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OKC Thunder: Five ways Mike Miller could help Oklahoma City

by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 23, 2013

Free agent forward Mike Miller was in Oklahoma City on Monday to meet with Thunder officials and tour the team's facilities.

It is believed to be the second face-to-face meeting Thunder general manager Sam Presti has had in the past week with Miller, who the team has aggressively pursued since he was waived by Miami under the league's amnesty provision on July 16.

Miller reportedly is being sought after by Houston, Memphis and Denver as well, and the 33-year-old forward is expected to soon settle on a decision.

As a championship contender, the Thunder has been widely believed to be the frontrunner, and Miller reportedly has told those close to him that Oklahoma City is where he would like to sign. But the Grizzlies, who Miller was a member of for 5 1/2 seasons, can't be ruled out, while the Rockets and Nuggets remain enticing for their abilities to offer Miller more playing time.

As he finalizes his decision, we examine five ways Miller could help the Thunder this season.

* Shooting: Miller is a career 40.6 percent 3-point shooter. That's what his specialty is at this stage in his career. He made 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers in the playoffs this year, and went 11 of 18 (61.1 percent) from that range in the NBA Finals. In the wake of the departures of James Harden and Kevin Martin, Miller would slide in as an ideal floor spacer. That means he must be accounted for at all times when he's on the floor, and his mere presence behind the arc would open driving lanes for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Then it's a pick-your-poison proposition. If defenses stay home on Miller, Westbrook and Durant can have their way in the painted area. If they cheat off Miller, he'll make them pay on kick-outs for 3-balls.

* Experience: Miller is entering his 14th season. He's been on teams that have made the playoffs in eight of his 13 seasons. If he joins the Thunder, Miller's 78 total playoff games played would trail only Kendrick Perkins (116) for the most on the current roster. On a team that has gotten much younger this summer, Miller's experience would be a big boost both on the court and in the locker room. It gives Thunder coach Scott Brooks another player he can trust and presumably will eliminate mistakes that younger, more inexperienced players inevitably will make while going through the learning curve.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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