With only 30 games this season to teach the Kings what he wants them to run, new coach George Karl was happy to welcome Andre Miller to the fold Friday before the team faced the Boston Celtics at Sleep Train Arena.
Miller was acquired Thursday from Washington in exchange for Ramon Sessions.
The 16-year veteran is exactly what Karl was looking for to help the Kings, who entered Friday ranking last in the NBA in assists per game.
“It was kind of a no-brain trade for me,” Karl said. “This team has a passing inadequacy at times and you’re putting a Hall of Fame passer on the court. That can help everybody, all the wing guys.”
It also helps having a player who knows what Karl wants to do on the floor.
“Andre is not a fast player, but he runs my system really well,” Karl said. “It’s not necessarily fast-break basketball, but it’s more pace-and-energy basketball, smart-decision basketball, and Andre’s an expert at all that.”
Miller had two stints under Karl in Denver, but their relationship goes beyond the Nuggets.
“I’ve been knowing George a long time,” Miller said. “I have a lot of respect for him. From the time I stepped on a college campus, he’s always been somewhere around. So I have a lot of respect for him.”
Karl’s admiration for Miller is obvious. He knows he might think more highly of Miller than others, and he’s fine with that.
“He’s one of the few players in the league who makes players better and has for 15, 20 years,” Karl said. “I think he’s a Hall of Fame player. I know people think I’m crazy, but I think he’s a top-five passer, all time.”
Miller had been playoff-bound with the Wizards, but he said he’s ready to help the Kings by promoting Karl’s message.
“I think right now I’m going to try to earn the respect of the players by working hard,” Miller said. “And then just going out and trying to help out however I can to help this team finish out the season on the right note.”
Miller, 38, is in the last year of his contract. He intends to play beyond this season.
“My goal has always been to play 15-plus years and till the age of 40,” Miller said. “So I’m past 15 years and I’m almost 40. I feel good, and I want to continue to play next year, so we’ll see how that works out.”
New addition – The Kings signed point guard David Stockton to a 10-day contract.
Stockton averaged 16.6 points and 7.9 assists for Sacramento’s NBA Development League affiliate in Reno, which plays a high-scoring style that relies heavily on three-point shooting.
“You’ve got to make decisions fast, you’ve got to make plays quick, especially with George Karl’s system,” Stockton said. “You’ve got to make a lot of plays with spacing, make quick and good decisions, and that’s the carryover.”
Stockton is the son of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame guard John Stockton, who played for Utah his entire career.