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NBA PM: Timing is Everything for Quincy Miller

If Quincy Miller will make it in the NBA, he’ll need an opportunity, which he has yet to receive.

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Timing is Everything for Quincy Miller

Opportunity is everything in the NBA. No matter how talented a player may be, there are oftentimes 100 other players equally talented – some of whom are starting for championship-caliber teams and others who are toiling away in Europe or China just trying to make ends meet.

In most cases, the difference between these guys really isn’t all that great as far as ability is concerned. What matters most is whether a player actually gets to see the floor or has a skill set that fits well with his certain coach or system.

Former Baylor star Quincy Miller knows this as well as anybody as he works through his second 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings in an attempt to make an NBA roster for the rest of the season, after being cut loose by the Denver Nuggets earlier in the year.

“It’s opportunity,” Miller told Basketball Insiders. “The last 17 games I was starting last year in Denver, and they saw flashes that this kid can really be good, just like in the Summer League. So it’s really just been about me getting an opportunity.”

Miller had been playing out of his mind in the D-League before the call-up, averaging a league-leading 3.7 BPG and 26.3 PPG on 53.3 percent shooting from the field, as well as 7.6 RPG and 1.5 SPG over 14 games for the Reno Bighorns.

But talent has never been an issue for Miller, who coming out of high school was easily a top-10 recruit and pegged as a future top-five lottery pick. All this on a torn ACL, which he endured during his senior year of high school and which ultimately slowed him down a bit in college. This was enough to scare NBA teams away at the 2012 NBA Draft to the point where Miller slipped all the way to the second round and 38th pick overall, despite his talent, pedigree and charisma.

The Nuggets ultimately took the gamble because at some point the kid was just so much better than the rest of the remaining draft pool. However, the fit with the Nuggets was tenuous from the get-go since they really didn’t have a need for someone with Miller’s skill set. That was made clear when they let him go just a couple of seasons later.

“I think they really wanted a veteran in Alonzo Gee and a defensive player,” Miller said. “I don’t think I was the defensive player that they wanted, and I was everything they already had in Wilson [Chandler] and [Danilo] Gallinari – a shooter/finisher.

“They wanted to go in a different direction, which is fine, but I just wish it would’ve been different timing.”

Timing and opportunity really aren’t all that different. Timing is how Jeremy Lin got his breakout gig in New York a couple seasons ago. Timing is what got Donald Sloan a starting job in Indiana and Hassan Whiteside the best minutes of his career in Miami this season.

Timing also forced Miller out of Denver, he claims, because head coach Brian Shaw was under pressure to win immediately rather than develop a talented young player, no matter how much potential he had. The truth is, Miller is probably right.

“At the time, Coach Shaw was on the line because he didn’t get to the playoffs and Coach [George] Karl had been in the last eight years, so I can only understand that he wants to win now,” Miller said. “And that’s fine. I’m not mad at Coach Shaw because I took a lot of things from him and a lot of different things from the organization.”

Now, he gets to apply what he’s learned to his opportunity in Sacramento for which he’s only got a few more days to prove himself worthy of a gig there for the remainder of the season. He hopes to be given the chance to make the same kind of impact that fellow former D-Leaguers Sloan and Whiteside have been able to make this season.

“Right now, they are taking full advantage of their opportunities, and I feel like if I’m able to stay here with the team that we have, I can get an opportunity here,” he said. “That would be a blessing, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t ever get too high or too low; I just stay steady.”

He handled the falling out in Denver maturely, and still looks at it as more of a learning experience than some missed dream that will keep him bitter the rest of his life. Still, he wants to prove that the Nuggets made a big mistake by letting him go.

“I appreciate it all,” Miller said. “But they’ll pay in the future.”

Clippers Sign Jones for Rest of Season

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today they have signed guard Dahntay Jones for the remainder of the season.

Jones, 34, has appeared in nine games for Los Angeles and is averaging 0.4 points, 0.1 rebounds and 0.2 steals in 3.2 minutes. He originally signed with the Clippers on Jan. 14, the first of two consecutive 10-day contracts.

Jones, who was the 16th GATORADE call-up of the 2014-15 season, appeared in 19 games (15 starts) for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League and averaged 14.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 29.2 minutes.

A 10-year NBA veteran who has appeared in 597 career games (157 starts), has averaged 5.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 16.2 minutes with Memphis, Sacramento, Denver, Indiana, Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Jones is the latest example of a veteran player using the D-League to make their NBA comeback, joining Gerald Green, Jamaal Tinsley and Mike James among others.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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