Everywhere Andre Miller has gone he has been seen as an expendable piece, a player that the team could easily do without. He is like the child in the family that does nothing great, but nothing wrong yet still can’t get any of the credit. Almost everywhere he has been, that team gets better.
His team has made the playoffs 6 out of the last 7 years, and that was with as varied of teams as there are. The first was with the young Nuggets teams when Carmelo still had that college smell to him, still very much raw but explosively dynamic. But, Denver clearly didn’t think that highly of him, trading him to Philadelphia in the 06-07 season (the only season that his team has missed the playoffs in this 7-year span) for The Answer.
Okay, fine, Andre wouldn’t argue that Iverson is the better player historically and the Nuggets thought they needed to win now and Iverson would be the missing piece (an older and still me-first player, but that is just who he is). With the 76ers, Miller would bring a group that had talent in Iguodala but little else to the Playoffs. Seriously, they were 40-42 but were 12 games under .500 in February.
Then they signed Elton Brand, who I suppose was seen as a key piece, and he is a solid player but not as great as he could/should have been. Still, they make the playoffs with Iguodala, Brand, and Miller. They don’t win a series, and the same is true the next year as well. Then, they get rid of him. He wasn’t seen as important, look up the 76ers wikipedia page and he is hardly mentioned other than he was the guy who Iverson was traded away for.
So he signs with Portland after they lucked out when Hedo chose lifestyle over contending and Brandon Roy, the team’s best player doesn’t like it. He was the primary ball handler for Portland, the man who ran the show. Now they bring in this vet who has some credibility in ball handling himself to do what exactly? Take away his opportunities? So, that was an awkward start.
Then the season gets underway and Portland is loaded with potential (Roy, Oden, Aldridge, Batum, Blake, Bayless, Przybilla, Fernandez). Then, Portland is sucked dry by the injury bug as Oden, and Przybilla go down like Frazier for the season. Then Roy only plays in 65 games. And yet, Portland survives and wins 50 games, as expected at the beginning of the season. Yet, no credit is given to Miller, or at least not enough.
McMillan has a claim for coach of the year and Marcus Camby may have been the best mid-season pickup west of the Mississippi, but Miller has been there from start to finish (along with Aldridge and others). He dropped 52 in a game this season, 52!
And even now, Portland beat 3rd seeded Phoenix on the road in an important game for both teams. Miller was, along with fellow old guy Camby, the catalyst. Sure, Nash’s defense has never been intimidating for any point guard, but Miller isn’t exactly a young gun either. And yet people wonder why Portland has had this success this year, or any of Miller’s teams.
And this is after he led the league in assists in Cleveland in 2001-02. He led the league when Jason Kidd was at the height of his powers, Nash was alongside Nowiztki, Stockton was old but still in the game with Malone. He does this and Cleveland rewards him … with a trade to the Clippers for Darius Miles and Harold Jamison (yes, Harold). This guy has averaged 15 and 7 for his career and teams are seemingly always looking to deal him as some sort of package to win now.
Oh, and school has little to do with basketball, but before he was drafted he was working on his Masters in Sociology at Utah, so he’s got that going for him.