July 20, 2023
1-on-1: Diamond Miller talks draft night and rookie season in Minnesota
'I think the pace of play is pretty much the same for me'
ATLANTA – Minnesota Lynx rookie wing Diamond Miller, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, is heading up a new, retooling period in Minnesota, alongside star forward Napheesa Collier. Miller’s rookie season started off rocky, missing eight straight games with a right ankle sprain after suffering an injury in the second quarter of the Lynx’s 94-89 loss against the Dallas Wings on May 30. Miller is averaging 12.1 points and 3.9 rebounds on 40.4% shooting from the field in 14 games of action so far, flashing her unique combination of length, footspeed and coordination at 6’3.
“[Miller] is exactly what we thought she would be — she’s contributing to a team that is rising right now and her athleticism is super special,” Atlanta Dream head coach Tanisha Wright told The Next. It seems like [Lynx head coach and president of basketball operations Cheryl Reeve] is allowing her to play through rookie mistakes and because of that, she is only going to continue to improve.”
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On July 18, we sat down with Miller for the first installment of our new Q&A series, spotlighting the league’s young, up-and-coming stars.
Q: Take me back to draft night, did you have a good idea that you’d end up in Minnesota? What was that thought process like for you?
Miller: I had an idea because I had a call with Coach [Reeve] and she told me it was between me and another person, so I was just like, if they pick me, they pick me, if they don’t, they don’t. Obviously, on draft night, you don’t know. I had speculations, but you don’t know for sure until your name is called.
Q: One thing you’ll hear a lot with rookies coming into the WNBA is the pace of play, so how do you feel like your time at Maryland, playing in Brenda Freese’s up-tempo offense, transition-heavy offense prepared you for the next level?
Miller: I think the pace of play is pretty much the same for me, just, sometimes I feel like teams inbound the ball faster, but overall, the hardest part has been the other stuff.
Q: So what you do feel has been the biggest learning curve for you in your rookie season?
Miller: Defense and finishing at the rim against a lot of length.
Q: And with your finishing style, how do you feel like that has translated and has it posed any difficulties for you?
Miller: A little bit, more of the scoop [finishes], and defenders are more athletic now and can read it, so just finishing through contact is something I definitely need to work on to develop my game into something better.
Q: What is your film-watching process like? How much are you focused on that side of things?
Miller: It’s a lot of film watching. I’m constantly watching film and constantly watching for ways to get better because there are so many games and only so much work I can do afterward. I’m trying to balance when to get into the gym and when to watch film because the season goes by so fast.
Q: What has been your favorite road WNBA city to visit so far, based on the atmosphere and stuff like that?
Miller: I’m not going to lie, this is my first time here [playing Atlanta] and this is probably one of the top ones so far. I mean, the crowd was amazing tonight.
Q: What is your go-to pregame meal?
Miller: Go-to pregame meal, something like spaghetti or pasta with red sauce — a lot of carbs.
Q: Who is your funniest teammate?
Miller: It has to be Tiffany [Mitchell], she’s pretty funny.
Q: Lastly, what is one word to describe your game on the court?
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