Posted by: David J. Smith on August 6th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
There have been several Utah Jazz players over the years that have served as interesting lightning rods, attracting a lot of passionate reactions from fans. Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Greg Ostertag, Chris Morris, and even Jarron Collins are among these.
Add to that list, former Utah Jazz swingman C.J. Miles, who late last week agreed to a multi-year contract with Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Count me as one who is rooting for CJ to succeed in Cleveland. I genuinely think this is the perfect situation for Miles. It is a young, up-and-coming squad led by an already elite point guard in Kyrie Irving, as well as other young cogs like Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, and Omri Casspi. Even at a young 24-years old, CJ can help that team thanks to his experience. They could use some scoring punch from the wing position and Miles can offer that. I also think Scott is an excellent coach for him. His game can grow due to the more featured role in Cleveland.
Back to Jazz fans’ perceptions of Miles. First, were there times I was frustrated by his play? Absolutely. And I’ve mentioned it a few times in UJ360 blog posts in the past. The biggest issue for me was consistency. He could be stellar–and I mean absolutely stellar–one night, but then quite subpar the next. The yo-yo of his performances was sometimes maddening. He could also fall too in love with his jump shot, even when his slashing ability to get to the basket was perhaps his best offensive tool.
But does he deserve the vitriol that he has received during much of his seven-year tenure in Utah? I feel much of it was unwarranted. It is easy to forget that CJ Miles was a 17-year old second-round pick out of high school, a fact that I need to remind myself of, to this day. It would be different had he been selected in the first-round or had we drafted him with lofty expectations. With this context in mind, CJ probably exceeded any expectations a second-round player could and should have. Really, how many players like him last as long as he did with his first team?
He did get a nice offer sheet several years back from the Oklahoma City Thunder, one Larry H. Miller and Kevin O’Connor matched. I thought that was a wise move, for when you compare his salary with other swingmen and their statistical results, Miles’ salary was right in line. While his production may have been, for the most part, mediocre, for the money expended, he was comparable with like contemporaries.
Please indulge me with a few CJ memories and highlights:
- CJ was a key member of some of the Jazz’s most successful teams. He was a contributor on those Deron Williams/Mehmet Okur/Carlos Boozer squads that made some nice postseason runs.
- His defense against Carmelo Anthony in 2010 was a big factor in the upset victory over the Denver Nuggets in the first round. Anthony still got his numbers, but they proved to be empty stats. CJ was willing to work hard, bodying up against Anthony in tandem with Wesley Matthews.
- His athleticism and ability to run the court were underrated. Jeremy Evans’ dunking ability is rightfully lauded, but CJ was no slouch in this department as well.
- CJ’s 40-point outing in 2011 was one of the finest offensive efforts I’ve witnessed first-hand. He connected on 14 of 18 from the field, including 6 of 7 from downtown. It really was electric.
- Likewise, I always enjoyed watching his step up in games versus our division rivals in Portland. (consider me shocked that the Blazers did not make their annual offer to a Jazz free agent)
- Off the court, CJ was always earnest and sincere in his interviews. He did sometimes wear his emotions on his sleeves during some shooting slumps, but his willingness to interact with fans on Twitter was always appreciated.
There were certainly ups and downs during Miles’ time in a Jazz uniform, but he did a lot for us over seven seasons. And for that, I wish you all the luck in the world, CJ. Here’s to your success with the Cavs.
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