Last year, around November, I was writing a persuasive essay about why Reggie Miller should be in the NBA's 50th Greatest Players list. I promised to put it up when I got my grade on it and had it returned. Welp, here it is. I got an A on the paper as well. I finished this on the 9th of November. A lot of the stats aren't updated.
The NBA’s Top 50 Greatest Players of All-Time List must drop one of the existing players to make way for another player who deserves to be there. Reggie Miller may never have been a top-ten player throughout his career, but his contributions to the game, individual career statistics, and performance are impressive enough to easily put him on the list.
Reggie Miller, a five-time All-Star (1990, ‘95, ‘96, ‘98, and 2000) was drafted as the 11th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers in 1987. Since then he has been named to the All-NBA Third team three times in 1994-95, 1995-96, and 1997-98. He was named to the 1987-88 NBA All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 10.0 points per game and 2.3 rebounds per game during the regular season. (“NBA.com: Reggie Miller Bio”)
The main statistic about Reggie Miller that should be considered with high appreciation is how many games he has played with the Pacers. Only other two players, Utah’s Stockton and Malone, have played more games with the same team (“NBA.com: Reggie Miller Bio”). Reggie has played 1,323 games in his career. That puts him 7th on the NBA’s All-Time list of games played (“NBA.com”). Until recently, out of 18 years of playing NBA basketball, Reggie has only missed 31 games due to injury. Every single NBA minute that he has played was in a Pacers uniform. Altogether he has recorded 45,514 minutes, putting him 8th in most minutes ever played (“NBA.com”). In 1993,
Reggie became the Pacers’ All-Time leading scorer. In 1995, he was the first Pacer to start in an NBA All-Star game. Furthermore, he is 2nd in all-time Pacers assists’ behind Vern Fleming (“NBA.com: Reggie Miller Bio”).
Reggie’s three-point shooting is what defined his career. Larry Brown, former Pacer coach and now Detroit Pistons’ coach, said, “…He’s the best I’ve ever seen. No matter how many times he shoots or his field goal percentage, he never stops working. … You let up on him one time and he kills you. That’s why he’s so special. Amid all the change (with the Pacers’ franchise) he’s been the one constant. … On the court he stretches your defense."(“Pacers: Quotes: Pacers-Pistons G1”) Miller has hit more three-pointers in his career than any other player. His record setting 2,464 three-point shots made has put him 1st in that category (“NBA.com”). For fifteen consecutive seasons, Reggie surpassed 100 three-pointers made, another NBA record (“NBA.com: Reggie Miller Bio”). His three-point percentage is .398, 24th best of all time (“NBA.com”). The 3-pt FG was not introduced into the NBA until the 1980 season. In the first few years, no team really shot many. Miller entered the league in 1988, and by 1998, he was the all time leader. Now, he’s putting serious distance between himself and all others (“Pacers: New Book Ranks Reggie Among NBA’s 50 Greatest”).
Another achievement is being 14th on the all-time scorers’ list, surpassing the famous Charles Barkley. Reggie has scored 24,305 points in his career; 526 points away from the 13th position. He also has a career average of 18.4 points (“NBA.com: Reggie Miller Bio”). Miller averaged at least 18 points per game in 12 different seasons. There are only five other players to have accomplished this feat: Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Karl Malone, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone (“Pacers: New Book Ranks Reggie Among NBA’s 50 Greatest”). Miller led the league in free-throw percentage in 1998-99 and 2000-01(“NBA.com: Reggie Miller Bio”). He has the 6th best percentage of All-time with a remarkable .889 percent. He has attempted 6,758 free-throws and hit 5,987 (“NBA.com”). Those numbers are the highest on that list.
The main reason Reggie Miller should be included on the list is because of his playoff performances. Reggie is known for throwing a dagger into many players’ and fans’ hearts with late three-pointers. His playoff career point average is 21.2 points per game Miller has raised his scoring average from the season to the playoffs. He just recently passed Bill Russell for the 22nd spot on the Playoff’s All-time scoring list. (“NBA.com: Reggie Miller Bio”) Reggie Miller earned his nickname, “Mr. Clutch,” after repeated clutch performances. Mark Jackson, former point guard for the Indiana Pacers, said, “If I was red-hot and Reggie’s ice cold, I’d still rather have him take the shot.” (“Reggie Misc. Info”) When there are clips of greatest playoff moments, you will always find two or three with Reggie Miller on center stage. There are many examples of Reggie’s awesome ability to take over games in the final minutes, but consider the following two examples.
In 1994, during the 5th game of the Eastern Conference Finals at New York, the Pacers were down 70-58 heading into the fourth quarter. Miller seized the stage at Madison Square Garden with his breathtaking display of long-range shooting in the fourth quarter. Making 5-of-5 three pointers, he scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead Indiana to a 93-86 win. (“Reggie Misc. Info”)
In the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Reggie Miller delivered another astonishing playoff performance. In the final minutes of Game 1at New York, the Pacers found themselves trailing at 105-99. With twenty seconds remaining, Miller flew into a rage with a jaw-dropping scoring spell: he nailed a three-pointer, stole the following inbounds pass and immediately stepped back to bury another three. All of a sudden, the game was tied. After hitting two decisive foul shots with 7.5 seconds left, the Pacers claimed a miraculous 107-105 win. But even more impressive was the fact that Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds. (“Reggie Misc. Info”)
Many of Reggie’s accomplishments become even greater as he continues to play throughout the 2004-05 season. At age 38, players don’t forget who Reggie Miller is. He is feared and respected for his abilities and his desire to do his best. He is always on the opponents’ defensive game report. Miller never dominated a season or era like most of the others on the list. But you must find a place for one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. This future Hall of Famer deserves to be in the Top 50 Greatest Players of All-Time List because of how he has impacted the game of basketball for generations present and the future.