Reggie Miller was an outstanding player at UCLA in the mid-1980s, and he had a Hall of Fame career in the NBA. Needless to say, he knows and loves basketball – at both levels.
But when it comes to the college game, there’s one thing he’d like to tweak.
“I’ve been on the fence with this for awhile, (but) the one-and-done,” Miller said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I understand it’s been a problem – guys just coming in one year and trying to go to the next level. It’d be nice if they stayed two or three years to get that continuity with the university. Fans could kind of jump on board and follow the universities a little bit more. But on the flipside, we don’t know where these kids come from and what their economic status is and what they need. So I understand their plight. But as a basketball fan, I just think it would help out the game if guys stayed two, three years and kind of found a balance to do that.”
Miller, a TNT analyst, calls both NBA games and college games.
“I love them both,” he said. “Here’s the thing: In the NBA, we deal with the best-of-seven series. So normally, cream will always rise to the top. You know what team is usually going to win in a best-of-seven series. When you get to March Madness, as good as Kentucky is – you got Kentucky or you got the field. I’m taking Kentucky. You can have the field. That’s how good I think they are. But having said all that, if someone rolls an ankle, (if a team has) a bad shooting night, anything is possible in a one-game situation, especially when you’re playing at neutral sites. That’s why you kind of love the Cinderella story. That’s what March Madness is all about. That’s why we love it. That’s why I love it.”
Moving to the NBA, Miller discussed the Cavaliers’ chances of winning an NBA title in LeBron James’ first year back in Cleveland. The Cavaliers (41-25) started the season 19-20 but have since gone 22-5 and are the 2-seed in the East – albeit 10 games behind Atlanta (50-14).
Can the Cavs win it all this season?
“They have the best player on the planet in LeBron,” Miller said. “But again, it’ll be very difficult because a lot of people are not talking about Atlanta, who has the best record in the Eastern Conference right now. They don’t have one true superstar; they have about five guys that are pretty good, but their pretty good makes that superstar because of the way they’re able to move the ball. And they’re well-coached. But to me, with Chicago, it depends on the health of Jimmy Butler and if Derrick Rose even comes back this year because of the knee injury.
“But having said all that, I’m sure it’d be special for LeBron to get to the Eastern Conference Finals and possibly make it to the next step, the NBA Finals. But those teams out West – there’s about eight teams right now that are better than Cleveland. So it’s the Western Conference, and there’s the rest of the guys over in the East.”
As for the MVP race, Miller said most of his fellow analysts like James Harden, who is averaging 27.0 points, 7.1 assists and 1.9 steals for Houston (43-21). Miller, however, prefers Stephen Curry, who is averaging 23.6 points, 7.8 assists and 2.1 steals for Golden State (51-12), which has the best record in basketball and has been atop the Western Conference virtually all season.
“I like Steph Curry just because you have to factor in team success,” Miller said. “So I’m going with Steph Curry, James Harden, then Russell Westbrook – in that order. Then LeBron.”