'I'm not looking for a project': C.J. Miles on Jeff Dowtin Jr. deserving an NBA deal

C.J. Miles discusses Jeff Dowtin Jr. and why he's tired of seeing good players not get NBA deals because they aren't in their early 20's. Listen to the full podcast discussing Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam's struggles, ways for the Raptors to generate more halfcourt offence, advice for Ja Morant and Miles playing alongside NBA players who didn't know how to play basketball on the 'Raptors Over Everything' feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: I just watched Andrew Nembhard torch the Raptors. Shout-out Andrew Nembhard, Canadian kid. But--


AMIT MANN: --I just watched him torch the Toronto Raptors. And it seems to me like he could be a solution. But in that game, I'm thinking Nurse, when he went to Malachi Flynn instead of Jeff Dowtin, he probably thought that they needed an offensive punch.

And I think Jeff has it, but he's not confident enough yet to put that into practice in the NBA. Because he's averaging, like, 20-ish points in the G League. And he's fast as the wind. He can finish around the rim in a lot of different ways. He's got a pull-up game.


AMIT MANN: He can hit 3's. He's, like, league average.

CJ MILES: Averaging 20 points anywhere is signs of having something.

AMIT MANN: Right? Exactly.

CJ MILES: Especially because the talent that's risen in the G League, we know that it's not just-- it might not be the same as the NBA. I mean, and some of those guys are NBA players. It's just the opportunity hasn't arisen yet.

But, like, averaging 27 points anywhere, especially right there, right down the road, shows signs of being able to do that. Like, I think, like you said, amazing defensively. He's got a real pop in his step.

He can go from 0 to 60 real quick. He turns corners. Long, athletic--

AMIT MANN: So good, man. Like, how advantageous is that, to have someone who can get around a screen and cut off a drive like that? There were so many cases in that Pacers game where I'm like, I think Jeff Dowtin would have cut off this drive. And now, you're not in rotation--

CJ MILES: And then on the other side with the ball, too, like, turning the corner with the ball, too, with that same speed. Like--

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

CJ MILES: --I think he's got a lot of things that he fits the mold of an elite backup point guard right now. I'm not saying he can't grow into something more than that. But right now, looking at him, you can see him being an elite backup point guard, especially--

AMIT MANN: And that's great. That's awesome, too.

CJ MILES: --especially because of-- yeah, no, that's great, too. I'm not diminishing that. I just don't want to put a ceiling on him when we haven't seen that much of him. But I can say right now, that's what he looks-- that's what he can fit.

The thing I hate, and I want to-- I'm glad we're talking about him, too-- I hate the age thing. I hate the--

AMIT MANN: So annoying.

CJ MILES: Because this is my thing with that-- all right, I got to sit up to talk about this.

AMIT MANN: Here we go. Here we go.

CJ MILES: This is my thing with this.

AMIT MANN: Stretch your arms. Let's go.

CJ MILES: We talking about basketball. We talking about winning right now.


CJ MILES: We talking about what he can do for me right now, how we can help me right now. Why does it matter that he's 26? Why are we so stuck on, well, he's 26, and he has the poten-- we're so stuck on this potential thing.

I'm not looking for a project. I'm looking for somebody to help me right now. The amount of years that I'm going to get out of him-- and even at 26, I'm still getting-- he got plenty of years of high-level basketball in him. It's not like he's 40, and he might keel off in the middle of a season.

Like, it doesn't matter. Like, that's not a-- that does not make sense. That makes sense for a team that's building a core or something. They're trying to-- they rebounding, and they're trying to rebuild, they coming out of that.

But, like, these kids that come out of college, that they get overlooked because of their age, it's stupid. It's the dumbest thing I ever heard. Like--


CJ MILES: --and we know the average career is only, like, four years anyway. So, like, you're going-- [AUDIO OUT] --who haven't even proven-- and this is not me knocking young kids, but I'm just saying that there's a discredit to the guys who stay in school and the guys who develop their game, or the guys who take a little longer to develop their game because they're not these God-given, freak of nature athletes.

