August 30, 2019, 2:10 am
It has been announced that Darius Miller ruptured his right Achilles, meaning that he is likely out for the entire NBA season. Miller had a brief hiatus from the NBA after his first stint with New Orleans, but has spent his entire NBA career playing for the Pelicans. This offseason, he signed to a two-year deal with the second year non-guaranteed.
The structure of the contract seemed to indicate a few things, namely that they wanted to reward a dutiful player with money they didn’t need to spend elsewhere. Miller is a decent NBA rotation player, knows the system, and isn’t going to complain if his playing time fluctuates. But it also was likely set up with non-guaranteed money in order to have salary to aggregate for a future trade. So all parties won — Miller got more than he would’ve gotten on the open market, and at worst, the Pelicans were going to pay him to be a rotation piece and good example for a year.
The injury has clear ramifications for the Pelicans, as Miller is no longer a trade piece that offers anything this season on the court. My guess is that the Pelicans are still hoping to aggregate salary for a top-tier player in the next season or two and that Miller would have spent a lot of the season playing the four. There is a big of a logjam at the perimeter positions if no one else gets hurt and Miller was one of the natural candidates to slide up a position to open up minutes. In my mind, there are two players who will fight for the minutes that Miller would’ve occupied: Nicolo Melli and Kenrich Williams.
For my part, Miller as always one of my favorite players here. Once he overcame the fluctuations in his shooting confidence, he was someone you could depend upon for 3 point shooting at a solid volume/conversion rate. He was a decent passer and, by all appearances, a pretty great human being. Achilles injuries are pretty nasty, and I think I can comfortably say that Pelicans fans will be rooting for Miller no matter where he winds up long-term.