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Andre Miller is 'comfortable' in Sacramento, ready for one more season

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The oldest and newest member of the Kings is making a big difference, and would like to return to Sacramento for one more season.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Miller was selected eighth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. Kings rookie Nik Stauskas was 5 years old at the time.

Every player selected before Miller that year, except Elton Brand, is out of the league now. Miller is well traveled (7 teams) and is still going strong for a reason: he has completely grasped the art of the point guard position. It isn't flashy, but he has mastered the consistency and the fundamental aspects of the position. He's precise, doesn't rush and makes the right decisions at the right time. Without much of a jump to his game, he will get a defender to bite on a pump fake or post his man up, which usually leads to a made bucket. In terms of decision-making, Miller personifies John Wooden's "Be quick but don't hurry" phrase.

Miller can adapt to the pace of an offense and use his court vision to lead a fast break with his eyes rather than his foot speed. And as his career is coming to a close, his goal is to wrap things up in Sacramento under George Karl (his former coach with the Denver Nuggets) as a member of the Kings, a team that has needed some leadership on the floor, particularly in the second unit.

"I'm not satisfied with my career. I just know that I still got something left. So for me, being close to home, just having I guess what you would call it - comfortable with this city - and just a transition at this point in my career it's best that I just stay where I'm at," Miller told Sactown Royalty. "I didn't want to leave Washington, it happened, and I don't want to leave here."

Miller is a native of Los Angeles but has relatives in Sacramento. He said he has been visiting the city since he was six or seven years old and thinks of it as a second home. The 38-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of this season, wants to play one more year he said, and at this point, he aims to simply have a positive impact in some shape or form.

He's certainly made an impact in his first five games with the Kings this season (averaging 7.6 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and shooting 60 percent from the field). On Sunday, he recorded a double-double (12 points and 10 assists in 26 minutes of action) at 38 years old.

With Darren Collison likely out for the season, Miller finds himself thrust into 23 minutes per game and playing in crunch-time minutes. And he is doing something Ramon Sessions could not do while he was in Sacramento: lead the second unit. His assist percentage has been great as Akis pointed out, and head coach George Karl has used him as an anchor for the bench players. He said he wants to make passing contagious and "let it filter out to everybody else."

"I just try to keep the game simple, make simple plays, put guys in the right spot to be effective and give guys confidence as the game goes along," Miller told reporters Sunday.

One of those reserve players is Omri Casspi. Casspi, who is still troubled by a lingering left knee bone contusion, tries to run like a gazelle any time he gets the opportunity, which leaves fast break options open for Miller.

"Stability at the backup point guard. He runs the offense and kind of gets stuff going," Casspi said about Miller. "He defends, he rebounds, he runs and he pushes the ball every opportunity that we get."

Miller also has served as a mentor for current starter Ray McCallum and second-year man Ben McLemore. McCallum, who has averaged 12 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in the last five games as a starter, is soaking up what he can from Miller.

"I ask Andre a lot of questions. He's always in my ear telling me what he sees. So having him here is real helpful. He's an extended coach on the floor," McCallum said. "Some of these games we've got to be out there together playing two point guards together … he finds me and let's me attack and I try to do the same thing for him."

McLemore has been impressed with what the veteran can do.

"With his age and stuff like that, to be able to do all that different stuff and his skill set is amazing," McLemore said.

The oldest player on the roster may be the player Karl is most comfortable with. Having coached him in Denver already, Karl and Miller have a sort of "I know what you want to do" with this team attitude about one another.

"Andre never exceeds my expectations. I just think he knows the game, he makes guys better and he's a winner and he's old school. All of those things as a coach, it's fun to have on your side," Karl said. "It'll be interesting to see how his minutes and his age and all that stuff, but he'll teach a lot of guys how to the play the game just by being a part of this team."

Rudy Gay, who joked that Miller is like having a second coach on the floor because he's the same age as Karl (63), said he isn't surprised by what the veteran has brought to the team since coming over from Washington Wizards. The 6'2'' point guard has been solid for years, averaging double digits in scoring through the 2010-11 season (in 2001-02 he averaged a double-double in points and assists). And he's been able to adjust to his age creeping up on him by relying on fundamental principles.

Many refer to Miller as having an "old man game," but don't tell him that.

"I think I've got just as much game as all the rest of these point guards in the league, it's just that, you know, you throw the age factor in everybody got something to talk about," Miller said. "They don't say that about Kevin Garnett. They don't say that about Ray Allen and all those guys. I do the same thing those guys do."

Sometimes he uses that label in his favor to keep the defense honest.

"I put a little burst in my step every now and then just to keep the defense off balance," Miller said.

Miller is the type of guy this Sacramento franchise always needs on the floor and in the locker room. Like Karl, he has been doing this for years and has garnered the respect of the younger players in the league. He isn't going to put the team on his back and lead them to the playoffs, but he is going to do a lot more good than bad.

Let's face it, at this point in his career, he would probably be happy to play for any team in the league going into next season, but he seems to have a comfort level in his Sacramento role and that is something that should be and is being utilized. He's only been with the Kings for five games, but he has already proven to be a valuable contributor and at this point he looks like he is more than capable of doing it again next season.