Yesterday, I bumbled my way though a breakdown of the Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups and Andre Miller trade (yes, I know Cheikh Samb was included in the deal). Among the points I made was a comparison between Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups. I think Miller and Billups are very similar. The only real difference being Billups’ long-distance shooting.
BallerBlogger contributing writer xphoenix87 disagrees with my comparison.
“In no way is Andre Miller remotely comparable to Chauncey Billups. Even last year, in arguably the best year of his career, Miller’s production wasn’t close to that of Billups. Even if we don’t take defense into account (where Billups wins hands-down), they aren’t even close. Billups had a higher usage rate, a much higher offensive efficiency, a higher assist percentage, a lower turnover rate, got to the free throw line more, and shot the ball much, much better. That’s comparing a career year for Miller to what Billups has been doing consistently for the last 4 years. Billups is clearly a better player.”
I agree that Billups is the better player. But I still think the comparison is valid. And I’m not alone.
Somewhere Andre Miller was smiling on Monday afternoon when the Nuggets announced they had traded Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups. Heading into the 2006-07 season, Miller was the perfect scapegoat. Fans cried for more scoring. In December of 2006, the fans got more scoring in the form of Iverson.
Now, less than two months later, the Nuggets pulled the plug on the Iverson experiment. Of course, the irony is the Nuggets ended up trading Iverson for a player remarkably similar to Miller.
When asked about the similarities between Miller and Billups, Denver head coach George Karl told HOOPSWORLD: “Andre is a great comparison. I just know when I came here that Andre was such a security blanket because he took responsibility on a lot of possessions.”
“I think after we got rid of Andre Miller, we’ve been looking for that leader, that point guard. I like Chuck off the ball rather than with the ball,” Carmelo Anthony said in reference to Iverson, who his teammates and friends refer to as Chuck. “I like him creating, slashing to the basket. I think Chauncey brings a different role to the team, being that leader, being that point guard who can distribute to guys and make guys better. Getting the ball where people need the ball such as myself, knowing my spots.”
Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener. as the trade of Miller for Iverson demonstrated.
I’m not saying that Miller and Billups are identical. Billups is a slightly better defender than Miller was/is. Chauncey is also a much better shooter from three-point range. But Billups is going to bring many of the same intangibles that Miller provided for the Nuggets. He’s going to lead the team from the point guard spot and get the ball to Anthony and JR Smith in scoring position. In trading for a player like Billups, the Nuggets have essentially admitted that trading Miller for Iverson was a mistake. Denver can attempt to spin Iverson’s time in Denver any way they’d like, but Iverson failed to add significantly to Denver’s regular season win total or help them advance past the first round of the playoffs.