Sure, the Nuggets re-signed JaVale McGee and Andre Miller this past off-season, but they both were free agents. McGee was a restricted free agent - meaning the Nuggets would get a grace period to match any deal the center signed with another team and Miller was an unrestricted free agent who was free to sign with whatever team he wanted.
But the only "real" free agent signing for the Nuggets was the inking of seldom used Anthony Randolph.
So, let's breakdown these three guys and see how they have been stacking up this season.
Andre Miller: 36 year-old point guard - signed a three-year deal for $14.6 million ($12M guaranteed)
Miller's 2012-13 season stats:
|2012 - Andre Miller||36||25.5||3.3||7.0||46.2||0.2||0.8||22.2||2.3||2.6||88.2||0.5||2.2||2.7||5.9||2.3||0.8||0.1||2.0||8.9|
The Lowdown: The 25.5 minutes per game are 'Dre's lowest total since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers back during the 1999-00 season. His 8.9 ppg are the lowest total of his long career. But his 5.9 assists per game are still near his career average of 7.1 apg.
Miller's scoring and defense might be down, but his veteran composure and court vision are still very valuable to this team. Some (Jeff Morton) would argue that Miller is Denver's best post player as well - and Mr. Morton would be right. His ability to find easy shots for his teammates is a much needed trait for this team and Miller's presence with McGee is a big reason why the big guy leads the NBA in dunks.
The Verdict: The $5M that Miller will make for this season and next are not bad for a backup point guard. It's sort of funny that he didn't go to say the Miami Heat to try to win a ring and perhaps start there too, but oh well. Miller can still play at a pretty high level and is counted on at the end of games to either make a key pass or score the ball himself. I don't know if Miller should be taking big threes at the end of close games, but I have been pleased with his play this season. Miller will be 37 years-old in March and George Karl needs to find a way to give Miller some rest before the playoffs begin.
JaVale McGee: 24 year-old center - signed a four-year deal for $44 million
McGee's 2012-13 stats:
|2012 - JaVale McGee||36||19.2||4.5||7.8||57.5||0.0||0.0||100.0||1.6||2.9||54.8||2.1||3.0||5.1||0.4||1.2||0.3||2.0||2.3||10.6|
The Lowdown: We've talked about McGee a lot recently on Stiffs - click here. He's making $10M this season and in the last year of his deal he'll be making $12M. Kosta Koufos is the starting center and making $3 million this season in the first year of his contract extension. In Denver's drive the ball offense, post play is not a key offensive weapon for the Nuggets - so it's sort of funny that the team gave big money to a big man when a guy like Koufos can be effective for the team.
But McGee's potential is what got him the long-term deal. We've seen a lot of growth from McGee already and while he's still not a polished post-player, he is incorporating some new elements to his game. This season he has been a key contributor off the bench and his chemistry with Miller is sweet to watch. Every game the two seem to hook up for an easy alley-oop that gets the crowd fired up and makes the defense question their game-plan and point fingers.
The Verdict: I am still in awe of what McGee can do on the floor, at times. I think the contract is still too new to judge and while McGee isn't a polished player yet, big men get paid and his deal is not a crippling one. McGee is easily the most perplexing player on the team as he can have nights where he's a major factor and he can also have games where he gets in foul trouble and doesn't appear to be mentally into the game as much as he should be.
Anthony Randolph: 23 year-old power forward - signed a three-year deal for $5.2 million
Randolph's 2012-13 stats:
|2012 - Anthony Randolph||13||6.2||0.8||1.9||44.0||0.0||0.2||0.0||0.2||0.2||100.0||0.5||1.1||1.5||0.2||0.7||0.1||0.5||1.0||1.8|
The Lowdown: Randolph is a super talented player that his still trying to find his way in the NBA. His rebounding and defense have been pretty good, but on offense he seems like a misfit for the team. Randolph likes the mid-range game and that's exactly what Karl's offense likes to eliminate. When Randolph is playing aggressive he can finish above the rim with the best of them, but he falls in love with wanting to shoot the ball.
The Verdict: Denver basically bought out Chris Andersen to sign Randolph. He's a cheap option off the bench and such a young guy still that the gamble to let him develop in Denver is one worth taking.
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