Andre Miller's Quiet Brilliance: Why Denver Nuggets Guard Is Among the Best

Andrew SweatCorrespondent IJune 24, 2013

DENVER, CO - APRIL 30:  Andre Miller #24 of the Denver Nuggets controls the ball against Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 30, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 107-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

With all of the fanfare and boisterousness of a church mouse, Andre Miller has quietly put together perhaps the most impressive under-the-radar career in NBA history.

It’s time someone let the church mouse ring the church bells for once.  


All-Time Assists Leaders

With the retirement of Jason Kidd, only two of the NBA’s top 10 all-time assists leaders are currently active. One is Steve Nash, of course.

The other is Andre Miller.

Yes, Andre Miller. His 7,956 career assists land him 10th in NBA history.

Miller trails Rod Strickland by just 31 assists for ninth place, so it is safe to assume Miller will pass him early next season. At that point, the only players Andre Miller will be trailing in career assists will be John Stockton, Kidd, Mark Jackson, Nash, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas and Gary Payton.

If you measure a man by the company he keeps, we’ve been measuring Andre Miller with a faulty ruler. 

In his third NBA season, Miller led the NBA in assists per game at 10.9. He has finished among the NBA’s top 10 in assists per game eight times in his overlooked career.

Despite being one of the best setup men in NBA history, Andre Miller has never been an All-Star. He could probably walk unrecognized through the Mall of America, like John Stockton anonymously walking the streets of Barcelona during the Dream Team’s 1992 Olympic run.


A Smart, Solid Scorer

But don’t let Miller’s gaudy assist totals fool you into thinking he is a one-trick pony.

The dude can score, too.

The 6’2” guard began his career when Bill Clinton was president and most of us were accessing the “worldwide web” through AOL on our 56k modems hoping Y2K would not destroy humanity.

Since entering the league in 1999, Andre Miller has been a smart, solid scorer, averaging a respectable 13.8 points per game throughout his 14-year career.

Miller has shot an efficient 45.9 percent from the field during his career, putting him on par with other high-assist point guards like Gary Payton (46.6 percent) and Isiah Thomas (45.2 percent). His most impressive scoring season was 2007-08 with the Philadelphia 76ers when he scored 17.0 points per game while shooting a career-high 49.2 percent from the field.

Oh, and let’s not forget the 52 he dropped on the Dallas Mavericks in 2010.


Amazingly Consistent

Andre Miller has missed a total of six regular-season games in his 14-year career.

Yes, six.

He has played in 1,126 of 1,132 career regular-season games.

Miller never gets hurt. He never gets tired. He just bangs out consistent stats, night after night, like the basketball version of a metronome.

And more than just showing up every night, the former University of Utah standout is still delivering the goods. At age 37, he shows no sign of slowing down.

Andre Miller’s total stats have been down over the last two seasons while coming off the bench in Denver because his minutes have dropped to 26.8 per game. In his two seasons as a Nugget he has averaged a respectable 9.6 points, 6.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field.

But what’s remarkable is Miller’s per-36-minute averages over the last two years in Denver are still right in line with his solid career averages:

Andre Miller Per-36 Minute Averages

Seasons   PTS   REB   AST   STL   FG%
2000-11   15.1    4.3    7.5    1.4  45.8%
2011-13   13.0    4.2    8.5    1.2  46.0%

Despite coming off the bench in the 2011-12 season, Andre Miller’s 6.7 assists per game ranked eighth in the NBA. His 47.9 field-goal percentage in 2012-13 was the second-best of his career.

The old man still gets it done.

And beyond the box score, Andre Miller is a very smart player. He is a leader. He is a mentor to younger players. Coaches know he will make the right decisions with the ball in his hands. Teammates know he will hit them when they are open. Opponents know he is rarely going to make a glaring mistake. He’s the type of player coaches love to coach and teammates love to play with.

Just don’t tell anybody, okay? Andre Miller likes to keep his brilliance quiet.

Quiet, like a church mouse.