Let me open this thread by stating Andre Miller is an extraordinary player. He's crafty, intelligent, clutch from the stripe, and overall a terrific offensive player. His game streak (which remains uninterrupted as far as I'm concerned) is a testament to his commitment to the game, and he is always going to leave a lasting impression anywhere he goes. Taking out Blake Griffin the other night was great, and shows that he knows how to send a message (and get away with for the night, at least). He's a hero for his accomplishments, and it's people like him that make the NBA worth watching.
But on Tuesday night we were treated with Patty Mills playing extended minutes at PG for the first time in his NBA career. And it was fun. It was probably the most fun I've had during a game all season (and I was listening to it on NBA audio league pass). There has been a lasting warm vibe throughout the blogs ever since our win the other night that feels like a breath of fresh air. Mills has a full offensive game, with the ability to shoot, drive, and make great passes. When was the last time we played a PG for some extended minutes with such a diverse offensive game? Even Brandon noticed on Tuesday that it was much easier to get to the cup (although he was not finishing well), thanks to better spacing. Patty is lightning quick, brings instant energy, and his enthusiasm is completely through the roof. The excitement over his performance went beyond us fans, and there was evidence that even the locker room was abuzz with his show. Heck, even NBA.com put his back-door no-look pass to Rudy at number 2 in the top-ten plays.
But let's not forget about Armon Johnson. From second rounder to one of the best in his rookie class, AJ seems to possess a determination that is rare indeed. In fact, that Patty has been getting more minutes than AJ has really amazed me, given Armon's discipline, and his ability to defend. Suns fans even took notice of how stifling he was to Nash in his limited play the other night. That's not to say, though, that he isn't solid on offense. His inside wrap-around to LMA the other night was sick. While Patty may fit better now because the Blazers need offensive production, if AJ can improve his offensive game to include an outside shot, he may very well be the better long-term fit. In any case, I think AJ and Patty provided a great one-two punch, with offense coming with Patty, and defense coming with AJ. The two seem to compliment each other well, and if their on-court performance tells us anything, it's that they have been benefitting mutually from their competition against each other in practice.
Which brings me back around to the original point in starting this thread. Andre Miller. I know, I am probably overly-enthusiastic about Patty and AJ, but there is no doubt in my mind that Andre Miller is currently a better player than either of these two. He's got experience and he knows the NBA game inside and out. But between Oden's injury, Roy's diminishing capabilities, and the fact the Andre's not getting any younger, I think he's become more of a hindrance on this team than a help at this point. I would not feel this way if the Blazers had a good chance at a deep playoff run. If that were the case we would want the best man on the floor. Period. But in light of everything that has happened I don't think we will get a title shot or even a deep playoff run this year (we may not even make the playoffs). And if we're mostly certain that Andre is going to be out the door soon, then what is he doing in the meantime? Taking precious playing time away from, and even stifling, our young developing guards, who we are going to be counting on after he leaves.
(btw, this is my first ever FanPost, so any feedback would be great!)