I haven't seen any recent surveys on the subject, but I have to believe that most Wolves fans like the addition of Mike Miller, regardless of the OJ Mayo/Kevin Love exchange. The Iron Ranger has provided himself with cover for the draft day deal; if Love turns out to be a bust, the trade can still be justified from the salary cap and Miller acquisition angles. I'm not forgetting about Brian Cardinal, but for this missive, throw-ins--albeit expensive ones--aren't important.
As a result, Miller becomes the next in a long line of "uber" players touted by the Wolves, joining the ranks of Joe Smith, Troy Hudson, Mike James, Ricky Davis and Marcus Banks. At one time or another, these guys were all touted to be key pieces in providing support for the team's primary star-- either KG in the past or Big Al today. Usually they were also the quickest to get thrown under the bus when the plan failed...but I digress.
Miller is being touted by the Wolves for his veteran leadership and outside shooting. On paper, I won't argue the point, outside of the fact that the Grizzlies--at one time both with Pau Gasol and Miller--couldn't keep their team from sliding down the NBA abyss. Of course, KG couldn't stop the Wolves descent either, so the argument could certainly be made that the NBA has changed; you still obviously need superstar talent, but it's often how organizations fill the third through sixth player slots on a team that determines success. Miller, for both off-court and on-court reasons, has become vital to the continued development of this young Wolves team.
On the Wolves web site, we see these quotes from assistant coach Jerry Sichting:
"The main thing that I like is Mike Miller coming in and showing a lot of leadership in individual workouts. He's an extremely hard worker, and I think for our young guys to see him go about his business ... The way he shows up serious and trying to improve and work on things - that's one of the biggest things I've noticed."
"Mike's one of those guys that's going to do it whether a coach tells him to or not, where as some other guys, I don't know how much they'd work without the coach there. But Miller has a couple of friends that rebound for him, and he has a whole routine he goes through all the time. That becomes a habit, and that's how good basketball players are made. Their habits and work ethic."
As in past years, we're certainly getting our marketing hype. It used to be KG's leadership or team chemistry; last year it was Big Al and the Boston nucleus.This year both Miller and Love are integral parts of the Wolves marketing machine for different reasons. Miller's at least been a proven scorer in the league, whether not his veteran leadership qualities prove to be as impactful as the Wolves are telling us remains to be seen. Thoughts?