Stats: 16.0 PTS, 6.7 AST, 4.2 REB, 1.2 STL, 18 PER
Andre Miller’s stats from above are better than I thought. That is the story of Andre Miller – a lack of recognition and appreciation, no matter where he played.
Andre Miller was the main return in the Allen Iverson trade, alongside two first-round picks and Joe Smith (former number one overall pick!). The AI trade marked the end of a long era, and Miller had gigantic shoes to fill. But Miller, who had been leading a run-and-gun offense in Denver, turned out to be better for this Sixers squad than Iverson was.
Miller led the Sixers to a respectable 35 wins, leading breaks and making the Sixers a very good passing team. Miller had that effect on his teammates. Unlike Iverson, as shoot-first point guard who, at his worst, ended ball movement, Miller always made sure the basketball, and the offense, moved appropriately. His laser passes were passes of legend. When his teammates got the hang of it, Miller could find the smallest holes and throw basketballs through them as if they were darts to players looking for layups or alley-oops, his signature pass. The easy offense generated for Iguodala and Kyle Korver made an admittedly terrible half-court offense tolerable, despite his inability to shoot threes.
Over his next two seasons, Miller’s numbers picked up along with the team’s performance. While the Sixers failed to break .500, the team made the playoffs each of the next two seasons with Miller at the point, his team’s second best player on each. Miller struggled against the Detroit Pistons the first year, but came back for a strong six games in the surprisingly competitive series against the eventual East Champions in Orlando. He then left as a free agent to make way for Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday to take over as the future at the point guard spot.
Miller was never the perfect player. As I mentioned earlier, he could not shoot his way out of glass. He wasn’t a great defender either – he never had the body-type of a great defender or the quickness of smaller point guards. But he did have, and to this point still has, a strong understanding of basketball, always knowing where to position himself against his opponents. He always knew how to approach a screen, whether to post his opponent up, or whether to let Kyle Korver runs around screens until he finally found an opening. Andre Miller was a special talent whose time in Philadelphia was too short for my liking. And like always, he hasn’t received the appreciation he deserves for what he did for the Sixers. With his time here, Miller earns the 18th spot on my list.
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