Point guards, even fantastic ones who spend all of their NBA careers in the same ball club, are exceptionally rare. Sure, if you take a look at the NBA Encyclopedia, there is Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, John Stockton…but there is also Pete Maravich, Oscar Robertson, Mark Price…
It didn’t take long for the University of Utah product, point guard Andre Miller to prove his worth with the Cleveland Cavaliers during his first three years in the League. In 2001-02 he even led the NBA with an average of 10.9 assists per game.
After stumbling with the 2003-04 Los Angeles Clippers on August 1st, 2003 ‘Dre signed with the Denver Nuggets. In Colorado, Miller thrived in a system built around the team’s superstar, All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. In his first three seasons with the Nuggets, from 2003-04 to 2005-06, he started every game for the play-off bound team, delivering his nightly stat sheet numbers with incredible consistency.
But then, after only 23 games into 2006-07, Miller got caught up in a trade for Philadelphia 76ers superstar Allen Iverson. AI was envisioned as someone who might give the Nuggets even more of that magic power ingredient championships teams are built of – stardust.
But that didn’t happen, and in the process of being part of that blockbuster trade, Miller got emotionally hurt. It wasn’t the fact he was traded all of a sudden, nor that he was traded to Philadelphia of all of the places. It was the way he found out about the trade that hurt him the most. He believed in certain manners.
“It wasn’t the fact that I was disappointed. It was how it went down. I understand that it was part of the business, and you have to accept it. It was just how it went down. That’s the main thing.”Andre Miller
But that was just the way it went down, and that’s the way it still happens around the NBA. From that very point in time, on December 19th, 2006, Miller did everything to distance himself from the time he spent with the Denver Nuggets’ organization. It was four and a half years later, on June 23rd, 2011, that the Nuggets suddenly made a draft-day move and decided to bring Miller back from the Portland Trail Blazers.
But Miller was still hurting. It would take him three more days after the trade to finally gain the strength needed to call coach George Karl, who was there when he left and was still in charge of the Nuggets. It was the first time they spoke since Miller was traded to Philadelphia, four and a half years later.
After they settled the matter, the veteran point guard reunited forces with coach Karl and provided sparkling leadership over the next two and a half seasons with the Nuggets.