Posts Tagged ‘Andre Miller

23
Jul
09

Will the Remaining Free Agents Make the Sixers a Contender?

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Most of the major NBA free agency moves have already been made. The time is now for teams to fill their bench, grab some role players, and add depth to last seasons roster in hopes of improving their squad. As I previously wrote, the Philadelphia 76ers are at an impasse with their aging point guard, Andre Miller, who is a free agent after playing admirably the past 2+ seasons in Philadelphia. The Sixers refuse to offer Miller a multi year deal because, honestly, it just doesn’t make much sense.

Philadelphia is definitely a young team on the rise in the Eastern Conference. Even though they went out and signed Elton Brand before last season, which went horribly bad, to go along with Iguodala, Young, Speights and co, they still are not among the top 4 teams in the East. I hate to say it, but they just aren’t as good as Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, or even Washington. Many casual NBA fans argue that Miller has been an integral part of taking the young Sixers to the playoffs, which is entirely true, so why not sign the steady veteran for a few years to allow Jrue Holiday time to develop? Let’s face it, the 76ers are already hamstrung with multi year deals to Iguodala, Brand, and the underacheiving Dalembert. If they sign Miller to another long term deal, the team will be essentially stuck in the same position they are now, a #6 to #8 seed in the playoffs for the length of his deal.They have been just good enough to make the playoffs and miss out on getting some really good draft picks yet obviously not talented enough to challenge for a title.

The latest that I’ve heard is that Philadelphia is interested in former Indiana malcontent, Jamal Tinsley or C.J Watson from Golden State. Both are bad moves. Tinsley, although talented, hasn’t played any meaningful minutes in over a year while in Larry Bird’s doghouse for the Pacers because of his many off the court issues. Watson is another backup point guard who became expendable once they drafted Steph Curry, acquired Acie Law, and that Monta Ellis has recovered from injuries.

Their real need is for a shooting guard who can knock down some 3 point shots. Lou Williams, entering his 5th season in the NBA, has more than earned his shot at playing the point. He was originally drafted 4 years ago as A.I’s replacement. He averaged more than 13 points and 4 assists coming off of the bench last season. The only other viable options include securing Ramon Sessions from Milwaukee(12.4 points and 5.7 assists), former 6th man of the year Bobby Jackson(7 points and 3 assists), or Washington’s Juan Dixon(5.2 points and 2.4 assists). Only Sessions would be an upgrade from Williams. Although they probably won’t consider it, Iverson still hasn’t signed, making the price to get him a little lower. A.I. would solve all of their problems and maybe make them a contender, but would bring old problems back with him to Philly. I’m not sure someone putting up 30+ shots a game is part of new coach, Eddie Jordan’s Princeton style offense.

So, why not save some money, add a role player to mentor Holiday for a season or two. Maybe after next season some unsuspecting team will take Dalembert’s expiring contract in 10′-11′ off your hands, the young nucleus has another year to develop, and you get lucky and land a “B” level free agent like Michael Redd or Rip Hamilton in the magical 2010 free agent class.

22
Jul
09

Two of the Most Productive Free Agents Not Yet Signed

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We all have heard of the “big fish” free agent signings of Ben Gordon revving up the Pistons, Hedo Turkgolu flying to Toronto, and Rasheed Wallace going green in Beantown. Only one team can win the the best trophy in sports, the NBA Championship. While many teams are breaking the bank trying to land the one big piece to there championship puzzle, often it is the aging veteran or role player picked up near the end of free agency that make the most difference to their respective new teams.

Two free agent players from last season, who were vital to their team’s success yet still remain unsigned are Andre Miller of the Sixers and Lamar Odom of the Champion Lakers.

Andre Miller had a great season with Philadelphia last season, once again playing in all 82 regular season games, averaging 16.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg and leading the team with 6.5 assists per game. He was the glue that kept a young Sixers team together, giving them a healthy dose of leadership and composure. With his patented 6 inch vertical leap on jump shots and proven” best head fake in basketball”, he finished second in team scoring behind Andre Iguodala in the regular season and upped his average to a team leading 21.5ppg in the playoffs. Miller has arguably gotten better with age while ranking in 4th among active players in assists, trailing only Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and Steph Marbury. He also ranked in the top 20 in the NBA last season in assists, steals,minutes, and assist to turnover ratio. He has been virtually injury free, playing in 80 or more games every season of his career. The negatives to Miller’s game has always been his unathleticism and seemingly being a step slow on defense. At age 33, and a ten year veteran, Andre could be the missing piece for a team needing a proven floor general.

After being on the verge of being a legendary flop, Lamar Odom became a legend by helping lead the Lakers to the 2009 NBA title. After being drafted by the Clippers #4 in the 1999 draft, Lamar has never lived up to the lofty heights thrusted upon him of being the next Magic Johnson. Although deemed by most as a disappointment, the 10 year veteran has quietly been one of the NBA’s most versatile and productive players. Odom ranks 10th among active players in rebounds. He finally found his niche with the Lakers averaging 11.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, along with 2.6 assists per game last season. At 6’10, Odom is one of the few unique players in the NBA who can play every position on the floor, offensively and defensively. He just at this point must be a complimentary player and not the go to guy. Last season he ranked in the top 20 in rebounds and blocks. Also at 31 years of age, the obvious knock on Lamar has to be his penchant for injuries, since he has never played an entire 82 game season. He has also been known to coast and seem disinterested in games at times. The positives are his obvious athleticism and proven playoff experience.

Reports and rumors don’t seem to show that any team has major interest in either player. The Sixers have not offered the multi year deal that Miller desires even though he would be the perfect mentor for the newest Sixer, Jrue Holiday. Portland has shown some interest but have passed because of age and unwillingness to give him a multi year deal. News has been scarce on Odom and will probably continue with LA acquiring Ron Artest while letting Trevor Ariza defect to Houston. His saving grace may be Kobe Bryant not opting out and asking for a bigger contract, in effect allowing the Lakers more money to resign players.
Don’t be surprised if one or both of these players wind up next April or June trying to lead their teams to the NBA promised land.




About the Author:

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also writes for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, and UpperDeckblog.com.

Favorite teams include everything Philly, like Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, Villanova , St. Joe's , Hoops, LaSalle, and Lehigh University Hoops.

Contact info: mollallen@yahoo.com

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