Why ask Andre Miller who he would start? Miller is a veteran. He admittedly has as high a basketball IQ as any player on the team. He is a point guard who led a weak Philadelphia squad into the playoffs. And he led that team to a 2-and-0 record over the Blazers last season.
Andre Miller was asked if he expects to start. He said he has always started. I presume if asked whether he would start himself, he would say "Yes."
Miller would start by filling out the starting roster with our big pieces. At shooting guard, I have little doubt. He'd chose Roy. You start All-Star, Second Team NBA players. And do we have a viable option to starting LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward? (For those BEdgers who think KP's done, tell me what you do if LMA has to sit out a month.)
Miller has had a look at our small forwards. While Martell has more experience , Batum gave the Blazers equal stats last year in blocks, rebs, steals, and assists in half the minutes that Martell played in 07-08 when last he was healthy. Martell might get the nod from deep, but Nic shoots very well, too, has a game growing by leaps and bounds, and plays lock down D.
Some say that we need to stretch the court. "With Miller in there, you have got to surround him with shooters because he has trouble shooting from the outside and the opponent will clog the middle and double Roy."
I disagree. Miller is a creator on offense. Miller isn't paid because he's a lock-down defender. He's paid because he makes everyone around him a better scorer. In the starting line-up so far, you have Roy and LMA, both excellent scorers.
It's a guess, but I'm guessing Miller wants to start the overall better player here, and Miller thinks that's Batum.
"But if I start Nic, I gotta have another scorer."
And that answer is obvious. At center, Miller starts Oden. People want to blame our bigs for failing to get on the low blocks and hammer the middle. The same people probably blamed Z-Bo for being a black hole. (OK, everybody blamed Z-Bo for being a black hole.)
If I am Miller, I know I play better with Oden -- Pryzbilla can score but he will not be dominant. I know I make Oden better. I make everyone on the court a viable threat in the offense. And that is how I stretch the defense, by making every player a legitimate scorer. "If my offense is different, sorry. Will we have trouble scoring? If I thought that, I wouldn't have been pushing to come here."
PG - Andre Miller
SG - B.Roy
SF - Batum
PF - LMA
C - Greg Oden
Why should we listen to Andre Miller? The starting lineup of Blake-Roy-Batum-LMA-Pryzbilla was one of the more efficient offense teams in the league last year. They played credible defense. And with Joel in the middle, they were a fine rebounding team. But they were the same starting five that put us in a hole coming out of the gates time and again last season. The same starting five that Nate stuck with until too late in the first round against Houston -- the team that had shooters. The Blazers had home court and were ousted in 6 -- because the first team couldn't create shot opportunities for those shooters.
Maybe we shouldn't listen to Andre Miller. The Blazers won 54 games last year without him.
But we got Miller for a reason. Because of his basketball IQ. Because he makes those around him better. I say, let him earn his money. Start these guys and see if he's right.