Perhaps I've been too blasé about Andre Miller's departure from the Sixers. I agree that re-singing him for more than two seasons would have been foolish. I understand the team's desire to give Lou a legitimate shot at the point, they did give him a hefty contract last summer after all. Generally, I'm pretty happy with the youth movement, but there are definitely things I'm going to miss about Miller. After the jump we'll talk about one thing in particular that I believe he could've passed on to Jrue Holiday.
On the court, Miller was a vocal leader, especially this past season. If you got close enough to the floor during any game, you'd hear him barking out directions to his teammates and generally trying to get everyone in the right spot on the floor. Off the court, I'm not sure how much of a mentor he was to the young guards on the team. He disappeared every summer, so there was no working out with Lou Williams to help him hone his game in the offseason. If I had to bet, I'd say Lou picked up what he did from Andre during practice and from watching him play, which is by no means a bad thing.
I only bring this up because I know there's one argument that keeping Miller around would've allowed him a season or two to tutor Jrue Holiday as his eventual replacement. Take Jrue under his wing, if you will, and I'm just not sure Miller was or is that kind of a guy. To me, he always seemed a "lead by example" type. Yes, Jrue could've gleaned a great deal from seeing Miller out there for 35 minutes a night, but I'm really not sure we want Jrue to wind up being a scoring point, which is the way Miller's career has been trending. Who knows, maybe in the Princeton offense with better, healthier weapons around him, Miller would've returned to his pass-first tendencies. Either way, there would've been a trade-off where Jrue was concerned. Fewer minutes for a better on-the-job tutor, in whatever respect Miller was willing to be that.
Personally, with this group, I'll opt for the minutes, but there is one part of Miller's game that I absolutely wish Jrue had a chance to watch, defend and learn first-hand. Miller's post-up game. Jrue has the size and strength to take 90% of the points in the league down on the blocks, maybe more, and he's a 19 year-old rookie. That's a weapon. I think it's safe to say Miller was the best PG in the league on the blocks last year, probably the year before as well. He used his strength and guile to create space, draw fouls and get his shots off. Lou Williams rarely has a size or strength advantage over his man, but we saw him put a little of Miller's up-and-under repertoire into his own game last season.
I'm sure we're going to miss Miller in several different ways this season, but that one struck me tonight when I was watching some college footage of Jrue. The kid has a big body for a point, and from the tape, it looks like he knows how to use it. A year under Miller may have done wonders for him.