Out of high school in the 2005 NBA Draft, C.J. Miles was thrust onto a Utah Jazz team where minutes were scarce, his role limited behind veterans. When Miles looks back, he lets out a knowing smile about the fact that his early seasons preserved him to stay fresh on a youthful team nine years into his career – and serve as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ third-oldest player.
Miles is off to the best start of his career, averaging over 13 points per game and supplying Mike Brown with a potent shooter to surround Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack. The Cavaliers held an option on the final year of Miles’ deal this season, but exercising it was a formality and he’s cozied into playing part in the team’s core.
“I’m comfortable here,” Miles told RealGM. “100 percent, we can keep growing. My first few years I didn’t even play, so I don’t got a lot of miles on me, no pun intended.”
Amid a losing season a year ago, Miles had been adamant about wanting to return, and he sensed the organization would replenish the roster. He became stable living in Cleveland, too. Mostly, though, serving as a knockdown shooter to receive passes from the team’s young talent appealed him.
“I could see a lot of potential with the guys we have on this team,” Miles said. “A lot of youth. I’ve been around, but I’m 26 so I still fit in with the youth movement. I also have a little bit of experience playing on playoff teams, playing deep in the playoffs, and actually playing minutes and playing a role.
“[Brown] allows us to play basketball, and this year guys are a lot older. We took last year, came in and worked a lot in the offseason together. We’ve been taking advantage of the spacing and guys being unselfish.”
Miles admits he was out of shape to start camp in his first season with the Cavaliers, because of lingering issues. In Miles’ mind, his training habits have steadily improved in the NBA, stemming from progressing within a Jazz organization that brought him along from a high schooler to a playoff contributor.
“The biggest thing is you keep getting better as far as learning how to take care of yourself,” Miles said. “Physically and mentally. Mentally, you get a lot from playing and experience. The more you start to play, you need to know how to take care of yourself and the amount you have to put in to be able to do it.”