Darius Miller is ready for his second shot at the NBA.
But he couldn’t say the same for his first stint in New Orleans where he played from 2012 to 2014.
“I just wasn’t ready,” the former Mason County High School and University of Kentucky star said in a report posted Monday on the team’s website. “I wasn’t ready mentally. I spent my whole life trying to get to (the NBA). When I got here, it was like, ‘OK, what now?’
“I just didn’t know what it took to succeed,” he told Pelicans.com reporter Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer on Twitter). “I wasn’t a very good professional — not in terms of not being a good teammate or anything like that, but as far as taking care of my body. Your body is the main thing that keeps you going as an athlete. I wasn’t a good professional in that aspect, but I didn’t know it (at the time). Now I know.”
Miller, who played the last three years in Germany and won league titles all three seasons with Brose Baskets, is back in the NBA with the Pelicans. He has joined fellow former Wildcats Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo on the roster.
His first stint in the NBA produced modest results: 3.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 102 games covering all or part of three seasons.
The past three years in Germany were much more productive, including these stats from his most recent season: 10.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 41.4 percent shooting from three-point range.
“I got to grow up a lot, on and off the court,” Miller told Pelicans.com about playing in Germany. “It really helped me. I got in a great rhythm shooting-wise, by just getting more game reps, game shots. It helped every aspect of my game. Also getting older helped me mature mentally and gain my confidence, find my niche and groove. It was great for me.”
Miller, who now has a wife and two daughters, said he hopes all that he has learned on and off the court since his last run in the NBA will translate to a more significant contribution this time around.
“When I first got here, I didn’t set any goals for myself,” he said. “It just took time for me to grow and figure things out.
“(Now) I just want to compete and help the team win in any way I can. I want to make sure I bring energy to the team. Last time I was just happy to be here. Now I’ve got things I want to accomplish.”
▪ Miller also talked to Pelicans.com about how he has improved his nutrition since his first stay in New Orleans.
“I was eating gumbo, jambalaya. I was enjoying myself,” he said. “I was eating all this stuff I wasn’t supposed to be eating, but I didn’t know at the time. … Being in better shape will help me out a lot. I have way more energy now.”