Denver Nuggets player reviews: Andre Miller

Veteran point guard continued to move up the franchise career assist list in 2011-12.
by Aaron Lopez

With the 2011-12 season in the books, is taking a closer at the team’s primary rotation players and how they fared during a challenging 66-game schedule. Denver assistant coach Chad Iske was kind enough to provide candid assessments, which reflect the views of the Nuggets coaching staff as a whole.

Today’s featured player is point guard Andre Miller, who re-signed with the Nuggets on July 11 after averaging a team-leading 6.7 assists off the bench last season.

Acquired on draft night in 2011, Miller unselfishly accepted a reserve role in 2011-12, but he was a “backup” in title alone. He played the third-most minutes on the team and was a regular member of coach George Karl’s fourth-quarter lineup.

“It was a humbling experience,” Miller said. “Being a starter pretty much my whole career and having to come to this situation and deal with a new role, I enjoyed it.”

Miller, 36, also continued to be a model of durability, playing in every game for the ninth time in his 13 NBA seasons. He separated his right shoulder on March 19 but went on to play the final 20 games of the regular season and the playoffs.

Along the way, Miller reached some impressive milestones. On Feb. 2, he played in his 1,000th career game. More remarkably, he accomplished the feat while missing only four games due to injury.

On Feb. 22, Miller moved past Michael Adams for third place on Denver’s career assist list. Later in the season, he supplanted Maurice Cheeks for 10th place in NBA history.

Now with 2,397 assists in a Denver uniform (and 7,472 overall), Miller has an opportunity to set the franchise record held by Alex English (3,679).

Chad Iske’s 2011-12 Evaluation
“Andre’s a warrior. He plays through injuries and shows up every day to do his job to the best of his ability. He didn’t necessarily have a great game every night, but you knew he was going to be there. Plus, he makes everybody around him better by getting them involved and making them feel a part of the offense.
“With a young team, he helps the coaching staff, too. George loves the point guard to take charge and Andre’s somebody who orchestrates the offense on his own.”

Summer Improvements
“He embraced the three-point shot a little bit. If he’s open, we want him to shoot it. We worked on it. As important as it is to the game, we’d love for him to continue to try and improve that. He’s going to get those looks all the time. Everybody knows how dangerous he is in all other areas, so they’re going to live with him doing that.”

Two Words That Best Describe Miller
"Unbelievably underrated”

Game to Remember
With the Nuggets on the road facing elimination, Miller scored 24 points and handed out eight assists to help Denver beat the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Western Conference playoffs. Miller also went 2-for-2 from three-point range and committed just one turnover in 28 minutes.

Stat That Bears Re-Tweeting
15 – Number of games that Miller recorded at least seven assists while committing fewer than three turnovers. His assist-to-turnover ratio in those 15 games was 136-to-23.

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