The Denver Nuggets were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday in a disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors. No player has more reason to be disappointed than one time Blazer point guard, Andre Miller. In his 14 years in the NBA and 9 playoff appearances Miller has never won a series. Every year since 2004 (with the exception of 2007 when he was traded to the 76ers mid-season and missed the playoffs entirely) his team has been eliminated in the first round.
Miller captured my heart before Portland traded him for the much maligned Raymond Felton, and I wanted so badly to see him succeed. The Nuggets finished the season with a franchise best 57 wins and 25 losses; surely this was meant to be his year! Alas, it was not in the cards and Stephen Curry’s Warriors kept Andre’s tradition alive; which is really too bad, from my selfish standpoint. It’s not that I wanted to see the Warriors loose, as a matter of fact, I’m glad they’ve climbed their way out of the NBA doldrums, but I just wanted one of the best facilitators of our time to taste a piece of playoff success while he’s still around to be appreciated.
Miller is 10th All-time in assists and is set to pass another Blazer great, Rod Strickland, next season. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping as he moves up in history he’ll move up in the playoffs. Just once; that’s all I ask. There have been many excellent players to retire without a ring, but how many of such caliber have never advanced to round 2? Even in the ‘Rise With Us’ years of Brandon Roy, Andre came up short. It’s not for lack of ability. He has been criticized here and there for slowing the tempo too much, but you’d be hard pressed to find a team that wouldn’t take him. Now, if only a team could take him further.