The NBA trade deadline passed on Thurday, and for the first time in this decade the Washington Wizards were buyers. The Wizards swapped lackluster backup point guard Eric Maynor and ultimate draft bust Jan Vesely in a three team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. In return they received esteemed veteran and extremely fundamental point guard Andre Miller, sending Maynor to Philadelphia and Vesely to Denver. The general consensus was that the Wizards would make at least some small move, but Miller specifically was hardly mentioned until just prior to the deadline.
The 37-year-old Miller is only averaging 5.9 points per game, however his innate ability to run the offense and be a true floor general can not be shown by his individual statistics. This move will give Randy Wittman the opportunity to provide All-Star point guard John Wall with longer periods of rest knowing he has a competent backup. With this trade Garrett Temple can be moved back to his true position of shooting guard which will only help to provide depth, which the Wizards have lacked all season. Miller has missed only 1 game in the last six years so even with Andre turning 38 in March, his durability should not come into question.
One of the main reasons this trade was a no doubter is due to the simple fact that all the Wizards dropped was dead weight in Vesely and Maynor. Each of these players were given ample opportunity to show that they were able to produce but failed each time. The specific trade is great for the Wizards yet the simple implication that the team possesses a win now mentality should be encouraging for Wizards nation. A glaring hole was present at backup point guard and the front office stepped up big time and addressed the need. In a wide open Eastern Conference even a seemingly insignificant move like this could prove to be all of the difference from the 3 seed to the 8 seed.
Miller, with his unparalleled experience theoretically would be able to merge into the Wizards’ rotation seamlessly. With games against the Pelicans, Cavaliers, and Magic coming up, Randy Wittman should be able to tinker with the rotation without jeopardizing the team’s chances of winning games. A couple things the Wizards were unable to do at the deadline were acquiring a big man and finding a serviceable small forward. While both of these positions remain relatively thin, the Wizards have more than enough talent to remain competitive. With the acquisition of Andre Miller, Martell Webster should be able to log more minutes at small forward while Miller is more than capable of playing both guard positions. How Randy Wittman incorporates Miller down the stretch will seriously determine this team’s success.