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Posted at 3:49 PM ET, 11/29/2010

Mike Miller again a spectator on disappointing team

By Michael Lee

Mike Miller bolted Washington for the Miami Heat in free agency last summer because he wanted to be in the best situation to win. But he finds himself in a similar position as last season with the Wizards: He is out with an injury while a team brought together in the offseason with high expectations founders in his absence.


We'd be winning more if we just got the ball popping. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Of course, the Wizards did have a an offseason coup remotely comparable to a summer in which Miami convinced LeBron James and Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade, and they weren't exactly predicted to win 73 games or even contend for the Eastern Conference title last season. But they woefully underachieved, considering the talent assembled. And, one of the primary excuses during their early struggles was Miller's absence because of a shoulder injury.

Miller has been sidelined in Miami since late October with a serious thumb injury, suffered while getting his hand caught in James's jersey, and will be out until January. The Heat is a mess, with the team stumbling to 9-8 start and also dealing with a possible season-ending injury to key reserve and Miller's former college teammate Udonis Haslem. There are currently reports of dissension between the players and Coach Erik Spoelstra, players' only meetings, and an unintentional shoulder bump that actually may have been on purpose.

Miller still believes that once the Heat gets past this rough patch, his decision to join the SuperFriends will be justified. "I felt like this is one of the best spots I had an opportunity to win, made the decision easy for me." said Miller, who was somehow awarded the No. 13, even though it hangs in the rafters at American Airlines Arena former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. "We got some stuff we got to clean up and get better at, but it's still fun. Hopefully, we get it together and have a fun season."

Miller laughed when asked about the high level of scrutiny surrounding the team, which has been cast as the league-wide villain. "That's part of it. We understood that when we all signed up for this job," he said. "Obviously, this is a little more than I think anyone thought it would be, but our job is to go out there and win basketball games and that's what we're going to do."

Miller had a somewhat disappointing season last year in Washington, where he missed a career 28 games with an assortment of ailments. He averaged 10.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 48 percent from beyond the three-point line. He is anxious to get back on the floor to be "just another body out there that can shoot, make plays, rebound and hopefully bring some energy."

Miller said he is enjoying himself in Miami, especially since his wife, Jen, and sons, Mason and Mavrick, have joined him after spending the past two seasons living in Los Angeles. "We just wanted to be together again, it's been two years, with the kids," he said. "Makes it a lot easier. Once I get playing, it'll be more fun. We're taking it one day at a time and we'll be ready to go here soon."

By Michael Lee  | November 29, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Open thread: Wizards (5-10) at Heat (9-8)

Comments

Poor Mike, he didn't sign up for that!

Posted by: divi3 | November 29, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

*Nelson laugh* Ha! Ha!

Posted by: closg | November 29, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

What kind of GM would think he can win with 3 good players and a bunch of scrubs?

Wait Ernie thought he could didn't he?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 29, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Good.

Someone said on this blog once that Lebron is like the kid who can't stand losing so he switched sides.

So is Mike Miller, I don't feel sorry for him at all.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 29, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"Wait Ernie thought he could didn't he?"

Lol, except the 3 players he had weren't all that good to begin with. :)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 29, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Inside play is getting most of the blame for the Heat's mediocre record, but looking over their roster, I can't see much to be concerned about. How good do you have to be when you have James and Bosh at forward? Sure, it hurt to lose Haslem. But Erick Dampier has appeared in only one game for Miami, and he's a decent counterpart to Ilgauskas, who's hitting 56% of his shots and pulling down 5 boards in 18 minutes. Joel Anthony is a pretty good shotblocker coming off the bench.

You wouldn't think PG would be an issue with Wade and LeBron handling the ball so much, but apparently Mario Chalmers is on the verge of winning the job back from Carlos Arroyo now that he's back from injury. Mario helps a lot on perimeter defense.

To be honest, I think they're just struggling to learn to play together. But we'll see.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 29, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"What kind of GM would think he can win with 3 good players and a bunch of scrubs?"

That Miami roster doesn't look much like scrubs. Aging vets, sure, but scrubs? Nope.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 29, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Mike - #13 is not retired by the Heat for Dan Marino. I have no idea where you got that from.

The only number retired by the franchise is of Michael Jordan. Pat Riley retired it, even though he never played for the team.

Posted by: Roman5 | November 29, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"That Miami roster doesn't look much like scrubs. Aging vets, sure, but scrubs? Nope."

Posted by: Samson151 | November 29, 2010 7:35 PM

In terms of production and effectiveness, there comes a point where the line separating the two becomes very thin, and I think a lot of the Heat's older role players are straddling it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 29, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I think Miami's main problem (along with their lack of quality depth and size) is a lack of focus. I think they thought that all they had to do was show up and they'd win games. But it's turning out to require more work than they thought. The real question now is whether it requires more work than their willing to put into it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 29, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Miller is about as fragile as a china doll. It's painful too watch him play, because he is always limping, holding his shoulder, etc... The good news is he no longer plays for the Wizards. If he was smart in his quest for a ring, he would try to hook up with the lakers. He could get hurt ride the pine in a suite and get a ring at the end of the season.

Posted by: Theone9 | November 30, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, what was Mike Miller thinking? He could have stayed with the Bullets, the most insignificant franchise in the NBA the last 30 years and hang around corrupt policitians and POTUS, or go to Miami and play with DWade, LJames and CBosh and hang with all the beautiful people and have a good time and get paid and MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. Yeah, Mike Miller is an idiot.

Posted by: jwing14 | November 30, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

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