When it comes to this year's Kings, Brad Miller, for me, is the most forgettable. Kevin Martin is the team leader. Ron Artest can't stay out of the news, and is having a pretty decent season, to be honest. Mike Bibby - for three! - amazes us on his best days and frustrates us on his worst. Kenny Thomas is a deity. John Salmons has the best facial hair this side of the 1970s Oakland A's. Shareef Abdur-Rahim puts in his minutes and reminds me of better days for Cal basketball. Corliss Williamson is a bruiser. Francisco Garcia, Justin Williams, Quincy Douby, and Ronnie Price are the underplayed, yet exciting future of the Kings. Vitaly Potapenko is the punchline to a sad joke.
And then there's Brad Miller. The one-time All Star and US Olympian. Once a leader, and now, forgotten, at least by me.
Brad's points per game have plummeted from 15 last year and 15.6 in 2004-05 to just over 9 this year. His field goal attempts and makes are down, as is his field goal percentage. Assists per game are down from 4.7 last year to 3.7 this year. Rebounds have fallen from 9.3 in 2004-05 to 7.8 last year and 6.6 this season. On top of this, he's missed 18 games with assorted injuries. It's no surprise that a hurt Miller can't outplay a healthy one, but the drop-off has been across the board.
Previous to last night's game, Miller hadn't done much for us to remember this season. He's scored more than 20 on only 3 separate occasions, peaking at 24 in a loss against Cleveland in January. Last year, he reached 20 points or more in 20 different games, including two games over 30 and a 36-point night against the 76ers.
Last night also marked only the 10th time this year where he pulled down double digit rebounds. Last year, there were 26 such games.
But yesterday, when just about every King had a good game against a horrible team in the Grizz, Brad Miller was back, if just for one night. In just under 40 minutes of play, Miller managed a triple double, scoring 17 on 7 for 13 shooting, 10 boards and 11 assists, which led the club. It also happened to be the only time this year when he has had double digit assists. (He accomplished that 5 times last year)
Was this the last gasp of a once-good player who has fallen into the traps of an aging body that can't keep up with the speedy youngsters? Or is it a sign that following injuries, the body has an ability to heal and rejuvenate? For those of you wishing the Kings would throw the season away in a mad attempt to get a better draft position, Miller and the Kings' one-game resurgence probably has you gnawing on your fingernails and screaming at the computer monitor, but Brad showed us that he could remind us of the days gone by where he was not only remembered, but a featured member of this team.
A triple double. Pretty good for a 30-plus guy who can't jump.