Like any outside observer, Miles was able to see how dynamic all-stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were, but what stood out to him most was the sense of camaraderie the Raptors brought to the floor night in and night out.
“I always loved to watch how together they were,” Miles said Wednesday in an interview on The Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “The bench was always up, everybody always cheered for every guy the same amount. They just seemed like they really had each other’s back. They weren’t scared of anybody. They competed every night; they always brought an edge to the court.
“Playing on the home floor they were as tough as anybody with the way the crowd is and the energy they get from them added to the energy they bring as a unit. I’ve watched them the last three, four years become special.”
Miles doesn’t join the team with close pre-existing relationships with any of his new teammates. But he’s become more comfortable entering new locker rooms, having played for three franchises over his 12 years in the league, which could help ease the transition of playing for a different team in a different country.
The 30-year-old is looking forward to developing a bond with his new running mates and becoming a member of the “special” group he thinks so highly of.
“I think it’s a little easier now being an older veteran,” Miles said. “Playing against these guys so many times, there’s a mutual respect. Guys know how you play a little bit. They understand what you bring to the team, how they can help you, how you can help them. It’s not trying to mould a guy; you brought him in to be who he is.
“The biggest thing is to just come in and get a feel for guys. Talk as much as we can, communicate as much as we can and try to build that camaraderie, that brotherhood. It usually carries over to the court that way. When you have guys who really enjoy being around each other, it really changes the dynamic on the floor because now you have guys that are really willing to do anything for the next guy.”
Drafted by the Utah Jazz out of high school in 2005, Miles credits legendary coach Jerry Sloan as well as players like Derek Fisher and Carlos Boozer for helping shape his professional attitude. While those mentors served him well, Miles says his upbringing in Dallas helped make him into the man he is today and appreciate how much the sport of basketball has given him.
“A lot of [my professionalism] is from my background,” Miles said. “The way I was raised, my family. There’s not a difference in the way you treat people. Treat people how you want to be treated. I respect the game and what it’s done for me. It’s done a lot for my family and myself. It’s allowed me to take care of my family, see the world and travel places I never would have got to travel. I get to do something I love every single day. There’s no reason for me not to treat it the way it’s treated me.”
Miles goes on to discuss how the game has changed since he broke into the NBA as a rookie, the way his playing style has evolved and more. Listen to the full interview below.