Andre Miller: The Unsung Hero
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 03/17/2010 1:19 PM

    Andre Miller: The Unsung Hero

    Andre Miller

    If a poll asked Blazer fans about their take on Team MVP, I'm sure the majority of votes would go to Brandon Roy, rightfully so, a reigning 2nd Team All-NBA performer and 3-time All-Star. A handful would select LaMarcus Aldridge as the most valuable, due to his ability to take the squad to a higher level when he is playing to his potential. The remaining few may point out the Trail Blazers recent trend of winning 9 of 11 has to do with Nicolas Batum being inserted into the starting lineup. Just as he was overlooked and passed by during free agency, Andre Miller ended up being the top free agent signee of 2009 and, to date, Portland's MVP.

    While the likes of Hedo Turkoglu, Charlie Villanueva, and Ben Gordon headlined the '09 free agent crop, each of those players has not lead their team to winning records through mid-March, have seen their numbers drop significantly, and all garnered immense, multi-year contracts in the $50 million range. On the other hand, Dre had no suitors. His former team Philadelphia decided to go in another direction and was even passed over by Portland twice, thought of more so as a backup plan than anything else. Even at the time of the signing, it was thought KP was trying to salvage something with the team's cap space after being burnt twice already.

    Feeling slighted already by the fact no one mentions his name as one of the game's 10 best point guards, Andre went about his business, using the feeling of being unsought after in the open market to fuel his fire. Not only were many other GM's guilty of failing to notice Miller's value, so were many of the Trail Blazer fans. The signing of Andre divided fans as the Willamette does the city of Portland. One side represented supporters of bringing in Andre, knowing his veteran presence and rock-solid consistency would be an asset to an already young Trail Blazer team. The other viewed Dre as a horrible compliment to Roy, who prefers to play with the ball in his hands and arugued Steve Blake was a much better fit due to his ability to knock down jump shots, a knock on Miller his entire career (.212 from 3). Nothing new to Andre, rather increasing an already large chip on his shoulder used to drive his motivation.

    As the summer-long debate blew up radio airways and internet message boards, Miller quietly went about his duties heading into training camp when it was time to prove he should be the starting point guard. After a pre-season in which he completely outplayed Blake, Miller was still delegated to the bench after it was rumored Coach Nate sat down with both players, letting them know whomever will start will win the job during the pre-season. Media tried to spin it as a better "fit" as Blake could play alongside Roy while Dre could lead the younger, less experienced 2nd unit. After a lethargic and unexpected 2-3 start to the season, Andre was inserted into the starting line which propelled Portland to win six in a row. Only one catch, Blake was the shooting guard, pushing Roy to small forward, a move forcing him to guarding bigger, stronger, and faster players. Although the move resulted in the Blazers longest winning streak of the season, many knew it wasn't a long-term fit. Roy was getting unhappy playing out of his natural position, so the Miller signing still felt like trying to stick a square peg into a round hole.

    After being added to the starting lineup on November 6th, just 15 days later on November 21st, Andre found himself back on the bench, despite being 7-2 as the starting point guard, as Portland went with a more traditional lineup, moving Roy back to the 2 and Webster replacing him as the small forward. Not only did Dre's production fall off, averaging pedestrian numbers of 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists through November, but the entire team was inconsistent due to numerous factors, from having too many players needing playing time to undefined roles. Suddenly the once thought-to-be darkhorse team to dethrone the Lakers had to worry about simply making the playoffs. After a 1-3 road trip putting the Trail Blazers record at a uninspiring 14-11, it was time for change. Insert Andre Miller.

    On December 15th, Andre was the given the keys to the offense and this time he had Roy alongside him, not Blake. Andre's steady hand has lead the Trail Blazers to a 27-17 record since his permanent fixture as Portland's starting point guard as well as putting the Blazers on pace to win 50 games in back to back seasons for the first time since 99-00/00-01, an amazing feat considering all the injuries this team has dealt with. A season that saw both centers, Oden and Przybilla, end their seasons in December with kneecap injuries, felt the absence of Roy for nearly a month with a nagging hamstring injury, and only had Martell Webster and Andre Miller as the only two Blazers to play in all 69 games to date. While Roy was out the majority of January, Andre did his finest work as a Trail Blazer, posting season-high month averages of 18.8 points on 50% field goal shooting, 6.7 assists, 4 rebounds, and doing so by logging 36 minutes a night on his 33 year-old body. Highlights included his 52 point, superhuman performance in a 114-112 victory in Dallas.

