New Orleans Pelicans small forward Darius Miller is often praised for his unselfishness and team-first mindset, traits that endear him to basketball coaches everywhere. As a senior at the University of Kentucky, he willingly accepted a move to a sixth-man role, helping set the stage for the Wildcats’ 2011-12 NCAA championship run. In 2012-13, he may have become the first rookie in NBA history to go an entire season without forcing up a single bad shot.
As Miller prepares for his second pro season, however, the Pelicans are asking the 23-year-old to adopt a bit more of a me-first approach. In one statistic from Miller’s rookie campaign that at first glance looks like a misprint, he attempted only eight foul shots in 694 minutes of playing time. By comparison, teammate Lance Thomas made 59 trips to the charity stripe in 646 minutes.
“Yes, we’ve talked about it,” Miller said of his lack of aggressiveness on offense. “There were times last season I had opportunities that I really didn’t take advantage of. The coaches talked to me. Obviously, you don’t want to be selfish or anything like that, but I need to be in more of an attack mode at times.”