There has been some discussion about whether or not Andre Miller will start over Steve Blake. No more discussion is needed, Miller is your starter no question at all. All you Blake-o-philes out there need to save your complaints, Miller is superior in nearly every statistical category, and if you believe what the Philly people are saying Miller is high in intensity and spirit as well. Having had a personal calendar that he marked every game as a W or an L for the 76ers this past season as well as tallying the wins the Sixers would need to make the playoffs each month, Miller clearly cares about winning. And Miller even guided his team to the NCAA Championship game just like Blake (however Blake did win the game)
Let's compare the career lines and just see how dominant Miller's career per game numbers are compared to Blake's:
Totals are Career per game stats
Andre Miller - Pts: 14.6 Ast: 7.4 Reb: 4.2 Stl: 1.4 TO: 2.7 FT%: 80.2 FG%: 46.0 3FG%: 21.0
Steve Blake - Pts: 7.6 Ast: 4.2 Reb: 2.1 Stl: 0.7 TO: 1.4 FT%: 78.4 FG%: 41.0 3FG%: 39.2
Andre Miller has had a longer career and while he has played almost 18,000 more minutes than Blake, he has done it all while never missing more than 2 games in a season which is simply an astounding statistic. He has played at least 80 games in all ten years of his career. This guy clearly is a gamer.
In points, rebounds, and steals he doubles Blake's production per game. In assists he nearly doubles it, he has a higher FG% (impacted by his greater ability to drive to the rim) and somewhat surprisingly Miller is a better free throw shooter over his career by a couple percentage points.
And what of the complaints about his 3 point shooting? Well the statistics clearly show that Blake is more competent at the three point line. In fact, by NBA standards Miller certainly seems lost beyond 22 feet. However, fear not Blazers fans. On this front Miller certainly seems to fit McMillan's ideals: he knows he isn't good at shooting three's so he doesn't shoot three's.
What a novel idea right? An NBA player who is cognizant of an actual weakness? In Miller's entire career his highest per game average of 3pt FGA is only 1.4, and his career average of attempts per game from three is a very modest 0.7. That doesn't sound like a guy who hucks up hopeless three ball after hopeless three ball to me does it? Compare Miller's per game 3 point attempts to Blake's (3.1) and you'll see that Miller doesn't need to be a shooter.
So in conclusion, Andre Miller is your opening day point guard barring unforeseen injury. There are no if's and's or but's about it. And I haven't even mentioned the fact that Miller will be making 3 million more dollars than Blake. Find me another backup PG in the league who makes 3 million dollars less than the starter and we'll discuss benching Miller. Until then just be happy that the Blazers have (FINALLY!!!!) made a big free agent signing that seals up one of the positions they've been looking to improve (the other being backup PF).
And if you're really cranky and you just love Blake and you wear your #2 jersey that you had to get made at the custom stand to bed every night then just think of this: Steve Blake will now be matched up against weaker point guards every night. He will be able to direct the Blazers very capable second unit using his sound decision making, passing, and shooting that will slice and dice every other NBA team's second unit.
Blake will thrive in this situation. Miller will thrive in this situation. And best of all the Blazers will thrive!
Tentative 2009-2010 Blazers Depth Chart:
PG: Miller, Blake, Bayless
SG: Roy, Rudy, (Webster possibly?)
SF: Webster, Outlaw, Batum (Cunningham?)
PF: Aldridge, Pendergraph, (Cunningham?)
C: Oden, Przybilla