Though he was neither overwhelming productive nor efficient, Rutgers small forward Dane Miller nonetheless emerged as an intriguing prospect. Miller displayed tantalizing versatility throughout his freshman campaign, but he rarely performed to his potential.
Though his skill set is rough at this point, Miller is a special player from a physical standpoint. He has ideal size for an NBA small forward at 6'7 with good length and a solid 210-pound frame. Athletically, he is well equipped for the wing position, both in terms of quickness and explosiveness, and should transition easily to the next level.
While Miller's size and athleticism allowed him to play a versatile role, he is not a very polished offensive player. He averaged just 13.2 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted on 11.7 field goal attempts and 41.6% FG.
Miller scores most often in transition, though his 46.4% two-point shooting percentage represents his limitations in this area. His athleticism helps him in the open floor, but he is a surprisingly mediocre finisher around the basket due to his questionable shooting touch. Similarly, he has a good first step, but he struggled adjusting to defensive pressure last season, which often resulted in charging violations and turnovers. He is also a left-handed dominant player at this stage, which limits him as a slasher and shot creator.
Miller was used as a spot-up shooter last season, as well, but he shot just 27.9% from beyond the arc and made just 56.9% of his free throws. Miller has quite a few shortcomings as a shooter, primarily his lack of elevation, propensity to fade away, and deliberate shooting motion. Despite the bleak percentages, however, Miller's mechanics are far from unsalvageable and, as he is just a sophomore, he will have ample opportunities to improve upon his reputation as a shooter.
While he struggled in other areas, he did show some ability to create his own shot, displaying developing instincts and flashes from mid-range. He must continue to improve his ball handling and tighten up his shooting mechanics, but he was able to create space to pull up and shoot at the collegiate level. Miller occasionally ran the pick and roll for Rutgers, as well, showing solid passing instincts even if he was overambitious at times.
Miller is above average on the defense end at this point, but he has the potential to be spectacular. He is a very good man defender due to his length and lateral quickness. Even when he gets beaten off of the dribble, he has excellent timing and is able to disrupt his man. He is just average guarding the pick-and-roll, however, and he runs under screens far too often, relying on his athleticism to compensate for his mediocre fundamentals. If he wants to develop into an elite defender, then he improve his fundamentals while must maintain his awareness on the floor.
Ultimately, Miller will develop into a serious prospect when and if he becomes more consistent. His size and athleticism coupled with his versatility are certainly intriguing, but he was a remarkably inefficient scorer last year and rarely translated his potential into production. Without Mike Rosario and Hamady N'Diaye, Miller will play a larger role on both ends of the floor and scouts will be watching to see how he responds to the added responsibility.