Andre Miller has been a terrific player for the Denver Nuggets over his 7 year tenure with the team. From day one he was a George Karl favourite, a guy he could rely upon to make smart decisions and to be a calming and steady influence in a team that once housed the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and J. R. Smith. During his time in the Mile High City he has consistently succeeded even though he was the ‘anti-thesis’ to the kind of basketball the team played – while everyone wanted to run, this wasn’t his style of play. What made him such a crucial part of the team was his ability to ‘look up’ and find the outlet pass that often ended in an easy bucket. He was able to use his size to post up many smaller point guards which forced teams to use bigger, stronger wings on him, which allowed others the opportunity to score easy points. His shooting range was never all that good, and his defence was not strong either, but he was a leader in the locker room and a highly consistent and durable player that could be relied upon to give 100% each and every night. But those days are over. The moment Miller decided that Brian Shaw would be the target of his frustrations at his first career DNP-CD it also sealed his fate.
Firstly, Brian Shaw cannot be seen to accept that sort of response from any player at the club. If Shaw decides that someone is not required during a particular game then that player needs to be mature enough to respect that decision. Anyone could understand a player becoming frustrated at a lack of playing time over a long period of time, but Miller’s reaction was juvenile and cannot be accepted by anyone within the organization. If you want a culture that breeds teamwork and a winning mentality then you can’t have a toxic part of that anywhere on the bench. If there is, it has to go, and unfortunately that player is now Andre Miller. There are many Nugget fans who have a soft spot for Miller, and to be honest I’m one of them, but if we’re serious about Denver becoming a legitimate contender then Miller has to go.
But this shouldn’t be the only reason that we are looking to move him on. It may sound hypocritical of me to say this, as I’m championing the idea of moving ‘Dre on, but he still has plenty to offer to the right team and even at the age of 37 we can still get something ‘juicy’ in return if we can find the right deal. We aren’t in a position where we are trying to offload a bad contract or a player who is in a steep decline. We are looking a trading a player who can still have an impact for a variety of teams across the NBA and we can get something of value in return. With Lawson playing some of the most consistent basketball of his career and having Nate Robinson and Randy Foye as more than capable backups, we have little need for Miller and we can turn him into something we do need.
It may seem as though I’m stating the obvious here, but what we need to realize is that Denver has been underachieving for far too long, and at some stage we need to take a stand and do the right thing for the organization going forward. And that stand can start with trading Andre Miller and sending a message to the other 14 players that, if you’re not with us 100%, then you won’t be with us at all. And as a Denver Nugget fan that’s the exact message I want to see delivered, and to be delivered quickly.