t the league’s best team at creating offense out of defense. The Clippers are better in points off of turnovers, overall offense, and overall defense. A little bit of research wouldn’t kill you, Reg.
Then, late in the first quarter, he started spewing some nonsense about how Denver was killing the Bulls with points in the paint. At this point, Denver had 31 total points, 12 of those coming in the painted area. That’s 38.7 percent. In an average game this season, the Nuggets score 104.7 points with 56.6 of those coming in the paint — that’s a whopping 54% of their offensive output. So when Miller went on this tirade about how the Bulls had to limit Denver’s points in the paint, Denver was actually scoring in the paint at a lower rate than normal.
The crew then went into talking about the ascent of second-year guard Jimmy Butler and how important he has been to the Bulls (and nobody is denying this). Miller then stated that Butler allowed Coach Tom Thibodeau to put Luol Deng at the four and Butler at the three without the defense suffering. This is simply a factually incorrect statement: when playing this lineup the Bulls’ defense suffers, 4.6 points per 100 possessions worse than Chicago’s normal starting lineup to be precise. That’s about the difference between the best defense in the league (Indiana) and the ninth best (Milwaukee). Now, having the ninth best defense in the league is nothing to scoff at, but to say this switch doesn’t hurt the defense is just plain wrong.
Moving along, Kenneth Faried had a really good game (21 points, 12 rebounds). To say he is a bonafide superstar, though, is stupid. At this point, Faried is conceivably the 14th best power forward in the game, right behind players like Ryan Anderson, Serge Ibaka, and Paul Millsap and in a group that contains Tristan Thompson (putting up really good numbers by the way) and Carlos Boozer. I doubt that even Miller, if he took a moment to consider the matter, would call any of those five players a “bonafide superstar” on national television.
Next, Miller begins to gush his praises for Nate Robinson, calling him “consistent” and lauding his ability to hit big shots. Such traits, according to Miller, have helped this ragtag Bulls team survive through all their injuries. Thing is, Robinson has played 18 games this season in which he’s scored less than 10 points, and 12 games where he’s had more than 20. Additionally, in situations with under five minutes remaining and with a margin of five points or less, Robinson is shooting 9-30 from the field. I’ll just allow those two statistics speak for themselves.
Finally, the crew gets into discussing how successful the Bulls have been this season. The first two names out of Miller’s mouth are Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. The third is Kirk Hinrich, who brings to the table a sub-40 percent chance at making each of the six shots he takes per game.