Denver Nuggets Player Review: Andre Miller

Veteran point guard brought leadership, consistency to second unit
by Aaron Lopez

Dependability stands 6-feet, 2-inches tall and can throw a perfect lob pass from anywhere on the floor.

Few things in sports are as consistent as Andre Miller.

For the 10th time in 14 NBA seasons, the veteran point guard played in every game while providing leadership, scoring and playmaking for the Denver Nuggets in 2012-13.

Miller, 37, averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 assists while serving as the backup for starting point guard Ty Lawson. He anchored one of the league’s top benches and often was on the floor with Lawson to finish games in the fourth quarter.

“One of the most underrated things in the NBA, and sports in general, is the ability to do it every day,” Nuggets assistant Chad Iske said. “The leadership he shows all our young players by just being there every day is an underrated thing.”

As Denver’s oldest player, Miller is never shy about speaking up during timeouts or in the locker room. Coach George Karl trusts him with the play calls in the way a baseball manager trusts his catcher to call pitches.

“He makes everybody better with the way he orchestrates the offense,” Iske said. “He knows where to get a guy touches and how to reward a guy for running the floor or making a great stop defensively. He keeps the team in harmony out there. It’s invaluable.”

Miller proved his worth in Game 1 of Denver’s first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.

Flashing his full repertoire, Miller scored from 3-point range, midrange and close range while pouring in 18 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter. His driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining was the difference in a 97-95 victory.

“He said he had never had a game-winner,” Iske said. “To have it on that stage was incredible. He’s such a low-key guy. To see him smile and see his teammates mob him was a great feeling for everybody. You’re really happy for him.”

The exuberance was tempered as the Nuggets lost to Golden State in six games, leaving Miller seeking his first career playoff series victory.

For a guy who plays every day and is one of only eight players in NBA history with at least 15,000 career points and 7,500 assists, postseason success is the only thing missing from a remarkable resume.

March 19, 2013 at Oklahoma City Thunder
Efficient and effective, Miller scored a then season-high 20 points and added nine assists and seven rebounds in 23 minutes of Denver’s 114-104 victory over the Thunder. For an encore, Miller had 21 points and eight assists to help the Nuggets beat the Philadelphia 76ers.

Miller has played in 417 consecutive regular-season games as a member of the Nuggets. He played in 269 games from 2004-06 and he has played in 148 since re-signing with Denver in 2011. In his 14-year NBA career, Miller has missed just four due to injury.

2013-14 OUTLOOK
With Miller entering his 15th season, keeping him rested and productive will be a priority. He played 26.2 minutes in 2012-13, which was the lowest average since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Expect to see Miller stay around the 25-minute mark off the bench while playing another 82 games next season.