Honorable Mention is always tough, because once I lay out the top five, I always feel that I left out so many players. There's Clyde Drexler, Ray Allen, and how tough is it to not include Pete Maravich on any shooting guard list? But there are only six spots (if I include Honorable Mention), and Reggie Miller needs to be here.
Reggie Miller defined Indiana Pacers basketball throughout his 18 year career with the franchise, thrusting them onto the national spotlight as a perennial contender. No one worked harder to get his shot (sprinting sideline to sideline, running through multiple screens), and was better at knocking it down once he got it, especially under clutch circumstances.
Arguably the greatest pure shooter of all-time, Miller leads the NBA in 3-pointers made with 2,560, while shooting a remarkable 39.5 percent from behind the arc. He is also the NBA leader in four-point plays with 24 (Remember how he'd kick his leg out during his release?).
His free throw shooting was no less impressive at 88.8 percent (ninth all-time), leading the league five times during his career.
Miller is one of only six players in NBA history in the 50-40-90 club, which means that in a season he shot at least 50 percent from the field, at least 40 percent from the three-point line, and at least 90 percent from the free throw line.
Miller is 13th on the all-time scoring list with 25,279 points. He is also sixth in minutes played and seventh in games played. Miller played in five all-star games, and led the Pacers to the NBA Finals in 2000, eventually losing to the LA Lakers in six games.
But as much as it pains me to admit this as a Knicks fan, Miller will probably best be remembered for his clutch playoff performances against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, including a 25 point fourth quarter in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, and eight points in the final 8.9 seconds of Game One in the 1995 Eastern Conference semi-finals.
And just think: Pacers fans booed when Donnie Walsh selected Miller with the 11th pick in the 1987 draft. Who did they want instead? Steve Alford out of Indiana University. I think it's safe to say Walsh made the right choice. Now if he can just do the same with the Knicks...