On Apr. 2, 2018, the Westchester Knicks hosted their second G League postseason game. Prior to tip off at the Westchester County Center, Westchester head coach Mike Miller received the 2017-18 G League Coach Of The Year Award.
It was a culmination of the successful season that took place. The Knicks won a franchise high 32 games and tied a season-high five NBA call-ups. Westchester maintained the same success this season and picked up 29 victories. They are one of two teams, along with the Stockton Kings, to earn 29-plus wins and see three call-ups in the past two seasons. With the call-ups the past two seasons, it has given other players a chance to showcase their skills in an increased role and put their names on the map.
One of the main reasons to the success of Westchester is due to Mike Miller. He, along with the coaching staff, continues to develop and prepare players for their professional or NBA career.
Current and former Westchester Knicks gave their thoughts on Miller receiving the G League Coach Of The Year Award and what makes him in detail with player development.
“I wasn’t surprised at all. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had in my professional career. He’s No. 1 as far as giving me an opportunity and challenging me everyday. I owe tons of my success here to him. Sometimes in this league— NBA and professional in general— you’re only as good as your coach lets you be. He’s letting me go out there and play every night and puts me in situations for me to shine and that’s all I can ask for.”
“Coach Miller, he’s definitely my guy. I didn’t come back last year (2017-18 season). I still stay in contact with him. I still check in with him. He actually coached one of the sessions (2018 September Team) at the USA Qualifying games, so it was good to reconnect with him there. Then I make sure at Summer League that I always go to talk to him. Even at the Showcase, I made sure and went to talk to him. Me and Coach Miller are still close and cool, but he’s a great coach and one of the better coaches I played for. I feel like his greatest strengths is getting guys ready to play and preparing them. He pushes you each and every day. I think that one of his best strengths is holding guys accountable and getting guys ready to play and it shows. If you look at where he’s taking the team and what he’s done in his time there, it just shows how great of a coach he is.”
“I feel like it was very well deserved. He got us in. He got us focused. He really tried to break down everything. He tried to keep everything together. I feel like, of course, we had a strong five and strong bench and all that, along with a good coaching staff.”
“Coach Mike is one hell of a coach. It was well deserved that he was able to get Coach of the Year last year and he’s done a good job this year as well, especially when roster changes. You never know whose going to be here. He’s able to adapt to that and he’s shown that so far.”
“He’s good in detail about player development. All the guys came in and wanted to learn and get better and also wanted to win games. We came in practices each and every day pushing each other and listened to what Mike Miller had to say and that’s how the success came out.”
“Coach Mike is a great coach. What people don’t understand is he has that player-coach relationship to where he can really understand what the players are going through and he can communicate with each of his players, so just seeing Coach Mike being successful means the world to all of us and just means that we’re successful as well.”
“When he won, it was well deserved. I didn’t expect anybody else to win. I wasn’t surprised. Honestly, I thought he would win it the whole time. One thing that makes him so in detail with the player development is he understands everyone’s game and he can dissect it and figure out where you need to improve. Not every coach can do that and he knows how to convey what he’s trying to teach to you and not everybody is capable of that. That’s a strength that he has and it’s the reason why he can develop guys and send guy after guy to the NBA.”
“Being able to help Coach Miller do that was big. I feel like he earned it. He deserved it. Each and every day, he pushed us. There were days where we kind of weren’t really pushing each other and that’s when he was really there for us and to get the most out of us. Coach Miller is big on development. He’s helped me a lot in many different ways. He’s a really good guy and he definitely deserved it.”
“I was happy for him. He deserved it because he’s a very good coach. He’s a player’s coach, so he’ll always communicate with the players. He’ll do whatever to get the player where he needs to be and that’s the coach everybody needs around.”
“It’s just the way he is with guys. He does a great job in helping guys in getting to where they want to be. We go through progress reports every week and where we want to get to and our goals. We set that and lay it out. Obviously, winning as a point guard is big. That’s something he stressed to me is that point guards are looked at upon as winners or losers. I was able to go in there and lead a team and lead a team to a good amount of wins and be looked at upon as a guy that won basketball games.”
In four seasons as head coach, eight players have earned a combined 12 call-ups. Miller has played a huge role in the development of Westchester’s players. In addition, the team has consistently put their players in the best position to succeed in terms of NBA or overseas opportunities.
The coaching staff has played a role in the growth of New York’s players, e.g Damyean Dotson and Luke Kornet, which has helped prepare them for the bright lights of the NBA. Westchester general manager Allan Houston praised Miller’s dedication and believes he should be a head coach in this league.