Andre Miller was one of the most respected point guards in the NBA. But his game didn’t have much flash to it. So how did he become a fan favourite?
“Athletic” is not a description you would use for Andre Miller.
Miller was never the fastest nor the most explosive nor the quickest player on the court at any given moment.
He was slow, but methodical. He knew how to read the court and thus knew when to pass the ball and when to shoot it.
His game wasn’t filled with flash or fireworks, but this worked out for him in the long run.
As he aged and as his (already limited) athleticism declined, Miller relied on his tried and true skillset, which was using geometry to get the ball to his teammates and taking great shots.
He understood his strengths and his limitations and used this knowledge to his advantage time and time again.
The Time Andre Miller Dropped 52 Points
One time occurred on January 30, 2010.
A 33-year-old Miller and his team that season, the Portland Trailblazers, were playing against the Dallas Mavericks.
The score was close the entire game. Neither club was able to get a big lead.
The Trailblazers were without their best player, Brandon Roy.
But the main reason why the Blazers were able to make the game competitive was because of Miller’s scoring.
Miller, for some reason, had the hot hand that night.
The stars must’ve been lined up in his favour because he barely missed. He took 31 shots and made 22 of them. That’s 71 percent. He ended up scoring 52 points, his career-high.
But other than the superstitious acts from the universe, Miller was able to get buckets because he took great shots.
He recognized gaps in the defence that led to open shots and he was able to bully ball some of the Mavericks’ smaller defenders.
He essentially used his old man game to annihilate his opponents.
This game went into overtime and Miller was able to help the Trailblazers defeat the Mavericks by two points (114-112).
Andre Miller and the Fundamentals
With this matchup, Miller showcased what the old man game is capable of and why it’s important.
If you watched the highlights I shared above, you should’ve noticed that Miller didn’t do anything spectacular.
He didn’t pull a LeBron and bulldoze everyone in his way as he attacked the lane or pull a Kyrie and break all of his defenders’ ankles.
He just played basic basketball –using screens to get open, posting up the smaller man, and driving the lane for easy layups.
Miller used his mastery of basketball fundamentals, much like how Nikola Jokic plays.
The message that his performance sends –master the fundamentals first and learn your limitations and capabilities, and build your game around that- is important for all average Joes and Janes and young players.
The reason why you need to do this is that if you know what style fits you best, you can develop a complimentary fundamental game, that’s dependable, around it (like how Shaquille O’Neal figured out his game).
You can go to it when you’re dead tired or when you’re old and barely have any athleticism; it’ll be muscle memory and second nature to you (when you master it).
The old man game is really just the mastery of basketball fundamentals.
If you use this as your basis for developing your game, as Andre Miller did, you’ll have a core set of skills that you can count on for a long time.
So, what are waiting for? Stop reading this and go master the fundamentals of basketball!
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