The thing is most of those arguments would apply to the other players of those seasons also. Would Mitch Richmond not have benefited from the increased pace and larger focus on outside shooting of today? I mean Richmond shot basically 43% on 6 3 point attempts in 97 while Miller shot basically 43% on 6.5 attempts. Wouldn't all of those increases and improvements based on a modern game also apply to Richmond? Or Tim Hardaway, or John Stockton, or Penny or Jordan or Payton. And whose to say that if Miller actually shot more he would shoot at the same efficiency. Maybe if he had 4 more shots a game (like Richmond) his efficiency would have dropped even more. A lot of times real #1 scorers, especially on bad teams, lose efficiency because they are forced to take a lot bad shots. Miller picked his shots a lot better, which certainly makes him more efficient, but also docks him points as a #1 option.
Hm I think I've articulated exactly that in my posts, but sure I'll summarise what I think regarding this.
plenty of people who've watched those games while living through the 90s, including some people who're actually paid to analyse basketball as solo artists (so they aren't hacks like Stephen A Smith, they actually have to produce quality content to attract people) have raved about how underrated Miller was and how he deserved to be on All-NBA teams.
Got to be careful with revisionist thinking though.
The fans who watched in '97 didn't vote for Miller to be an All-Star
The coaches who coached in '97 didn't vote for Miller to be an All-Star.
The media who covered the game in '97 didn't vote for Miller to be All-NBA.
The coaches and media, who were paid to cover the game at the time, didn't think Miller was worthy. So what has changed since?
It's one thing if you think how we analyze the game has changed, and Miller had some underappreciated moneyball stat that is highly regarded today that was overlooked then, or if there was some media conspiracy against him (or for somebody else) that kept him out. But I'm not seeing those arguments being made.
1. We absolutely have been making massive improvements in analysing players and it's been largely positive imo, player analysis has really gotten spot on for high level analysts.
2. Miller was underappreciated for his time because of the fixation on the raw slash line and FG%. His TS% (especially when relative to the era he played in) was absolutely bonkers and his creation was understated because people had no idea on how to value off ball creation (here's a great video on how off ball movement is really valuable in basketball: https://youtu.be/QUZr26cpR8w).
3. His scoring was also underrated because of the incredibly slow pace of the 90s, adjusting his playoff scoring rates to the modern game would make peak Reggie Miller a 27-28 "PPG" scorer on insanely high efficiency as noted above. What's also overlooked is the on-court aspect of his scoring: besides being highly portable and economical, his scoring game was also incredibly hard to stop because of how difficult it is to guard a person without the ball, which led to his consistently amazing playoff numbers as well as fantastic team playoff offences.
So there you have it: Reggie Miller was the rare high volume + efficiency scorer who didn't need the ball in his hands to be effective (which led to him meshing with almost everyone) and has a very good track record of leading high-end offences when it mattered the most regardless of how good the opposing defences were, but only got three All-NBA nods because people simply didn't analyse players that way at the time.
And I agree that Miller had an excellent TS% (even in the season being discussed at 60.3%, good for 10th that year) because he was such a prolific and quality 3 point shooter. Of course Stockton was 2nd in the league at 65.6% that year so is he not underrated based on that same analysis? This is the problem with trying to use stats to undo what everyone in the world knew at the time i.e. Miller was a very good but not great player. The fans, coaches, and media were not wrong on this one.
Mitch would've had gaudier box stats for sure, but he would've still been the classic All-Star-ish floor raiser who wouldn't crack the top 15 while Miller would've been an offensive force. He chucked a lot of threes when the line was shorter but he never really attempted over 5 threes before and after the change while Miller was consistently amazing from three throughout his prime (pretty much 90-00). The main point of my argument is that Miller would've likely been one of the biggest beneficiaries from playing in the modern era with how tailor-made his game was for maximising efficiency, his foul drawing, three level scoring and off ball movement are all things that are valued much more today than it was back then for very good reasons. As for Stockton, he simply wasn't a good enough scorer: his efficiency plummets whenever he had to carry a heavier offensive load or face stingier defences.
Miller does have a pretty large sample size for bumping up his volume and
efficiency - any Miller three year stretch from 1990-2002 has his box dimensions expanding in the playoffs when defences are stingier and his teams needed him to carry a heavier offensive load. Before you say those are empty numbers, the Miller-led Pacer offences in the postseason were fantastic throughout most of his prime (there were some exceptions, but they were against elite defences and rORTG shows that those Miller-led playoff offences held their ground well). You also misunderstood my adjustment of Miller's box stats: those adjust for pace so it's actually a universal adjustment for players in the 90s when I use it, and yes Miller trumps any non-Jordan/A Hardaway entity you mentioned in that 1997 season box-wise in that regard with some pretty solid team results (positive SRS while being the lead dog of a subpar supporting cast).
There is no problem with using stats to supplement what is observed on the court, the real tragedy and only issue is everyone outside of Pacer fans and a select few analysts getting it wrong in the 90s with crude analytics, poor skillset analysis and no idea of how to apply context to the already awful numbers that they were using. Plenty of eras in the past have massively underrated or overrated players due to flaws in player analysis at the time and the 90s were no exception, heck even mainstream player analysis today has its flaws. Miller was a bonafide #1 option for his Pacer teams and delivered very good results year after year.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 05:29:14 AM by Somebody »
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