SALT LAKE CITY — C.J. Miles has one of the sweetest-looking shots around, but he's struggled with inconsistency and accuracy issues.
Writing about his insatiable appetite is a favorite subject of his on Twitter, yet Miles is returning fit and trim, 15 pounds lighter than he was at the beginning of the summer.
Another head-scratcher about the proud Dallas native who lives in New York City during the offseason but plays for Utah?
It seems like the NBA veteran has been around since the Stockton-to-Malone days.
But the kid, who's logged six seasons in the league and outlasted Deron Williams in Utah, is just 24 years old.
Could this finally be the breakout season Miles, Jazz management and fans have been waiting for since the team took a second-round flier on him out of his Texas high school in 2005?
Miles has the confidence that will be the case this shortened season.
"I put in the work so … no reason not to be confident," Miles said. "(I've) been doing everything all summer, put my myself in position where any situation I'll have some type of success in it, so there shouldn't be any issue with that because I've been working."
Because he didn't know when the season might start, Miles stayed on top of his physical shape. He did a lot more cardio and CrossFit exercises for his core this summer after focusing on weight-lifting the previous offseason.
And he ran and played hoops as much as he possibly could wherever he went.
"I just stayed on it," Miles said.
At a glance, it shows.
The 6-foot-6 Miles was at 222 pounds on Thursday, when he and teammates were given the OK to return to the Jazz practice facility. His goal was to be in the 220 range, which he'll dip under, no doubt, once the compressed camp begins Friday.
Decreasing his body's size wasn't his only wish.
Miles also wanted to increase his all-around basketball game.
He has bigger dreams, too.
To get there, Miles has worked on putting the ball on the court, shooting off the dribble, his mid-range touch and driving to "open up the game."
"Being lighter and stronger allows me to attack the basket better as far as working the nets," Miles said. "I feel like I can jump higher. I just tried to expand everything as much as I could."
Miles doesn't shy from other lofty goals.
He sees himself as a starter in either of the interchangeable swing positions. One starting spot would open up if Jazz fixture and unrestricted free agent Andrei Kirilenko doesn't return to his small forward spot in Utah.
Other possible Jazz starters in the 2 and 3 spots include Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, maybe a new free agent or incoming rookie Alec Burks.
"That was my goal, like, I was coming to be the starter," Miles said. "It's my job to take. If it's up there, I'm going to take it."
It has been on his mind, he admitted, ever since the disappointing 2010-11 season ended.
Despite all the turmoil and tailspin, last year was a success for Miles in some ways.
He had by far his highest scoring and rebounding averages at 12.8 points — his first double-digit clip — and 3.3 boards a game.
But his shooting percentages dropped for the fourth consecutive season — from 47.9 percent in 2007-08 to 40.7 percent overall and from 39 percent to 32.2 percent beyond the arc.
Miles only started 19 games — two years after being a full-time starter — but he averaged a career-best 25.2 minutes.
The exciting part for Miles as he enters his final season under contract with the Jazz is that he feels in the best shape he's been in three years.
Miles also looks forward to playing under second-year coach Tyrone Corbin. He occasionally found himself in Jerry Sloan's doghouse, but has insisted the Hall of Fame coach and no-nonsense leader was the best thing that ever happened to him.
But now a man who tutored Miles for hours on a daily basis as an assistant for five-and-a-half years is at the helm. Miles and Corbin forged a strong relationship and work well together.
The familiarity and trust, combined with his dedicated offseason work, seems to bode well for Miles' confidence.
It definitely has him giddy to go.
"I'm just ready to start," he said. "Play some games."
But those are not the only things keeping Miles motivated.20 comments on this story
He has a lofty vision for his career résumé.
Told by a reporter that his agent has All-Star aspirations for Miles, the affable young man confirmed he shares that elite-player vision.
"I believe that. I believe I have the skills and opportunity with the guys we have here and the way that we can play that I can do that," Miles said. "I put in the time; that's what I'm working for. That's my ideal goal to be that.
"To be All-Star," he added, "that's what everybody comes into the league trying to do."
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