Basic Stats: 3.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, .46 FG% (28 games played with Washington)
On February 20, as the trade deadline came to a close, the Washington Wizards sent Jan Vesley to the Denver Nuggets and Eric Maynor to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Professor Andre Miller. I distinctly remember reading about this trade because I recall laughing afterwards. What impact could 38 year old Andre Miller, who couldn’t even get decent minutes on a subpar Denver team, have on the Wizards? Just looking at his basic stats, one would think that the Wizards got the raw end of the deal, however he became on of the most integral players on the team throughout the NBA Playoffs.
One of the smartest point-guards in the league, Miller became the perfect backup to John Wall. They play completely different styles yet both command the offense. John Wall plays at lightspeed, drives and kicks and plays up-in-your face defense while Miller prefers to slowly bring the ball to halfcourt, cut when the ball is in someone else’s hands, and look for every possible passing angle. As odd as it sounds, Andre Miller’s ability to post-up was one of the keys in the Wizards’ playoff run. He was able to spread the floor and when one of the perimeter players would cut to the basket, he would find them with a perfect pass. Furthermore, his ability to pump-fake drew his defenders into foul trouble while also allowing Miller to get a clean look at the basket.
With 8,153 assists throughout his career, he currently ranks 9th all time in this category. His ability to always find the open man makes him so dangerous with the ball. Miller’s passing skills played a large role for the Wizards because as great as John Wall is, his passing can be unreliable. Andre Miller was always able to get Bradley Beal, Nene and Trevor Ariza shots which helped the offense run smoother.
One aspect that makes Miller so unique is that he rarely has “bad” games. He’ll have his off-shooting nights, or be a step slow on defense sometimes, but his consistency overall is outstanding. Throughout the playoffs, the Wizards could always rely on him if Wall was in a funk. Miller was a floor general as he had the wherewithal to run the offense at all times. His play off-the-bench saved the Wizards at times and should not be overlooked. M
Next Season and Improvement:
Although the Wizards could potentially buy out his contract, since about half of his $4.6 million salary next season is guaranteed, all signs are pointing to the Professor finishing his career in the nation’s capital. This upcoming season will be the his first full year with the Wizards so he will have more chances to shine for D.C. Miller will also be able to build off a tremendous playoff run in which he played much better all-around basketball. It took him a while to learn the Wizards offense and build a rapport with other players last season, so expect an even better Miller next year.
Even though he’s 38, I would not worry about injuries as he plays most of the game on the ground and is never out of control. He plays slow and steady which results in a lower probability of injury. Andre Miller has become one of the leaders for the Wizards and he will be able to help young stars, Wall and Beal, improve and find their way in the league.
Final Grade: A-