Miller is the one to build around
(Sports Network) – He’s not Pistol Pete or Isiah Thomas, but 76ers point guard
Andre Miller is a throwback in his own kind of way.
Miller has a pass-first mentality which is quite rare today in an NBA draped
with bling, head bands, tattoos and issues both on and off the court. Even
though the Sixers are pathetic right now, Miller and a few other players
bring hope to what lies ahead.
The former Utah standout was acquired by the Sixers from Denver in the Allen
Iverson trade, and Philadelphia is 5-9 since the deal. Miller has posted four
double-doubles with the 76ers and has an assist to turnover ratio of 3.15
through 35 games this season (6th in the NBA).
Sixers head coach Maurice Cheeks certainly appreciates what Miller adds to the
mix, especially being a former point guard in the NBA. Much like Cheeks,
Miller has the ability to get everyone on the court involved with no-look
passes and, most importantly, confidence in his teammates.
The last Sixers player to record 20 assists in one game was Cheeks on October
30, 1982 when he dished out 21 versus New Jersey. Wilt Chamberlain posted
the first 20-assist effort in franchise history with 21 against Detroit on
February 2, 1968.
Miller, who is fourth in the league with 8.8 assists per game, has two career
outings with 20 or more assists. He will obviously be in some nice company if
he can reach that mark again.
With Miller the Sixers have the perfect point guard for the development of
their younger players, including Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert, Rodney
Carney and Kyle Korver.
Dalembert has stepped up his game as of late, averaging 14.2 points, 11.2
rebounds and 3.60 blocks over his previous five contests. Dalembert, often
criticized for his lack of presence in the middle, has nine games with 10 or
more rebounds this season.
Young guard Willie Green has been making the papers with averages of 19.3
points over his last four games, including a 30-point effort against Milwaukee
on January 12.
Meanwhile, former Sixer Chris Webber is still searching for employment but has
some offers on the table. Webber, a five-time All-Star, was just waived on
January 11 and averaged 17.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists over 114
contests with Philadelphia. But too many injuries and lack of production had
Webber seeing the door earlier than expected.
The Sixers, who have lost five of their last six games overall, will play four
of their next five games in front of their home crowd. That’s good for Philly
because it has dropped 19 of the last 21 games away from home.