Randy Wittman and Andre Miller: Random Game Facts About Their Previous Relationship (Shawn Kemp was present)
Randy Wittman coached Andre Miller as a rookie NBA player. Miller played for Wittman as a rookie NBA head coach. And it took place in Cleveland, of all places.
Narrative! Relevancy! Synergy! It’s going to work!
Now, with the band back together and Miller officially in D.C., the Washington Post’s Michael Lee on Friday relayed what Miller remembered about being coached by Randy Wittman as an NBA rookie. “Less gray hairs,” was part of his response via Lee’s tweet.
I’ll say. Judging by the image above tweeted out by @SLAMonline when the trade went down, I’m not sure Randy Wittman had any gray hairs 14 years ago (maybe it was hair product in that picture). Nonetheless, looking sharp as ever, but still working on that face.
In any case, for what Andre Miller can’t exactly remember, TAI offers the random tid-bits via Internet Google-ing from when Y2K was a thing. Enjoy.
Andre Miller got his second career game in double-figures scoring (in six tries) in a Cleveland Cavaliers 117-12 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on November 13, 1999, which was also Wittman’s fourth career head coaching victory. Late in the game with a two point lead, Cleveland’s Bob Sura stole the ball from former Florida State teammate Sam Cassell on a drive to the basket with 1.1 seconds left in the game.
“Bobby made a hell of a play. I had a great look. I thought they were going to call jump ball. He pinned the ball and then it came loose off Cassell. It was a great defensive stand,” Wittman told the Beacon Journal. Writer Chris Tomasson with more:
Nobody was more excited than Wittman, who was jumping for joy after the win and had a huge grin in the interview room.
“Wow,” Wittman said. “Obviously, I’m thrilled to death by this win.”
It was a thrilling night all around. At halftime, the Cavs retired the No. 25 jersey Mark Price wore from 1986-95.
Also, Mark Price! (Ex-Bullet / #NBAsadfaces / ‘Math‘)
From a live chat with Bob Sura on December 2, 1999 (so, not totally Andre Miller-related):
Fan Question: “I saw Randy Wittman kidding around with Shawn Kemp as he was leaving the court last night after the win over the Wizards. He seems so loose around the players. He seems very much like the proverbial ‘player’s coach.’ Is this assessment correct and if so, is he as laid back with yourself and the rest of the players as he seems?”
Bob Sura’s answer: “He has a great relationship with everyone on the team. Everyone really respects him. It’s made for a great atmosphere around here.”
When Wittman made his return to Minnesota, where he was an assistant coach from 1994-1999, as the head coach of Cleveland, his Cavs lost a tough overtime game to the Flip Saunders-led Timberwolves (their third OT loss of that week), dropping them to 26-41. Andre Miller missed a 10-foot baseline jumper with 10 seconds left in overtime that would have tied the game; Kevin Garnett and Terrell Brandon sealed the win for Minnesota. After the game, via the AP story:
Afterward, Garnett hugged Wittman, whose struggling team went into overtime for the third time in a week.
“I’m just told him good game, try to keep his head up,” Garnett said. “I know Witt. He’s just like us after a loss. He doesn’t like to say too much. We’re still friends, but we’re still competitors.”
Wittman coached both Miller and Matt Harpring on the 2000-01 Cavs. In December 2009, the Oklahoma City Thunder got Eric Maynor from the Utah Jazz in exchange for a second round pick… and their willingness to take on the contract of an injured and probably retiring Matt Harpring. At the time, Oklahoma City was lauded for getting a young, promising point guard to play behind (and at the same time as) Russell Westbrook. They even cut Shaun Livingston and Mike Wilks (both ex-Wizards) to make room for Maynor. Utah was simply trying to shed salary and OKC had the space. Maynor did play fairly well with the Thunder but then he got hurt. Then his replacement became Reggie Jackson. Then he got traded to Portland. Then the Blazers didn’t want him. Then Maynor signed with the Wizards. Now, in February 2014, Andre Miller and Maynor were both packaged in the same deal that reunited Wittman and Miller in Washington (while Maynor was sent to the City of Brotherly Love.)
Andre Miller got his first career triple-double on February 5, 2000, in a 94-102 Cavaliers loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Cleveland. It was the first triple-double by a Cavalier in five years. That game, Cleveland’s Shawn Kemp was tossed in the third quarter; Cavs coach Randy Wittman was also tossed from the game 21 seconds later.
Wittman that night (via the AP):
“I thought Shawn got fouled on the second one,” Wittman said, “and there was no call. … I have officials coming up to me saying, ‘I probably should have called that.’ But I’m tired of that.”
And so circle of life and all of that, aged grasshoppers try to navigate uncharted tricks with old dogs… Randy Wittman and Andre Miller are reunited after almost 13 years apart.