Andre Miller was back in Denver to face his former team as a member of the Wizards on Sunday, bringing up memories of the messy way his time with the Nuggets came to a close earlier this season.
Miller said he was made out to be the bad guy, after clashing with first-year head coach Brian Shaw over a DNP-CD that snapped his consecutive games played streak. The team suspended Miller for two games following the incident, but excused him from all activities until they traded him on Feb. 20.
Now, Miller says his blowup at Shaw went beyond just his lack of minutes.
To Miller, the uncharacteristic blowup went deeper than him being upset about not playing because of a coach’s decision for the first time in his career. Miller believes Shaw sat him as punishment for speaking up on behalf of his teammates at a team meeting.
“I spoke up in a team meeting, privately, behind closed doors, about communication and brought it to the coaching staff because the players on the team asked me to,” Miller said. “That’s why I think I was benched. That’s the only reason. I know what the issue was about and I don’t think it was handled the right way.”
Shaw has a different side of the story, of course — one in which he talks up the rebuilding of the team and the need to develop young players.
Miller may have been doing what he thought was right in speaking up as a veteran for some of the team’s younger guys, but a head coach, especially in his first season, isn’t going to be too receptive to a dissenting voice as he attempts to find his way.
The actual reason why Miller was benched and then traded is probably the same as it is with most disputes, where the truth lies somewhere in between each person’s perception.