Mike Miles Jr returns to college basketball as the youngest junior in the country, according to my information I have on file. When NBA teams look at draft stock, it is hard not to see age as a key part of the equation. Because of that, combined with my overall high ranking of Mike Miles on my board, I project Mike Miles to have quite a few NBA scouts on hand at every single game he plays, both in Fort Worth and on the road. The TCU guard was recently named the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, placing high expectations on his junior season.
What makes Mike Miles worth investing in?
Cerebral point guards with almost no holes related to skill & athleticism are few and far between in college basketball. His ability to see the floor well, set up open teammates, handle pressure & double teams, and run NBA sets at a high level as a playmaker are advanced for his age. He also has mastered the Luka Doncic bailout of a double team pass (shown below).
Beyond playmaking, his jump shot, while lacking in terms of success and efficiency in his first two seasons, have great mechanics, promising flashes, and statistical projection that says the 3P% will eventually catch up to the peripherals. One defense I give Mike Miles with his efficiency is that being the first option both as a scorer and playmaker in his role makes his 3P% the first stat to be sacrificed to help the team play to its best. Not only as a junior do I project his numbers to go up as he plays off-ball more, but the importance of him being able to come off screens as a shooter will create more damage for the TCU offense. In the NBA, he won’t share this usage rate he has now, which will allow him to develop his jumper more reliably.
Miles shot 39% on catch & shoot jumpers from 3 as a freshman, then dipped down to 26% as a sophomore. Returning to ~35% on the same volume as last year will increase his stock in being able to play both guard slots offensively. On top of that, the shooting threat off-ball should allow for him to collapse defenses off of fakes and find open teammates. Regardless, his off-ball shooting creates more scoring opportunities for everyone all the way around.
But what about the size?
Mike Miles is only 6’1, and he doesn’t have long arms (stop me if you’ve heard similar things about another TCU star that has been hyped up on this site). His best physical comparison is Jalen Brunson, but the advantage for Mike is in his explosiveness towards the rim, and that applies on both ends:
Miles has a similar handle to Brunson, being deceptive in both accelerating and decelerating. Change of speed is important for guards, especially being undersized with less margin for error. With a tremendous basketball IQ, which plays into using his athleticism on the defensive end in rotating, the flashes make it easy to see how he won’t be a hole on defense despite his size. While he won’t be protecting the rim in the NBA like the play above, the standout feature is not literal: he can see the game at a high level, and this will result in more winning plays more often.
Mike Miles has very few holes in his game beyond missing efficiency through his first two years and his size for the position. He can handle the ball and finish with both hands, make quick & advanced reads on the fly, he has shooting skill, and sees the play before it happens better than his peers.
Will NBA teams learn from letting Jalen Brunson fall to the second round over 4 years ago? If Mike Miles makes the jump and this ages well enough that all of this comes into fruition, this will be a great litmus test. Jalen Brunson was 21, about one month away from turning 22, on draft night. Mike Miles will be 20, two months away from turning 21, on draft night. With similar physicals and overall scouting profiles, Miles could be the best kept draft secret in college basketball.