    The bottom line is even though Portland has more talented players, without the consistency Miller brought to the table every night, with every other Blazers seemingly in and out of the lineup with injuries, Portland would be no where near the playoff race right now. There would be no Rip City Uprise 2010. At a point and multiple points during the season where it felt like all hope was lost for the 2010 Blazers, Dre always made that one important play to secure the win and always keep our heads afloat in the Western Conference playoff race, never allowing the Trail Blazers to fall below the 8th and final playoff spot. At 33, he still has impressive numbers, averaging 13.7 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game. Based on his Per 36 minutes production, his stats are as comparable if not better than the previous 3-4 years (16 pts, 6.4 asts, 3.9 rebs) so I don't think Dre plans on slowing down anytime soon. I doubt there will be any more debates as to whether Andre can play with Brandon or who should be the starting point guard for the 2011 Trail Blazers. For once in his career, he won't be overlooked or underestimated; he's earned himself that much.

    I am a fan of
  1. mario250775
    mario250775
    Posts: 197

    Posted 03/20/2010 1:18 PM

    to be honest at the start of the season I did not believe that Miller can play good with Roy and Aldridge but now I think that with him Blazers can reach palyoffs and maybe even better ?!
    I am a fan of Portland Trail Blazers, RIP CITY !!!
  1. Louis
    Louis
    Posts: 10

    Posted 03/23/2010 9:03 PM

          Andre Miller is my Blazer "MVP" for the season.  He is our workhorse...junkyard dog....ALWAYS plays hard and give it his all....I was pretty upset with how people talked
    about how he "didn't fit".  I think Roy pouted when Andre was taking control of games....He lost touches because Blake was either not in the game or gone....After what
    I have witnessed this season so far...I'm not so sure that Brandon Roy is our No. 1 to be holding the ball when the game is on the line. 

        Dear Mr. Roy, please learn to play well with others....Andre can only compliment your game. 

    Go Blazers !! 
    I am a fan of The Portland Trailblazers
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 03/23/2010 11:25 PM

    I only hope Dre's talent can stay steady for another year or so, so he can be able to make Oden into a much better player.
    I am a fan of
  1. ClydeFrog
    ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 03/24/2010 12:11 AM

    I believe only the Warriors have missed more games due to injury this year than the Blazers, and if it weren't for Dre, we'd be right there with them..sitting at about 20 wins, praying the Draft Lotto turns out for the best. Instead, we are locked in for a playoff push, possibly moving up as many as 3 slots as the chase heats up. Imagine what our record could have been had we just started Dre all along like he should have been?
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. Kim~
    Kim~
    Posts: 1137

    Posted 03/24/2010 6:05 PM

    IDK frog, it was going to be an adjustment with Roy and Miller getting used to each other. Even though it took longer than expected, hindsight is 20/20. 

    What matters is how they play together in the playoffs, and they both need to step it up on defense ;)
    I am a fan of scrapping !
  1. mwoodson
    mwoodson
    Posts: 4

    Posted 03/25/2010 6:48 PM

    I agree with the prior comments that the Blazers would NOT be where they are this season but for the consistent and focused play of Andre.  Look at his stats since his college years; they are still up there.  He does not get the recognition as one of the best point guards because he is not a flashy, media type of player.   It's always about the team.  Thank you, Andre for coming to Portland.  You've made it a fun and successful year.
    I am a fan of Andre Miller. Love all you guys but it has been a real pleasure to watch Andre's intelligent, dedicated playing. A true professional.
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 03/26/2010 11:26 AM

    Chalk up another Blazers win last night for Dre. Although it was a TOTAL team effort, he really got the team off and running. He was looking ahead at all times and even made the pass which lead to the assist being made or a "hockey "assist. He completely outplayed Kidd and hit a few clutch mid-range jumpers to keep Dallas at bay. I am so thankful we landed him in free agency; Hedo would have been a disaster.
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