The 2014 calendar year began with a bang for Andre Miller — and not in a good way. During a Jan. 1 contest against Philadelphia, Miller got into a shouting match with Denver Coach Brian Shaw on the sideline, resulting in a two-game suspension that extended into a seven-week exile and ultimately, a February trade to the Washington Wizards.
Both the Wizards and Miller benefited from the move. Miller, who saw Washington as a favorable destination, rediscovered his passion and role as a on-court leader, while the Wizards gained a strong veteran voice to help the development of all-star guard John Wall and invigorate the team’s second unit.
The Wizards’ run to the Eastern Conference semifinals marked Miller’s first appearance in the second round of the playoffs. Here are three numbers from a memorable season for the 15-year veteran:
Miller’s age, making him the fifth-oldest active NBA player. Needless to say, Miller is in the twilight of his career but that hasn’t changed his ability to impact games. Since he was drafted by Cleveland in 1999, he has displayed an old-school, calculated approach on the court. He continues to post up smaller guards, break out crafty moves and make plays with his court vision. With age came a necessary dose of wisdom for the Wizards’ starting back court of Wall and Bradley Beal and infused the team’s reserve unit with a sound brand of basketball that had been missing at the backup point-guard position for some time now.
Assists per game in 28 regular season games with the Wizards. This season marked the first time in Miller’s 15-year career that he didn’t average at least 5.4 assists per contest. Granted, a number of factors played into this, including his issues in Denver and limited 14.7 minutes per game as a reserve with the Wizards. The diminished total will play a role in the decision by the Wizards’ front office to bring back Miller but there’s another number they will likely consider, too — his average of just 1.0 turnovers per game, again showing his poised, effective play.
Shot attempts per game by Miller with the Wizards. Unlike many guards, Miller doesn’t need to score or even shoot to be effective on the court. He rarely attempts shots outside the paint and when he does drive to the lane, Miller is typical looking for an open teammate to whom he can dump off a pass. These attributes made him a key member in Washington’s “AARP Group” off the bench along with Al Harrington and Drew Gooden.