Brad Miller wasn’t your typical NBA center during the era of high-flyers and YouTube-inspiring dunks. He wasn’t a guy most people would ever think of paying to see play basketball. In fact, he wasn’t a guy most people thought could play basketball.
The country boy from Kendallville, Indiana, is a slow, unathletic big man by NBA standards. He always has been. When you’re classified that way athletically, you’re not supposed to end up with a long and lucrative career in the NBA. It’s probably the reason he wasn’t drafted out of Purdue University. After playing for a couple of months in Italy, the Charlotte Hornets signed him as an undrafted free agent during the lockout-shortened 1999 season.
Over the next four years, Miller figured out what worked and what didn’t work with his game in the NBA, as he spent time in Charlotte and Chicago. He learned how to maximize his incredible natural skills while minimizing the parts of his game that could hurt his team. He was challenging assumptions about how he could play the game and breaking the assumed protocol of NBA competition.“He’s one of the most skilled big guys,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said after Minnesota’s loss to Denver. “I’ve been very fortunate. I put him up there with Vlade and Chris Webber as far as skilled guys, knowing how to play, making their teammates better.”
As a member of the 2002-03 Indiana Pacers, Miller helped his team to the third-best record in the Eastern Conference while also being named an All-Star over teammate Ron Artest. That summer, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings, where his skill set would be perfectly paired with Adelman’s offensive system.