Brad Miller’s swan song wasn’t a feel good Disney movie that ended up leaving everybody with a warm tingly feeling. He didn’t give us the John Salley in Eddie where he squeezes every ounce of game out of his scar tissue-addled knees to help bring this team the playoffs after years of down-and-out malaise.
Brad Miller was acquired to help bring some veteran leadership to a team Rick Adelman was taking over. He was supposed to come in here and be a competitor, teach these guys how to win. He was supposed to be a coach on the player roster. And to many degrees, he did those things.
He only played in 15 games during his final season in the NBA, but he seemed to show every bit of pride he possesses in all of those games. He was out of shape, gasping for streams of oxygen as he labored up and down the court. His silhouette wasn’t as lean as it once appeared. He was doughy, relying on the same type of adapted strength you’d see from a steelworker of 30 years rather than the finely tuned power you commonly see from NBA athletes married to the weight room. His skills were still present as he dropped bounce passes to backdoor cutters and rained down seven 3-pointers in 15 attempts this year.
Brad Miller’s knee probably was never truly healthy enough to play this season. He labored in most actions he performed, but he did try to gut through the pain and discomfort to show the younger guys how you’re supposed to be a professional. He talked to guys on the bench, attempted to joke and rally with them in the locker room, and help teach the big guys how to operate in Rick Adelman’s system. He wasn’t good and he wasn’t bad. He wasn’t really anything at all. He was holding onto one final gasp, dangling above the pit of retirement that so many athletes dare to avoid. While he didn’t provide much tangible production on the court, his spirit and leadership helped root out those that should and shouldn’t be on this team moving forward. If you weren’t able to get ahead of Rick’s guy in the rotation at the end of the year, you probably shouldn’t be long for this team.
Brad Miller helped separate the real from the potential on this roster. He showed Rick who was a fighter and who deserved minutes. Brad Miller was the colander that kept the good in and let the bad wash itself down the drain. He may not have given the Wolves what he used to have, but he definitely gave them all he had left.