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Prospective Point Guards: Candidate 1

I'm going to start a series (probably not a continuous one...we'll do this from time to time) on potential players the Blazers could look at to help the point guard position.  For those of you in the "don't make moves" category, don't worry...we'll also do one on Steve Blake at the end.  While I certainly welcome discussion on the relative merits of our current players and the player under discussion I would appreciate it if the comment section weren't filled with twenty different versions of the "just stand pat and don't make any moves" post every time we talk about someone.   Also understand that each player under discussion will fill a different role or need.  We're not necessarily looking for a permanent starting point guard.  Maybe we want a temporary one.  Maybe we need a back-up.  Maybe we just want to consolidate our three, and potentially four, guys now into a nice utility player.  We'll cover all of those possibilities.  Note that I'm not necessarily saying we should trade for these guys, rather that we could and they might merit a look at least.

We begin the series looking at an old friend:

Andre Miller, Philadelphia 76’ers

6’2”  200lbs  Age 32

Last Season Averages:  49% shooting, 17ppg, 6.9 apg, 36.7 mpg in 82 games

Career Averages:  46% shooting, 14.4ppg. 7.5 apg, 34.8 minutes

Contract:  $10.3 million for one more year



Let’s get something straight right off the bat.  Andre Miller has a couple of flaws which would probably disqualify him from being the long-term point guard on this team.  He can’t hit the long ball worth beans (in fact he seldom even tries) and he’s not a good defender.   Plus he’s already 32.  I don’t think anybody would be excited about signing him to a six-year deal.  However he has a number of qualities which could recommend him strongly as just the kind of point guard the Blazers need this year.

Miller’s strongest quality has always been his ability to pass and run an offense.  While he never quite fulfilled the all-world promise he showed in his first seasons in Cleveland he’s quietly become one of the more competent all-around guards in the league.  He’s never averaged below six assists a game.  He’s always scored in double figures.  He’s good from the field and the free throw line.  He is an excellent rebounder for a guard.  Most importantly for our purposes he just knows what to do out there.  He can set people up in the halfcourt or on the run.  He also knows when and how to get his own.  He’s exactly the kind of guy we were talking about on the podcast the other day.  He’s unselfish enough to set the table consistently yet when things are going south he can take over and right the ship.  The Blazers are going to be talented next season but they’re still plenty young and they’re acclimating at least three of their top nine guys to the league entirely and tweaking a couple more in terms of role and position besides.  They’re going to need a lot of confidence, reassurance, and support.  Miller has seen it all and would be able to provide all three, plus a little pop besides. 

Miller’s contract expires after this season, leaving him an unrestricted free agent.  (This might inspire him to give us his best, by the way.)  Should this mini-courtship work out perhaps something could be negotiated.  More likely he would be an excellent transition piece as the younger point guards (Roy? Bayless? Sergio? Koponen?) continue to develop and ease into the point guard role.  Acquiring Miller would consolidate our roster while still leaving Raef’s contract available to use as cap space or trade bait.  His own contract would serve the same purpose.

The probable offer for Miller would be Steve Blake plus some combination of Channing Frye, Ike Diogu, and/or Sergio Rodriguez.  Obviously Philly would have to value the play of Frye or the promise of Sergio to make it work from their end.  I don’t believe the Blazers would move Martell Webster on a one-year player.

Even though this is obviously a short-term solution I would not be entirely disappointed if a trade like this happened.  You can still draw a pretty clear line between the learning Blazers and the contending Blazers and next year falls into the learning category.  However a guy like Miller would give them a kick start towards contending and provide pretty good value for what we’d give up.


--Dave (