Andre Miller in the Old/New Year — A Wizards Preview Series | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Andre Miller in the Old/New Year — A Wizards Preview Series

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Updated: October 9, 2015

[TAI’s preview/review series on the Wizards going forward with a look-back on those who graced the team in the past season continues. First up was Kevin Seraphin; then Paul Pierce; Alan Anderson; Otto Porter; Kris HumphriesRasual Butler; and Ramon Sessions. Now: Andre Miller, by John Converse Townsend. Read on…]

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Yesterday, TAI covered the Wizard life of Ramon Sessions. It was half a Wizard life, possibly a whole life if you’re the type that counts two rounds of the playoffs as a second NBA season.

Having read that recap, you already know that Ramon Sessions is younger than Andre Miller. The advanced stats back that up, I swear. Sessions is also faster than Miller. A better slasher than Miller. A better shooter than Miller. A better defender than Miller.

But The Professor could play, man. As a young lad, he once posterized Theo Ratliff—that was well before he stopped jumping, the secret to NBA longevity. And this grizzled tactician can still play, even with feet that pitter-patter with patience (a nice way of saying he’s slower than ever) and an outside shot that’s seen as often as a Wizards snapback in July.

“Wise generalship consists in attacking where the enemy is weakest, even if the point be some way distant,” Xenophon of Athens, student of Socrates, wrote in the 4th century BC. Miller may have been in Mr. X’s class that year, given the way he attacks defenses.

He rarely tries anything risky. And he knows exactly when he can outmatch someone. Where there’s weakness, there’s Miller, throwing a full-court pass to get behind enemy lines, or sticking it to a shrimp in the post.

All this is to say that Miller’s points per game have been going down steadily, in predictable fashion, every year since 2007-08. And that it was time for the vet to give chalk-talks in another town. “The Professor’s job on a nightly basis is to keep the Wizards’ second team afloat when the starters (mainly Wall) need a rest,” TAI’s Rashad Mobley recapped in November 2014. He simply wasn’t being asked, or paid, to be a difference maker.

In Sacramento, Miller reunited with George Karl, who believes the guard to be a top-five passer ever, to run his pace-and-space offense. “It was kind of a no-brain trade for me. This team has a passing inadequacy at times and you’re putting a Hall of Fame passer on the court,” Karl said. “That can help everybody, all the wing guys,”

T’was but a short reunion. Miller now serves as a steward in Winterfell, training young Timberwolves in diplomacy, counterintelligence, tactics, and the timeless craft of basket weaving.

Best Moment.

Press play and enjoy.

Worst Moment.

That time, in December, he got rejected by the rim.

Curious Stat.

Below, find a chart with defensive player tracking data from three of the best defenders on planet Earth.

Specifically, Diff%: the difference between the normal field goal percentage of a shooter throughout the season and the field goal percentage when the defensive player is guarding the shooter. A good defensive number will be negative, of course.

In column one, find Andre Miller’s Diff% as a Washington Wizard.

Green cells mean that, in forcing opponents to shoot a worse than average percentage, the player outperformed Miller. Red cells mean that Miller recorded a better Diff%.

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As highlighted above, Miller is not fleet of foot. So it’s no surprise that he allowed opponents to shoot a better than average 3-point field goal percentage. Closing out is hard! (Just ask Nene.)

What’s really interesting—curious even—is that when asked to defend within the arc, Miller’s advanced stats wiped the floor, figuratively, with that of the three defensive superstars I selected at random.

Sure, Miller was often matched up against backups and not, say, LeBron James, but still. All of the #savvy.

If Andre Miller were a type of food, he would be…

Popcorn. It’s been around for, like, hundreds of years. As long as there has been fire and corn. It’s a showtime staple. Prep couldn’t be easier, which is perfect for a guy whose offseason regimen is: “I have no regimen.”

And even when it’s a bit stale, you still eat it and mostly enjoy it.

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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.