A June 2019 post noted Miye Oni's transition from Yale student-athlete to the NBA's Utah Jazz. Now in his second season, he is
contributing as a key defender and team player on one of the NBA's best squads--while remaining a person of character.
Sports journalists have observed that Miye has defied the odds, not just in going from an under-recruited high-school
player to the Ivy League to NBA draft pick, but also from a late-2nd round pick to someone actually earning minutes on a top
Ben Anderson noted that, already as of late April 2021:
22 players ever drafted 58th overall have appeared in an NBA game and only half of those have ever played in at least 50 games. With
only spot minutes to his name, Oni ranks 10th in career win shares and ninth in win shares per 48 minutes, earning him the
title of the 10th most successful 58th pick in NBA history. Only 59 players have ever been drafted with the 58th pick, placing
Oni in the top 16 percent of players ever drafted at his spot." As he continues to play more games, minutes,
seasons, Miye will surely ascend further on that list.
Chris Forsberg, in writing mainly about two Celtics players (including former UConn player Kemba Walker), recorded that those Celtics have:
"the second-best mark in the NBA among all two-man lineups with at least that much court time this season."
According to Forsberg as of May 6,
"Only Utah's Mike
Conley/Miye Oni combo has been better (plus-31.4 in 140 minutes) and Oni, it should be noted, is part of four of the top seven
two-man units in the league despite playing less than 500 total minutes this season."
limited minutes, Miye has a tendency--despite modest statistics--measurably to help his team. Much of what he does doesn't
show up in the box score. For example, in a 5/5/21 win over the Spurs, in just 19 minutes, he had 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal--and +21! In Miye's 5 minutes, his team
was plus 7 (going from 1 down to 6 ahead) in its 5/7/21 comeback win over Denver. In a 5/12/21 game vs. Portland, his stat line was modest in 11 minutes, as he made 1 of 2 shots and got a rebound. But his team was +9 in those 11 minutes (even though
overall the team lost by 7). He played aggressive defense on star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and made
the right pass when given the opportunity.
Such brief but efficient stints have led to a curiosity that Chris Forsberg highlighted--that Miye Oni was, as of May 6, "part of four of the top seven two-man units" in the entire NBA this season! He
has defended, in those brief opportunities, stars including Portland's Lillard and McCollum, Golden State's Steph Curry, Boston's
Jayson Tatum, Denver's Jamal Murray, and Phoenix's Devin Booker. His all-star teammate Donovan Mitchell offered praise about Miye's play in practice.
As mentioned here before, Miye Oni is also--with Brandon Sherrod--one
of two ambassadors for the CASA movement in Connecticut, as described in a fall 2020 article. They appear, with CASA volunteer Dwayne Jackson, on videos on the program's YouTube channel.
horrific spike of the pandemic in India--where hundreds of thousands of positive COVID tests are being registered daily, and
thousands of Indians dying every day amid shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, and ventilators--has affected family and friends.
With my wife from New Delhi, my brother's wife from Lucknow (in Uttar Pradesh), and a brother-in-law from Tamil Nadu, there
have been frequent reports of illness and death.
remain citizens of India but fortunately have U.S. permanent residency, which may well have saved their lives. Others
haven't been so fortunate, and the increasing political repression by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government
is a related concern. Mismanagement of the pandemic has been compounded by BJP super-spreader rallies, and criticism
of the Hindu nationalist government--by media or by politicians, or even by individuals without power--can now be labeled
The country's press freedoms and judicial independence have been curtailed in just a few
years, Kashmir's autonomy ended, and global companies like Facebook and Twitter as well as NGOs (including those now trying to provide relief amid the COVID crisis) restricted by the Indian regime. Let us hope both Indians' health, and India's democracy, can recover.