Summer 76 | Purposeful Miles Feeling Good in Second Summer with Team
Having missed out on a win in their first three MGM Resorts NBA Summer League games, the 76ers were saddled with the 30th ranking heading into the tournament round.
With there being only 30 participants in the event, the designation was one the Sixers took as a challenge, especially veteran stretch forward Isaiah Miles.
Against a Phoenix Suns club that entered Thursday’s first-round match-up undefeated, Miles assumed a pivotal role in helping the Sixers get off the schneid, in an eventual 88-86 victory at Thomas & Mack Center.
When the Sixers needed some early baskets to keep pace with hot-starting Phoenix, the 24-year old Miles was there to provide them.
Midway through Thursday’s second quarter, as the Suns were threatening to blow the game wide open, Miles again rose to the occasion. He lit the fuse for a key 12-2 spurt that got the Sixers going back in the right direction.
Following intermission, Miles made sure the Sixers kept the pressure on, continuing to hit his 3-pointers, and even drawing an energizing charge.
After the Sixers managed to hang on for their first triumph in Las Vegas, the positive outcome would have been hard to envision without Miles’ efforts.
His purposeful performance was no accident.
“We had a 30 [ranking] next to our name as a seed, and we kind of took that as disrespect,” said Miles, who accounted for a game-best 20 points on the strength of 7 for 10 shooting overall, and 6 for 8 from the outside. “We had to make a stamp on this tournament, so we wanted to come out and show that, and work hard.”
The Sixers did just that, with Miles setting the tone.
This summer marks Miles’ second in a row with the Sixers. Since going undrafted in the spring of 2016, he’s played one professional season in France, and his most recent in Turkey.
A Baltimore, MD native, and four-year Saint Joseph’s product, Miles said he has no hard-fast commitments after summer league, and that it would be a “dream” to play for Sixers organization full-time.
“I’m a big momma’s boy,” Miles joked. “It would be great if she could come to one of my games.”
In his time as a pro, Miles has cut out former dietary indulgences like Wendy’s Baconators, and red meat. He’s been pleased with the results.
“I feel it on the court. I don’t get as winded as easily now. I love that feeling. I’d love to keep that up.”
Miles would also love to improve his odds of landing a coveted opportunity in the NBA.
Showings like Thursday’s against Phoenix certainly seem capable of turning heads. Through three outings with the Sixers this month, he's averaging 11.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Miles said of the Sixers earning their first win. “We worked hard against a really good Phoenix Suns team. We live to fight another day.”