February 4, 2023
Locked on Women’s Basketball: WNBA Draft profile: Diamond Miller
Hunter and Em discuss Diamond Miller's profile at Maryland — defense and a projected lottery pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft
The latest episode of Locked on Women’s Basketball features host Hunter Cruse and co-host Em Adler joining for a detailed scouting report on Maryland’s Diamond Miller, a projected lottery pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft.
Em talks about Diamond Miller’s career at Maryland:
“The biggest one that needs to be said is she’s not a player who’s been healthy the entire time. So we had a good freshman year, a real breakout sophomore. And then last year was spent kind of on and off the court. She missed a lot of the early season with a knee injury. And it was clear for most of the season after she returned that she wasn’t entirely herself.
Now that being said, she’s always had a pretty good statistical profile. She has been one of the best defensive playmakers in the country. Every year her steal rates from block rates are super high and even as her foul rate didn’t start great, but it’s especially a little poor this year. So her fouling efficiency has been excellent as well. She has gotten to the line much more often and efficiently as this year has gone on; she functionally leads the country in free throw attempts per (40). She’s in the top five and both free throws makes and attempts per game while only playing about 27 and a half minutes per game this year.”
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Em talks about Diamond Miller’s defensive prospect and what it could look like at the pro level:
“The generous way I can refer to it is raw. We have talked about her science for length or athleticism so far. One thing I didn’t touch on and this will loop back into the defense. One thing I didn’t touch on in terms of offense is I think one of the reasons she is typically a lot better of a finisher than she might look as a driver when you’re just watching the film is because I think she’s one of those players like Luka Dončić on the men’s side, who their first step isn’t the greatest in the world.
But their last step when they’re finishing is really strong. It’s really impressive to be able to pay that off. Well, to me, the flip side of that, though, is you want to have a good first step on defense. Defense It doesn’t really matter what your last step is because you’re responding to the offensive player. The first step you got to have that align. And that’s one of my biggest problems with her defensively.”
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Whether the Lynx draft Haley Jones or Diamond Miller (and I think that Jones fits much better given her ability to direct an offense, and given that Tiffany Mitchell played SG, not PG, in both college and in the WNBA), they are going to have to create some cap space in order to get her signed. Before free agency started, the Lynx had five players signed at a total salary of $881,222. To that figure they have recently added $135,000 as the year-one salary for the same Tiffany Mitchell, another $91,000 for a re-signed Bridget Carleton, an additional $90,000 for Nikolina Milic, and at least the veteran’s minimum of $74,305 for both Damiris Dantas and Lindsay Allen, the only true point guard on the team. If you add all of those figures together, you get $1,345,832, a figure which, while under the league cap of $1,420,500, is not far enough under to allow the team to sign either Jones or Miller, let alone any of their other draft picks.
I have to correct my last post. The required salary for the number 2 draft pick is not $75,792, as I originally thought, but $74,305. ($75,792 is what the number 2 pick will earn in year two.). Since we only need $74,305 to sign the number 2 pick, and since we have $74,668 in cap space after all of our free agency signings (Lindsay Allen and Damiris both signed for the veteran’s minimum), we have just barely enough cap space to sign either Jones or Miller. What we can’t do is sign any of our other picks without eliminating salary. However, if we could convince Seattle or Chicago to take on the last year of Achonwa’s contract in a trade, perhaps by giving up the contract rights to Ceci Zandalasini as a sweetener or maybe a second round draft choice next year, then we could sign the 2nd, 12th and the 16th picks and go with a twelve-player roster.