Mike Miller again a spectator on disappointing team
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.
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."
| November 29, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
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