'Mike Brown flew to Dallas and we met in the airport': C.J. Miles on meeting new coaches

On the latest 'Strictly Hoops', C.J. Miles explains how he has met new coaches for the first time. Also, the importance of communication between a player and head coach so both parties are getting what they're looking for. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Experience for a player. You go from getting your marching orders from one person, and then that changes over the course of a few months. And I asked you off air, I'm like, how many times have you experienced where a season ends and you have one coach, and then a season begins and you have a new coach. And you were like, a bunch of times, most notably in Toronto. [LAUGHS]

C. J. MILES: A lot of times.

AMIT MANN: So what is your first interaction with a new coach?

C. J. MILES: Mostly I introduce--

AMIT MANN: Do they call you? Do they call you, say hello, how are you doing?

C. J. MILES: Yeah. I mean, that happened with me latter, because being a veteran guy and being a guy that played a good role on a team, like, that happened. Like when Nick called me, and then I came to Vegas to Summer League. And we had to sit down-- we were all there around that time. And that was before all the trade and everything happened, that happened.

But also me and Nick knew each other. So we didn't have to have this like, super long conversation. It was just like, you know, me continuing to do what I was doing with the young guys and being who I was on that team, which was kind of like a glue, you know what I mean? And other times-- like, even when it happened in Memphis, even though I didn't play, Memphis's coach, when they got the new coach after Biggerstaff left-- I got traded before, but I got to play for him.

But we went and sat down and had lunch. Same thing happened with Mike Brown. Mike Brown was interesting, because Mike Brown flew to Dallas, and we met in the airport. Because he was flying to see guys all through the things. He was like, instead of me having to change the whole schedule, he was like, I could just push a flight and just come eat lunch in the airport and sit. That way, nobody has to like, make a strenuous effort to get in all these different places.

So I drove up. We ate lunch in the airport, sat there and talked it out, whatever, whatever. And then boom, he got on a flight, and it was over.

AMIT MANN: Is that what he was doing? He's going airport to airport, talking to players?

C. J. MILES: He was going to see guys. Yeah, he was going to see guys. And I don't know where he was going next, or if he was coming back home to go get ready to do it again. But he was coming through Dallas, and I was at home, seeing my friend.

AMIT MANN: Right, right.

C. J. MILES: So that's how we met.

AMIT MANN: Airport meals, that'd be hilarious--


C. J. MILES: We had lunch in the airport. But the biggest thing that changed is with that is what one coach values, the other coach might not value as much. So like let's say they both value my shooting. But they might not think that having a veteran in this part of the lineup means as much as the other one does.

Or they might see you more as a-- they want the shooting from a different spacing on the floor, because of the type of plays they run. So now you got to play a more power forward, or a more this, or a more that. Like, that's what changes the most, is just what that coach values, compared to the other.

AMIT MANN: OK. So in this day and age-- and we just talked about Jordi Fernandez-- to me, it seems like Jordi would say, where are you most comfortable? Where do you want to be on the court? As opposed to, this is where you're going to be.

C. J. MILES: I think that's-- you meet somewhere in the middle of that. Because I think if you just let everybody tell you exactly what they want, it will go. But I think the way you do that the right way is, like, if I'm the coach, I come with film and things you've been successful doing, and all these things. And I show these things to you. And I'm like-- and I ask you that question with this.

I'm like, do you-- is this what you like the most? Because the numbers say you like this the most. Is this what you like? So when I go to figure out how to utilize you, I make sure that there's heavy doses of this in it. So we both can be successful. Like, I know-- is it just a coincidence you make corner 3's? You're not like being in the corner? Like, you know what I mean?

Like, if I don't know that, but I also have to show you that you shot this from the corner, and this is a weapon. Because that's what happened with me with Mike Brown with 3 point shooting. Like, at that time, I was still a little bit all over the place. I hadn't like solely focused on it. And he came to me. He was like, looking at these numbers and what you could do for our team, this should be-- there should be more of this.

You should be-- you shoot it too well for this not to be worked on like, as the thing in your game, especially with the people that you're playing with. It will-- and I wanted to play. And I wanted to help my team. So how could I do it? You're playing with Kyrie Irving. You space the floor. You play with Paul George, you space the floor. You play with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, space the floor.

Like, you know what I'm saying? I played with Dan Wiggins before, that we didn't shoot a lot of 3's, but I could have did a lot more if that's the way we thought about it then. The game wasn't there yet. We were still in the 1-4 high set, and we didn't work on 3's as much. That's the thing. That's the difference.

So I think that was a thing that really helped me as a player, too, when a coach sat me down and was like, look, you're really good at this. We could make this something. And this could help our team. And I think guys look at it differently when you do it that way.

AMIT MANN: So it's helpful when a coach would come to you with their thesis, and then the proof.

C. J. MILES: Yeah, and the proof. And then also--

AMIT MANN: And not just telling you, saying, I want you to do this. It's like, I think you should do this, and this is why.

C. J. MILES: Mm-hmm. And then-- and there's other things you do well. But if you're looking-- like me, I'm looking at it as the whole picture, as the team. So could I have been like, no, I'd rather-- I want to turn into an ISO guy. Did I have the skill set and athletic ability at that time to turn into that? Yes. Would it have helped my team? No.

So now it's up to me to make the decision. Because now he gets to see where my mind's at, too. Do I want to help my team, or do I want to help me? Do I want to win, or do I care-- and there's a line. Because we get paid off stats, right? Like, we get it. Like, I made another half of my career off of that change.


C. J. MILES: Like, the next seven, eight years of my career, I get everything because of that change. Not saying I couldn't have done something else. But I know the change. I know that, it's a fact. It's what happens. I don't get to Toronto without that change.