Denver Nuggets point guard Andre Miller is a 12-year NBA veteran, and he simply doesn't want to play the role of backup or mentor to young sensation Ty Lawson. In an interview with FoxSports.com after his first start of the season against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday, Miller spoke clearly about his feelings on the current situation:
"At this point in my career, I don't see myself as a backup. For 13 years, I wasn't a backup before. This is a short season, so I'll deal with it. But I don't see myself as a backup at this point in my career. I don't see that. Ty, he's worked hard. He's had his mentor with Chauncey Billups. Why would they need me to come in and put in my two cents?"
On the day of the 2011 NBA Draft, the Nuggets traded Raymond Felton to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Andre Miller (along with a swap of the No. 21 and No. 22 picks), which effectively cleared the way for Lawson to take the starting job in Denver. Miller had also expressed displeasure during his time with Portland last season while sharing primary ball-handling duties and top-guard status with Brandon Roy, but this season Lawson has just plain outplayed Miller to-date.
Lawson is averaging 16.4 points on 49.6 percent shooting to go with 6 assists and nearly 2 steals per game, while Miller is producing 10.0 points on 41.6 percent shooting and 6.5 assists per game. Ty has taken the next step in the evolution of his game so far this season, while Andre Miller is past his prime and moving into a spot role. Upon hearing about Miller's frustration, head coach George Karl had this to say: "I'm glad he's proud of himself and he wants to play, but I think this still is the best opportunity for him."