C.J. Miles filled a perfect role for the Toronto Raptors last season.
From a numbers standpoint, you can argue it could have been better. But as the veteran “Bench Dad” on the Raptors’ young Bench Mob, and as the deep threat that tilted the defense and gave Toronto’s marquee players room to operate, Miles was the perfect addition to a quiet 2017 offseason.
The 2018 offseason has been anything but quiet of course. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are on this team now, having been acquired from San Antonio for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl. Both are wing players like Miles, and both are equally capable of replicating Miles’ production on offense—while providing significantly more at the defensive end.
There are also incumbents OG Anunoby and Delon Wright, not to mention the enigma that is Norman Powell, whose contract extension kicks in any minute now.
So yeah—the Raptors are loaded at the wing. Are there enough minutes to go around? Given the defensive abilities of all of the players mentioned above, Miles might be the odd man out. Heck, consider the three-point shooting touch of Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry alongside Leonard and Green (and even Anunoby) and the Raptors might not need a three-point specialist at all.
On the other hand—you can never have too many shooters. Also working in Miles’ favour is that the team’s across-the-board improvement in distance shooting should help open up more room for him. Last season, Miles was consistently picked up deep as teams didn’t want him to go off; as with virtually every NBA player, Miles shot much better the more space he had:
More deep threats around him means more room to shoot. And, hopefully, more looks from the corner:
Meanwhile, Miles’ intangibles, his veteran savvy and mentorship of the young guys, will also be counted on again. (He’s also great with the media, for whatever that’s worth.)
Here’s what it breaks down to: Miles may play fewer minutes this season, but those minutes have the potential to be incredibly productive. And when he’s not playing, he can still excel in his role of Bench Dad. I’m glad he’s part of this team, and I bet his teammates are too.