Andre Miller brings stability, production to Nuggets

Re-signing veteran point guard ranks as one of Denver's most underrated moves
by Aaron Lopez

During a busy offseason, the Denver Nuggets added three players in the draft, re-signed young free-agent center JaVale McGee, traded for All-Star and Olympian Andre Iguodala and agreed to a contract extension with starting point guard Ty Lawson.

The most underrated move of the summer took place on July 11 when the Nuggets re-signed veteran point guard Andre Miller.

Capable of starting for any team in the NBA, Miller returned to back up the speedy Lawson and serve as a calming influence in coach George Karl’s uptempo pass-oriented offense.

“It gave the organization and the coaches a freedom to pursue how to make the team better,” Karl said after practice Wednesday. “The foundation had to be there.

Ty needs someone to push him and support him. If you got an injury, having a guy who could start and give you starting performances is a luxury in this league.”

Denver enjoyed that luxury Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. With Lawson sidelined by a strained left Achilles’ tendon, Miller stepped into the starting lineup and helped guide the Nuggets to a 92-78 victory.

Miller, a starter in his first 12 NBA seasons, finished with 12 points and a season-high 12 assists in 41 minutes.

“(Karl) asked me if I was tired or not, and it was one of those games that wasn’t as uptempo as people thought,” Miller said. “It was kind of a methodical game, so I kind of fell into some time where I could find a little rest on the court.”

With Lawson listed as day-to-day heading into Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miller could be in line for another heavy workload.

“I doubt it would be as many minutes,” Miller said, “but whatever the team needs.”

Miller, now in his 14th NBA season, is two points from 15,000 in his career. He will become the eighth player in league history to record at least 15,000 points and 7,500 assists. That list includes Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and John Stockton.

In typical Miller fashion, he shrugged at the mention of the milestone.

“Being out there enough, I guess it’s an accomplishment,” he said. “That’s a good deal.”

When Miller became a free agent last summer, many observers thought he would seek an opportunity to be a starter elsewhere. In the end, his family situation was a key reason for staying in Denver.

“Having my house here and having a new baby played a part in not wanting to be moving all around,” Miller said.

It was a win-win situation. Comfortable both on and off the court, Miller is averaging 8.6 points and 5.4 assists while providing the Nuggets with stability and leadership.

Such traits should never be underrated.