Top 15 Orlando Magic Rookies
8. Mike Miller
11.9 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.7 APG, 82 games, 62 starts, 29.1 MPG, 40.7% 3FG%
Resilience would be the word to describe Mike Miller’s rookie season. He appeared in all 82 games and started in 62 on his way to the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
He joined an Orlando Magic team that had serious promise leading into his rookie year. The team had just acquired All-Star Grant Hill and a promising prospect in Tracy McGrady.
Before Miller was drafted, he had an excellent run in the NCAA Tournament for the Florida Gators. The Magic wanted to keep the three-point sniper close to home and selected him with the fifth overall pick.
Miller knew what his M.O. was immediately when he stepped onto the NBA floor. Stretch the floor. He shot 40.7 percent from three his rookie year and shot 4.4 threes per game. He could score in bunches as a 20-year-old.
McGrady’s offensive presence helped Miller find open space as teams attempted to guard McGrady as he averaged 26.8 points that season, which was seventh in the NBA.
Miller finished second on the team in threes made, second in three-point percentage, fourth in points per game, and fifth in rebounds per game.
Miller had an excellent frame at 6-foot-8 where he could shoot over the top of defenders and had some of the best shooting mechanics in NBA history.
He had a quick release where he squared his feet with the basket and used his strong frame to gather himself so his momentum carried him forward instead of fading away.
Coach Doc Rivers would run designed plays for Mike Miller as he would run off multiple screens to curl into a mid-range shot or fade the screen for a wide-open three.
This action off the ball for Miller forced the defense to focus their attention away from McGrady as Miller had to be tightly guarded.
Miller was a key contributor that earned the Magic a playoff spot for the first time in 2 seasons.
He started in all four playoff games, averaging 12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 38.9 percent from downtown.
Miller is the third player in Magic history to win the Rookie of the Year Award and coming in at 8th on the list proves how deep this group of rookies is.