Because usually, potential guys, that's the biggest thing that you're looking at. You're looking at the athleticism, and their body, and their build, and what they could turn into, instead of looking at a kid who's done this, who might have led NCAA in rebounding, who's filled out his frame, who's shown the potential that he will keep working because he worked through his career in college to become who he is.

Like, it's so many attributes that that kid has that you're discrediting because you're looking at-- you're looking for the next whoever, I don't know who you're looking for. But like, you can't-- it's the dumbest thing I ever-- I don't get it.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, yeah.

CJ MILES: I don't-- it doesn't make sense. And now, I'm glad you see these guys like him, and the kid from Indiana, and kids popping up that's showing, like, I just need an opportunity. Like, I've been this player. Like, I was already this player. Like, stop-- like, we got to stop doing that.

And we even do it as-- from the outside, looking at it. Like, ah, but he's going to be 24 coming into the draft. So what?

AMIT MANN: Who cares? Who cares?

CJ MILES: At least-- and the way we take care of our bodies now-- but like, guys are playing till they 40 years old, almost. Like--


CJ MILES: --he got six, seven years of high-level basketball, at least.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, your prime is longer now. It's not-- you're not peaking out at 32, whatever anymore. Now, it's like 34 or something like that.

CJ MILES: Yeah, maybe-- and if you're a shooter-- if he's a shooter, it's 38.

AMIT MANN: He could be, he could be a decent shooter.

CJ MILES: It can be. Like, if it's-- see what I'm saying? Like, he can find a way to service a team. Like, I don't get that age-- like, I want somebody that can help me right now. And even if it's not right now, if it takes two years, and he's 27, 25 when I get him in the rotation, I still got seven years of basketball out of him.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

CJ MILES: Like, I guess it's a-- maybe it's a money thing. You're thinking about the-- I'm going to get my money's worth because I can have him for all this time once I mold him. But a lot of these kids don't get molded. A lot of kids don't work out. Go ahead.

AMIT MANN: Do you think front offices sometimes, there is a prideful standpoint with them knowing that, hey, we drafted this guy, and he became--

CJ MILES: 1,000%.

AMIT MANN: --as opposed to-- yeah.

CJ MILES: 1,000%.

AMIT MANN: The game within the game right there.

CJ MILES: There are situations with young guys-- and I can almost speak on this on myself in a situation--

AMIT MANN: Oh, I can see it. You're getting into this. You're twisting your hat. You're into this.

CJ MILES: [LAUGHS] You get to a point where, like, you drafted this kid, right? And say it's not working out with you the way you wanted to, and that would get-- [AUDIO OUT]

Somebody else reaches out, and they see something in the kid. And they want to trade for him, or they want to get him, or he becomes a restricted free, agent, and they want to try to get him. You'll keep that kid just because-- save face because you don't want that kid to go to another team and become something else.

And then it looks bad on you because your job was to identify the talent. And it's just-- and now, you're messing with that kid.


CJ MILES: It has nothing to do with-- you still had the eye for talent. It just didn't come to fruition with you. The opportunity-- we was just talking about this with a friend. If you plant a seed, and the seed does not-- if you plant a seed from an apple tree, and the tree does not grow the way you want it to grow, what is the things you check? The environment, the soil-- is it getting water, sunlight? All the things, the place that it's in.


CJ MILES: Like, some people just not meant to grow in that space. It's not the environment for them. And that's fine. But the business side of that is messing with careers sometimes.

And I get it, it's business. I understand. Like, that guy's got to keep his job, too. I'm not trying to, like, make him the devil. But I'm just saying it's a thing that happens.

And as a player, I can only speak from my side.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. Yeah, I agree with you. He's an NBA player. He turns-- 26th year.

CJ MILES: Bottom line, he's an NBA player.


CJ MILES: This all brings me back around to say that he (LAUGHING) is a NBA player.