The Professor Joins The Spurs
By: Lorne Chan Spurs.com
When he faced the Spurs 46 times in his 17-year NBA career, Andre Miller didn’t know it, but he had a few fans on the opposing bench.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Miller was always a player he’d hope to have on his roster.
That hope became a reality on Monday, when Miller, the NBA’s active leader in assists, signed with the Spurs.
Nicknamed “The Professor” for his on-court wisdom, Miller joins the Spurs after Minnesota bought out his contract last week.
Miller, 39, is ninth all-time with 8,495 career assists and has averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 assists for his career.
“His basketball IQ is off the charts,” Popovich said. “What a consummate pro. Tough-minded, disciplined, and he’ll pick things up very quickly…he’s one of those players you look at and say, ‘boy, I can figure out how to fit him in.’”
Miller said he’s excited to be a Spur after playing against Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for more than a decade. On Tuesday, Parker called Miller “one of the best point guards of the past 10 to 15 years.”
The eighth overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft, Miller played college basketball at Utah. He guided the Utes to the 1998 Final Four at the Alamodome, then the home of the Spurs.
A 6-foot-3 guard known for his post-up game, Miller has played for eight other NBA teams, including in Portland, where he was a teammate of LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills, and Washington, where he played with Rasual Butler.
In 26 games with Minnesota this season, Miller averaged 3.4 points and 2.2 assists in 10.8 minutes.
“At this point in my career, I wanted to find a team that could enjoy a playoff run," Miller said. "I haven’t had that opportunity.”
Miller, who once had a streak of 632 consecutive games played, has played in 1,291 career regular season games and 63 playoff games. In 2013-14, Miller reached the second round for the first time in his career with Washington.
Although Miller has played in 985 more regular season games than Kawhi Leonard’s 306, Leonard has been in two more playoff games.
“Not too many guys get this opportunity, especially at my age,” Miller said. “I want to soak it in, be a professional and at the same time enjoy it.”