The Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t win the Mike Miller sweepstakes as Miller chose the Memphis Grizzlies over OKC.
It was not a huge blow but definitely some level of one. It says something that Miller went with Memphis over the Thunder after visiting with the Thunder twice and Kevin Durant apparently leading the recruiting charge to convince Miller to sign.
The feeling of losing out on Miller to another team may be greater than what the Thunder won’t feel without him.
Miller is entering is 14th season in the NBA at age 33. He played the last three seasons for the Miami Heat, earning the experience of three trips the the NBA Finals as he played important roles on all of those teams.
But he had trouble staying on the floor in each of those seasons. His games played the last three years: 41, 39, 59. Throw in the fact that the Heat made it to the Finals each year and that’s another 57 playoff games for Miller in the last three seasons.
Miller is clearly on the decline and what he has left in the tank may not be much.
Everything he could have potentially offered the Thunder was in question. Could he have played more than 50 games in the regular season? Could he have cracked the rotation? Could he have made big shots in the playoffs? The answer could have very well been “no” to all of those questions by the end of next season.
Once the Thunder signed Derek Fisher back, the chances of Miller cracking a Thunder rotation slipped even more. At the wing position, Scott Brooks is fine playing Durant 40-plus minutes and even giving Thabo Sefolosha 35 in some games. Jeremy Lamb is due to get more minutes and Brooks really likes what DeAndre Liggins can do, too. There just wasn’t going to be a lot of room for Miller to begin with.
Miller is an elite shooter and can knock down wide-open threes as well as just about anyone in the league. That is and will always be an asset in this league. But what Miller did for the Heat was not going to be replicated had he dawned a Thunder uniform, not exactly.
I don’t think the Thunder will feel the loss of a potential Miller signing. His impact would have been so minimal in the regular season and in the playoffs might not have been much more either.
Without Miller, it’s just one less guy who will stand in the way of Lamb getting more minutes, which seems like one of the most important storylines to watch in 2013-14.