Why Adam Miller is the key to any potential turnaround for LSU basketball's offense

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

BATON ROUGE — Expectations were high when Adam Miller officially became a Tiger.

Miller, the No. 33 prospect in the nation coming out of high school, according to 247Sports, transferred to LSU basketball in 2021 after spending his freshman season as a starter at Illinois. He came to Baton Rouge as a dynamic scoring guard with a sweet shooting stroke and the ability to create his own shots off the dribble.

Two years later, with LSU (12-4, 1-3 SEC) descending into a three-game losing streak, the Tigers have needed Miller to save their flailing offense. And so far this season he hasn't been up to the task, at least not consistently.

In LSU's loss to Florida (9-7, 2-2) on Tuesday, Miller converted on just 2-of-12 shots and made just one of his eight 3-point attempts. The performance was one of many reasons behind the Tigers' 67-56 defeat, as LSU shot just 32.2% from the field and failed to make a 3-point shot in the second half.

"We've got to do a better job," LSU coach Matt McMahon said. "I've got to coach better. I've got to get us into better positions where we can shoot higher percentages from the floor."

No matter the metric, it's impossible to ignore Miller's shooting struggles this season. He's shooting just 36.2% from the floor and 32.3% from beyond the arc. His misses make up a good chunk of the Tigers' offense, as he's second on the team in shot attempts per game at 11.6.

His advanced numbers don't look pretty either. Miller's effective field goal percentage, which weighs the value of a made 3-point shot over a 2-pointer, is only at 47%. His true shooting percentage, which takes into account free throws as well as 2-point and 3-point shots, isn't much better (50.9%).

Notably, Miller missed the entirety of his first season at LSU after tearing his ACL in October of 2021. So it's reasonable to attribute a large portion of his inefficiency shooting this season to the injury.

"I think we have to temper expectations for him as well," McMahon said in September. "This is going to be a process. He hasn't played a college basketball game in 18 months. He's been cleared (medically) for four weeks.

"So it's not going to happen overnight."

Even so, Miller's skill set or aggressiveness hasn't waned because of it. If anything, he had been shooting the ball better before Tuesday. Miller posted 16 points and made five 3-pointers against Texas A&M on Saturday and in the game prior drained five 3-point shots on 13 attempts against Kentucky.

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"I thought his movement without the basketball and his screening was much improved and that led to some of the easier looks," McMahon said. "I'm all for him shooting as many high-quality threes as we can create and that he can get open with his movement without the ball."

Miller's explosiveness and quickness with the ball in his hands are still evident, as is his natural shooting stroke and aggressiveness as a scorer. It's still obvious that he is LSU's most gifted scorer from the perimeter and arguably its most talented offensive player.

But the problem for Miller hasn't been an inability to produce any quality shooting nights. The problem has been doing it consistently.

And consistency is exactly what LSU's offense needs in order to get back on track this season. For that to happen, Miller has to lead the charge.

Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.