Born: August 24, 1965
Position: Shooting Guard
Indiana Pacers (NBA): 1987-’05
Reggie Miller possessed a career predicated more on longevity than overwhelming dominance. He made a respectable five All-Star Games in his 18-year career. He also garnered a decent three selections to the All-NBA 3rd Team. His career-high in PPG (24.6) came in his third season and on only one other occasion did Miller surpass the 22-point per game plateau. He averaged a mere 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He only grabbed one steal per game.
The early part of his career, 1987-88 through 1991-92, saw his Indiana Pacers muddle around 40 wins a year as he and a quirky mix of Chuck Person and Detlef Schrempf slogged in a powerful Eastern Conference dominated by the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, and Chicago Bulls. However, as those franchises succumbed to age and premature Michael Jordan retirements, Miller’s persistence, and the retooling of the Pacers allowed for a superb second act in Miller’s career.
Reggie’s remarkable consistency allowed for such a retooling. Sure, he never had breathtaking scoring averages, but from 1990 to 2001, he never fell below 18 PPG. That steady scoring did come on breathtaking percentages, however. He routinely led the NBA in free throw percentage, or came very close. That tends to happen when you shoot 88.8% from the line for your career.
Rik Smits, Dale Davis, Antonio Davis, Derrick McKey, Byron Scott, and Mark Jackson highlighted the first Pacers run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1994 and 1995. Each of those series ended in seven games with Indiana on the losing end. Then, after another regrouping, the Pacers enjoyed another run of greatness making the ECF in 1998 and 1999 and, finally, the NBA Finals in 2000 with additions of Jalen Rose, Chris Mullin, and Travis Best. Yet another rejuvenation occurred in 2004 with Jermaine O’Neal, Ron Artest, and Al Harrington leading the way to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.
Reggie Miller was the only link between all these different teams, and all these coaches and players that came through Indiana.
In addition to the remarkable free-throw shooting, his three-point shooting was absolutely prodigious. Bounding off of screens and picks galore, Miller could curl, catch, and shoot faster than just about any player in NBA history. To make matters worse for defenders, Miller had a habit of extending his leg while shooting to catch the opponent and draw a foul. So even if he didn’t knock down the shot, he was going to receive two free throws that he was assuredly going to make.
Miller also chose the best times to unleash torrential scoring when it comes to remembering outstanding performances. 25-point quarters in Madison Square Garden tend to sear memories. As do 8 points in 9 seconds. Or whirling three-point shots that miraculously bank in. And shoving Michael Jordan to break free for a three.
Reggie lived for the stage of the postseason and thanks to his dramatic performances – and his incredible endurance – he carved out a memorable place in basketball history.
3x All-NBA 3rd Team (1995-’96, 1998)
5x All-Star (1990, 1995-’96, 1998, 2000)
Regular Season Career Averages (1389 games):
Playoff Career Averages (144 games):