A sharp shooter
C.J. Miles brings a three-point game to the Toronto Raptors
The NBA’s shift toward threepoint shooting has a big fan in C.J. Miles.
The Toronto Raptors swingman has developed into one of the league’s elite sharp-shooters, and the three-point trend has breathed “new life” into the 30-year-old’s career.
Team president Masai Ujiri officially introduced his newest player, who should be a big offensive boost to a team that struggled in the playoffs against the long bombs of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“We just signed a sniper, so we’re happy,” grinned Ujiri.
The six-foot-six, 225-pound Miles, who reportedly signed a three-year deal worth US$25 million, is coming off a careerbest 41.3 per cent shooting from three-point range last season with Indiana.
That’s slightly better than team leader Kyle Lowry (41.2), and 12th in the league among players who attempted at least 200 threes last season.
“It’s basically given me greater opportunities to be able to play this game, to be able to hone in on that and that to be one of the things to make my niche on a team and allow me to be a greater weapon on a team,” said Miles, who went straight from high school to the NBA.
“It’s been exciting to watch. . . It allows for tempo and scoring and everything fans want to see but it’s also a great weapon to have a basketball team. You’re talking about three possessions being a 10-point run.”
The Raptors were 14th in the league in three-point percentage, and the weakness was particularly glaring against Cleveland in the post-season.
Miles developed his threepoint shot, he said, because of “maturity,” and at the suggestion
of former Cleveland coach Mike Brown.
“You’re always in the gym but I don’t see you really honing in and working on that with it being such a weapon that you have,” Miles said Brown told him. “I accepted that challenge and I’ve taken pride in it over time and I’ve been able to use to my advantage, obviously, and my team’s advantage.”
The Raptors were swept by Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs, and Ujiri talked a couple of days later about the need for a new culture and playing style. The addition of Miles, he said, is a big step in the right direction.
“C.J. is a player who can space the floor a little better for us and make DeMar and Kyle have a little bit of room to operate,” he said.
“We are going to pay attention to the development of our young players. They have to play so I think collectively we will try and do that and the style of play I think will matter.”
Miles’ introduction ends a busy stretch that saw Ujiri ship Carroll to the Nets and Canadian point guard Cory Joseph to Indiana to pave the way for Miles.