Denver, CO…..All the way through the end of June, it was very unclear if Denver Nuggets veteran guard Andre Miller would be coming back next season to play his home games at the Pepsi Center. He was an unrestricted free agent, and there were some rumblings about him potentially signing elsewhere. Miller is now 36, and coming off one of his best playoff series ever in Denver’s seven game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Rumors swirled two weeks ago, right before the draft, about whether or not the Nuggets would look to take a young point guard to back up Ty Lawson. If Andre decided to head to another team, Denver would have had a glaring hole that Miller’s departure would have left. At some point recently, GM Masai Ujiri and the 14 year NBA veteran came to an agreement, as he is now signed, sealed, and delivered back to Denver for another three years. Although this signing is minor compared to other deals that landed Ray Allen in Miami, Deron Williams in Brooklyn, and Steve Nash in L.A., it is a huge one for the Nuggets to have any chance in the extremely tough Western Conference.
Let’s be honest. The guy has a jump shot that should never be filmed and shown to any kid wanting to know how to shoot a basketball. His vertical leap at times seems as if it can barely get him over two bucks worth of quarters. But what Andre Miller does have, is a veteran savvy style of play, and his basketball I.Q. is simply one of the best in the game. In 14 NBA seasons, with five different teams, he has career averages of 14.1 points and 7.2 assists per game. You want a player who is durable as well? It’s Andre Miller. He has missed a total of six games due to injury throughout his career. Six! Some guys miss that many games in a row because of a pulled hamstring. It can be argued that Miller is easily one of the most underrated players of this generation, and his lack of flash has to be the main reason why. In this past seasons playoffs, he had a fantastic series against L.A., tossing lob passes to JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried, as well as scoring in some really key situations. It ended up not being enough, as the Lakers did win it in seven, but Miller’s play definitely made L.A. nervous as the series went along. His versatility and know-how simply cannot be measured. His calming influence on the team was palpable countless times last year, and especially in the post-season. With so many young players on the Nuggets roster, bringing Andre back was a critical move for the next few years. He can continue to mentor Ty Lawson, who looks to be on the cusp of greatness. He can also come off the bench when things get hairy, and steady the ship from time to time. What he brings to an NBA team cannot be found on the stat sheet the next morning. But anyone who watches him on the court knows how important his skill set is and how valuable his intangibles really are.
Does Denver have any real shot of doing anything significant in 2012-2013? Most experts, I am sure, are already saying no. I mean, with Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and the Lakers proving they are battle tested and playoff proven, who could argue? The Nuggets have an intriguing, young roster that showed flashes of brilliance last year. Rightfully so, they have Denver fans very excited for what the future holds, along with a very exciting brand of basketball as well. However, the key to any success in the next few years may very well be tied to the oldest Nugget on the court. Andre Miller has never been the prettiest player to watch, but what he does bring makes Denver a team not to be taken lightly.
Denver Sports by J Simp