NBA AM: Andre Miller Unhappy In Denver?
The Denver Nuggets continue to thrive on the court almost a year after dealing their franchise player, Carmelo Anthony, to the New York Knicks in a blockbuster deal.
Typically, when stars depart town their absence on a team’s roster immediately ushers in long and tedious rebuilding project. However, the Nuggets are shaping up to be a clear exception to the norm in this regard. Despite lacking what many would consider a true superstar presence, Denver has maintained their winning ways due to being one of the deepest teams in the league as it relates to talent level.
Nuggets head coach George Karl has even gone on record multiple times stating his belief that a “starless” team can win a NBA title.
Part of Karl’s philosophy of winning without a star is entrenched in the belief that a team full of talented players who fully buy into their respective roles and execute with precision can overcome a team solely dependent on one or two guys.
Unfortunately, Andre Miller, one of Denver’s key veteran players, hasn’t fully bought in and isn’t content with his new-found role coming off the bench at this stage of his career.
“At this point in my career, I don’t see myself as a backup,” Miller told Chris Tomasson of FOXSports.com. “For 13 years, I wasn’t a backup before. This is a short season (due to the lockout), so I’ll deal with it. But I don’t see myself as a backup at this point in my career. I don’t see that.”
The Nuggets invested in third year guard Ty Lawson as the floor general of the future after he successfully backed up former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups who was moved as part of the Anthony deal.
Miller was acquired by the Nuggets in a draft day trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for point guard Raymond Felton.
Felton, ironically, was also unhappy with his role in Denver as a backup to Lawson.
The move for Miller was thought to provide Lawson with another veteran to help “mentor” his progress as a full-time starter.
Miller doesn’t understand this line of reasoning.
“Ty, he’s worked hard. He’s had his mentor with Chauncey Billups,” Miller said. “Why would they need me to come in and put in my two cents?”
Although it’s still early in the season, the impact of Miller moving to the bench has clearly impacted his production. The thirteen year veteran is averaging under double figures in points for the first time in his career, while shooting a career-low 40 percent from the floor.
Miller will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and while he didn’t completely rule out a return to Denver it’s clear if he returned he would be seeking a larger role.
“Probably not,” Miller said when asked about re-signing with the Nuggets. “It depends on the situation. It’s just something that you have to get used to. I don’t want to get used to it. But if the situation says that I have to stay here for a couple of years, cool. But that’s just something that I’d have to worry about later on.”‘
Willie Green Discusses New Orleans Hornets Shakeup: Last year around this time the New Orleans Hornets, led by All-Stars Chris Paul and David West, were considered by some a team poised to make some noise in the Western Conference playoff picture.
What a difference a year makes.
Paul is now the franchise centerpiece of the Los Angeles Clippers after being traded and West signed a two-year deal with the upstart Indiana Pacers in free agency.
Key role players such as shooting guard Willie Green and Aaron Gray also are no longer on the Hornets’ roster.
Green ultimately landed with the Atlanta Hawks, signing a one-year deal, but the Hornets’ sudden transformation hasn’t been lost on the nine year veteran.
Yeah it’s tough man,” Green told HOOPSWORLD on watching the Hornets’ situation unfold. “I didn’t necessarily think it would get to this point. It’s tough on coach Monty [Williams], [general manager] Dell Demps and the players there. Losing Chris, David and some other key veterans that are not there anymore. We were building something special, but that happens. That’s just the business of basketball.
Despite the loss of Paul, West and a slow start to the season, Green firmly believes New Orleans was able to acquire solid pieces in order to compete once the team gets fully healthy.
“It’s still early in the season,” Green said. “Those guys are going to go out and play hard. They can make a run. They have enough talent on that team to continue to make a run in the West. We’ll see what happens.”
With the uncertainty in New Orleans before the season Green decided to join the Hawks who were looking to add backcourt depth after Jamal Crawford’s departure to Portland.
“Great opportunity,” Green said regarding his decision to sign with the Hawks. “That’s all you can ask for from a team is to have an opportunity to come in and contribute and add to the pieces they already have in place.”
Due the lockout training camps were shortened and practice time throughout the 2012 campaign will be extremely limited which puts players on new teams at a big disadvantage to adjust to their new teammates.
Green admits he likely won’t fully adjust during the season but is using his veteran experience as a method to find other ways to fully acclimate himself in Atlanta despite the obstacles.
“I’m still adjusting,” Green admitted to HOOPSWORLD on his comfort level in Atlanta. “It’s going to be a situation where throughout the season you’re going to have to learn how to make adjustments, especially with no practice time it’s a little tougher than normal. But it’s a situation where you have to get in early for shootarounds, games and watch more film. You make your adjustments that way.”
Delonte West Wants To Retire A Boston Celtic? Eight year veteran Delonte West has played half his career with the Boston Celtics over the course of two separate stints with the franchise.
As a free agent before the season West wanted to re-sign with the club but was seeking a longer commitment from the team.
The Celtics ultimately traded for Keyon Dooling and then re-signed Marquis Daniels to round out their backcourt depth.
Meanwhile West accepted a league minimum offer to join the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
However there is little doubt in West’s mind that he’ll one day be wearing Celtics green.
“I would have loved to have finished my career in green and white,” West told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “I plan on playing in this league until you make me go. I’ll probably be back here on the other side.’’
West is averaging 8.2 points and 3.7 assists per game with the Mavericks this season and has started ten out of the club’s first eleven contests.
Although West took a minute to discuss a possible future return to Boston, he made it clear is main focus right now is still with Dallas.
“Right now I’m playing for the Dallas Mavericks and the only focus is to win,” West said.
NBA Chats: There are two chats on the schedule today. Kicking things off will be HOOPSWORLD’s Joel Brigham at 1:30pm EST. Joel covers the Chicago Bulls and Eastern Conference. Get your questions in now. Next, HOOPSWORLD newsline editor Mark Nugent will get started at 6:00pm EST. Shoot Mark a question here. You can always find a list of the upcoming chats here