Monday , Jul , 27 , 2009 Oly Sandor

More than convenience: How Portland and Andre Miller are a match

If nothing else, it appeared convenient. Portland, after losing out on Paul Millsap and Hedo Turkoglu, wanted to land a big-ticket free agent with their cap space. And Andre Miller, a veteran point guard and respected name, wanted money and term in a buyer’s market. So they hooked up …


More than convenience: How Portland and Andre Miller are a match


If nothing else, it seemed convenient.

Portland, after losing out on Paul Millsap and Hedo Turkoglu, wanted to land a big-ticket free agent with their cap space. And Andre Miller, a veteran point guard and respected name, wanted money and term in a buyer’s market.

So they hooked up.

Over the weekend, the Trail Blazers inked Miller to a three-year, $21 million pact. The team got some press; the player got some security. But neither side settled because this pairing has the potential to propel ‘Rip City’ up the Western Conference standings.

Miller can create and set-up others. For years, the table-setter made his living getting to the hoop and taking smaller players to the block. Miller, a gifted passer, would then use these tools to draw double-teams and kick to teammates. This should continue in Portland.

Few teams succeed using a point guard by committee. This signing provides much-need clarity to the rotation in Portland. Miller will get the majority of minutes because he’s the starter, while Steve Blake’s future is uncertain with youngster Jerryd Bayless quickly developing.

There are concerns. Will Miller, an average shooter with limited three-point range, punish defences for helping on Brandon Roy? And can the Blazers’ chemistry handle Miller, a good guy who typically gets heavy minutes?

Yes. And yes.

Portland can get around their newest addition’s mediocre jumper in a couple of ways. First, put him in spots that suit his skill-sets. For instance, run plays for Miller below the three-point line, which is within his range. Second, the team can always hire a shooting coach and tell Miller to put in work.   

Figuring out playing time will be tougher, especially when dealing with a line-up of hungry youngsters. Fortunately, Coach Nate McMillan has the voice and track record to preach team-first basketball in Portland. As a commanding sideline boss, McMillan gets respect from his roster. Years back, he sacrificed minutes, so Gary Payton could blossom and eventually lead the Sonics. He’ll make sure Miller fits in.

Miller and Portland weren’t each other’s first choice. Still, their partnership, while convenient, can also be successful.

Will Miller work out in Rip City? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of bucko73us.