Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Andre Miller: Sixers Floor General

Philadelphia basketball fans have a very specific idea on what a point guard should play like. Almost unanimously, fans will first bring up the name of Maurice Cheeks, the point guard on the 1983 championship team as well as the head coach of the current incarnation of the Sixers.

Cheeks was an unselfish passer, almost to a fault. He had a smooth jump shot that he seemed to almost always bury when given an open shot. He could penetrate the lane and kick the ball out and he could run the fast break. He was the consummate floor general.

With that said, it must do Cheeks proud to have a player on his team like Andre Miller, who seems to have many of the same attributes Cheeks himself had as a player. Like Cheeks, Miller does not seem to do a lot of talking off of the basketball court and in the press. As a kid, I didn't even know what Mo Cheeks' voice sounded like, mostly because there were so many other stars on the team that served as team spokesmen.

But make no mistake; it's Miller's floor leadership that has enabled this latest Sixers team to challenge for a playoff spot in the Eastern conference. The NBA thinks Miller is pretty good too; he's been named the Eastern Conference player of the week for his work in three games last week.

Even in last night's game, a 106- 80 laugher over the LA Clippers, Miller recorded only 6 points, but managed 8 assists in only 28 minutes of work. Despite not playing real big minutes because of the blowout, Miller's influence is even felt (to some degree) in his understudy, Lou Williams, who recorded 16 points and 8 assists.

As for Miller, he mostly plays down his own effectiveness (emphasis in bold is mine):

"[The award] is the last thing I expected," Miller said. "The first time[for Feb. 4-10], it was a surprise. The second time was something I didn't
expect at all. I'm sure a lot of other guys could have won the award. Andre
[Iguodala] has been playing good basketball. Other guys on other teams have been
playing good basketball. I think there will be more recognition when we win games and try to make the playoffs."

Worrying about winning games and making the playoffs? Must be music to the ears of all Sixers fans.

(photo: Yahoo.com; Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images)

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