If anyone with insider could post this it would be appreciated.
If anyone with insider could post this it would be appreciated.
One of the deadliest shooters in the history of the game will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend and, as with all great players, I find myself wondering if there will ever be another one; in this case, another Reggie Miller.
Sure, you could point to old snipers like Rip Hamilton and Michael Redd, but what about the youngsters? Do any of them remind me of Miller?
After scouring the rosters and statistics of the league's 30 players, I came up with one name and one name only. And fortunately for me, that player happens to play for one of Miller's former teammates; in fact, perhaps his closest teammate.
I'm talking about Golden State's second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson, who plays for Miller's former backcourt partner, Mark Jackson.
Not only is Thompson 6-foot-7 like Miller, but he is also one of the top long-range shooters in the league, an absolute marksman from deep.
Their numbers from their rookie seasons are fairly close. Thompson averaged 12.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.7 steals in 24.4 minutes a game last year, while Miller averaged 10 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.6 steals in 22.4 minutes as an Indiana Pacers rookie in 1987-88.
But what's even more eerie is the SCHOENE projection for this upcoming season from Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus. Pelton projects that Thompson will average 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists, while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.
Miller's numbers in his second season? 16 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.1 apg and 40 percent from beyond the arc.
So there you have it: Klay Thompson is the next Reggie Miller. Uhh, not so fast.
Not surprisingly, Jackson, who knows both of their games as well as anyone, is hesitant to compare his second-year guard to a Hall of Famer. So first came a disclaimer: Jackson wants to make it very, very, very clear that he is not putting Thompson in Miller's class.
"I don't think it's fair to compare them other than the fact that they're two great jump shooters," Jackson said in a Wednesday afternoon telephone interview. "I would put them both up there with anybody. They're both as good a shooters as you can find. They've both got great size for shooting guards. But at the end of the day, while Klay is very good and [I think] that he can be great, he's still has to work extremely hard to get to that level.
"I just don't think it's fair to compare them now. One guy has had great moments with great teams, and another guy is working hard and looking forward to doing great things. I hope it will be fair one day to compare them."
Despite his hesitancy, Jackson admitted that of all the young players in the league, Thompson is the one whose game is most similar to Miller's.
"If you were going to say 'Who is Reggie-like?'" Jackson said, "it's got to be Klay. I do see some similarities. I don't think that can be debated. They're two of the all-time great shooters. Even now, Klay is in that class. Like Reggie, he has that gift. They have similar bodies and both guys are strong."
What Thompson has to improve
For Thompson to be even more like Miller, Jackson said he needs to adopt Miller's mentality on the defensive end of the floor, where he says Miller was underrated.
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
If anyone knows Miller it's his old teammate Mark Jackson.
"Reggie took tremendous pride in the defensive end, and I'm trying to get Klay to focus on that end as well," said Jackson, who played six seasons alongside Miller in Indiana. "At that position, you're going against a weapon every night and the challenge is not just to score 16-20 points, but to anchor the defense as well.
"Reggie didn't just want to score 30 points. He wanted to shut his man down too. I sat beside him plenty of times on the bus on nights when he had scored 35 points and may have given up 25 points. I played with a lot of guys who would be excited and consider that a victory, that they had proved their point. But he'd be upset that, to use his words, 'I let that bum get 25 on me.' That was his whole mentality."
Jackson is also trying to teach Thompson the finer points of running off screens, something at which Miller was a master. He recently had Chris Mullin, another sharp-shooting Hall of Famer who once played with Jackson, work with the Warriors' perimeter players on the art of coming off screens.
"There's a difference in being good, very good and great at coming off screens," he said. "Klay is good at it, but he can get to another level. Reggie was always great at it. It's a gift. You can work at it, but you have to be committed to working that hard to get a shot. To me [as a player], it wasn't worth it to do all that running just to get an open jumper. But guys like Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen, Michael Redd -- they all watched Reggie, learned from him and attempted to master it. Also, more and more, teams are going to put their best players on Klay. Like the Lakers put Ron Artest on Klay so he can try to beat him up and get physical with him. Klay has to learn how to handle whatever type of defender they put on him.
"Reggie was great at that. He was stronger than people thought. He had like a Tommy-Hearns type of strength, where he looked wiry and thin but every part of his body was muscle. You couldn't grab him and tie him up because he was too slick. He had an answer for whatever the defense did."
Trash-talker or not?
Of course, one huge difference between Miller and Thompson is Miller's legendary mouth. While Miller was a trash-talker extraordinaire, Thompson is a quiet sort.
"Reggie had an edge to him," Jackson laughed. "He was very confident in himself and he made sure everybody on the floor knew how confident he was. Klay plays with a quiet confidence. But he does believe he's the best player on the court. If you didn't know him you'd never know that, but he really believes that. I knew it right away, when I first watched him walk in the gym, at practice, and the way he played in our first game.
"One difference, though, is that Klay might sit on the side and let a play or two or a missed shot bother him. Reggie couldn't care less. His mentality was to let it go and move on to the next one. Klay's going to get there, but it's a process."
Twenty-four years ago, if someone had compared a young Reggie Miller to an all-time great Hall of Fame shooter, Miller's coach at the time, ESPN's own Dr. Jack Ramsay, might have discouraged it, just as Jackson did.
But that still would not have made the comparison any less legitimate.
*joke* And here I thought they were going to say Danny Granger... *end of joke*
In all seriousness if ever thought of somebody that is going to be "the next Reggie" I think Stephen Curry qualifies too.
Nothing in life worth having comes easy.
Thompson is very talented and could be a great shooter if he keeps improving
Reggie's greatest part of his greatness is the clutch shooting in the playoffs at the end of games. I don't think anyone compares to that, or ever will. Bird may be the closest.
The mold that Reggie was formed from was broken after he arose from the residue of the Big Bang. Just like Dale Davis, there can never be another "Reggie". There can only be one.
Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.
I don't get how so many writers and bloggers talk about the next Reggie and only mention stats. No no no no NO! Stat wise, Reggie was pretty average actually. There have been a LOT of players who put up stat lines that are exactly the same as Reggie's. Where Reggie made his name was the situations he scored his points in. He absolutely LIVED for the end of a close playoff game. There's a reason all the fans in this picture have their hands on their heads. If you gave me one shot to win it all, and said I only get to choose one player, it's Reggie. Forget Kobe, Jordan, Jerry West. If it's one shot at the end of a game to win it all, I'll take Reggie every time no matter what.
Last edited by travmil; 09-07-2012 at 08:33 PM.