A year ago yesterday, we took a look at what the Sixers would be missing in the absence of Andre Miller, and how they could make up for that production. Today, let's see how that worked out.
If you look back at that post, my theory was that a healthy Elton Brand would pick up most of the slack Andre Miller would leave. Obviously, that didn't happen. Brand was a bit above average for the position, and clearly produced more than he had in his previous season, but he didn't raise the bar compared to the production the Sixers got out of the PF position in the previous season. Let's just forget about him for a moment and look at the PG position exclusively.
I don't have the means to pull out Lou's stats at PG vs SG, and I don't care to admit that Willie Green played a single minute at the point last season (even though he did). So I'm going to take some liberties in estimating how the Sixers replaced Miller's 2,976 minutes. Jrue was exclusively a point, so all 1,767 minutes of his will count toward the total. Lou spent a good deal of time playing the point, so what I'm going to do is take 1209 of his minutes and add them to Jrue's totals to equal 2,976. This isn't accurate, but it's the best way I could come up with. 1,209 is essentially 63% of Lou's total minutes, so the column LW ADJ* below represents 63% of Lou's total stats.
Again, I realize this isn't a very accurate method, it doesn't take into account the minutes Willie, Ivey and Iguodala played at the point. It doesn't differentiate between the minutes Lou played at the two and the point, but it's the best I can do. When I look at the numbers, three things stand out: (1) Miller's free throw makes and attempts, (2) The assists (3) The turnovers.
Obviously, the production was down basically across the board. The only area in which Jrue/Lou outperformed Miller was three-point shooting, and they did so in dramatic fashion, but it didn't even make a dent in the overall numbers.
So, the quest to replace Andre Miller, for one season at least, was a miserable failure. Honestly, though, we really shouldn't have expected it to work out any other way, and one year's worth of results doesn't mean letting Miller walk was the wrong move. In fact, I think it had to be done and it'll pay big dividends down the road.
Jrue got on the floor, got familiar with the pace of the game and really grew into the role as the year wore on. He wasn't playing for a good team, and he wasn't playing in a legitimate system, but he was on the floor, matching up with the best players in the world as the youngest player in the league, playing a very demanding position. Had Miller still been on the team, I think it's a stretch to think Jrue would've played 767 minutes, let alone 1,767.
A year later, I guess I have the same question. To get back to where they were in '08-09, at a minimum they're going to have replace what Miller gave them. Can Jrue do that on his own if given nearly 3,000 minutes this season? Your best guess in the comments below (we'll just ignore the big Haitian hole in team-wide production for the day).