I am not disappointed that we have added Andre Miller to our team. I think his ability to create easy opportunities for himself and others is exactly what this team needs. I do think that Ramon Sessions is a very similar player who we could have gotten for similar $$ per year (obviously would have been a longer deal and more guaranteed money). It is uncommon for a GM to look at two players with similar skill sets and similar salary demands and choose the older player who is past his prime and less likely to improve his skills.
However, there are reasons that KP made the choice that he made...
1) He liked the fact that Miller is an experienced veteran. Sessions had only been in the league one full season. We know what we are getting in Miller unless his age starts to really affect his game. Sessions is riskier to lock into a contract that is longer and may be a burden in the future if he doesn't produce at a high level. The downside to the experienced veteran is that Miller will have hung it up by the time some of our young guys reach their prime.
2) Bayless and Sessions duplicate each other. They are, in fact, both young PGs who rely on their penetration skills to produce. Sessions would have taken minutes from Bayless, but so does Miller unless Blake is dealt which is unlikely prior to the season based on KP's comments. I think this argument fails. Sessions has produced Andre Miller type numbers in the NBA. Bayless has produced solid numbers as a undersized "2" in summer league. I believe KP believes Bayless can develop into a solid PG with Miller here. Why couldn't the same thing happen if Sessions was here. If Bayless and Sessions were to both develop into quality young starting PGs... Great! Move one for another piece of the puzzle.
3) We wanted a player with playoff experience. This is an argument that isn't going to move opinions on these players. If you like Miller you would point out that he's been there and as recently as last season had solid numbers in the post-season (his points were up, his assists were down compared to the regular season). On the other hand, he has never won a playoff series. Hardly a wealth of playoff success.
4) We didn't want to wait the 7 days to see if the Bucks would match. At that point Miller could have been gone. We could have made a play for Sessions much earlier and at this point he would be ours or matched with Miller still on the market. This is only an issue because we waited until this late date in the process. I don't necessarily disagree that this was a bit of an issue after making Hedo and Millsap our initial targets. On the other hand, I'm not sure what teams out there were going to entice Miller to sign quickly. Knicks were offering a 1 year deal for the MLE. Was that going to get Andre excited? How bad will the Knicks be this year?
5) Bucks were going to match whatever offer Sessions signed. Could be! That didn't stop us from signing Millsap. I do think we would have had to overpay a bit. In other words, take a bit of a risk. I think we could have landed Sessions with a 4-year $28M offer. I think that is overpaying a bit, but that's how it works for RFA's. Miller is less risk, but for the same $7M/year is he that much less risk? It all depends on whether you view Sessions as a young Andre Miller clone. Is it risky to not know who your starting PG will be 2-3 years from now? Millsap was a target and we were willing to wait and risk failing in the attempt. Sessions was not targeted. That's the point of this post. I hope we don't regret that.
6) Blazers didn't view Sessions as an upgrade over what they had already. If that's the case, how can they make the case that Miller is an upgrade over Blake. Again, Sessions' skill set = Miller's skill set. Even if you believe that Blake fits best with Roy, isn't an upgrade in PG depth the Blazers most pressing need currently? Bayless believers may disagree, but is it really that bad of an option to make Bayless earn his minutes by his performance rather than gifting him minutes due to his draft status?
I like Andre Miller. I'm glad we signed him. The deal is a fair deal for what he brings. He was the one player we could sign (we tried but couldn't sign Hedo) and not have another GM decide whether we'd keep him or not (ie Millsap, Lee, Sessions). I do think if we had targeted Sessions earlier we would have been able to land Miller for a similar deal even had the Bucks matched our offer. KP has a good track record on most things. The possible exception is identifying young talented PGs. Let's all root for Bayless to continue with his work ethic and become a scoring PG that can effectively direct the Blazer's offense. Let's hope that Miller continues to be an iron-man and his skills stay sharp thru his contract. Let's hope we can find a way to utilize Steve Blake's shooting skills and other talents off the bench. Let's even root for Sessions to land a lucrative contract and have success with whichever team he ends up with... just, perhpas, not so much success that we look back and regret letting him get away.