Wittman -- Wolves need to start creating more shots for Miller

By Brian Stensaas

McClatchy News Service s

MINNEAPOLIS — In watching videotape of the past few Timberwolves games, forward Mike Miller admits he might have passed up one or two shots he should have taken. He has his reasons.

"I’m not ever going to take a bad shot," Miller said. "That’s what I’ve always prided myself on. I’m going to take what the defense gives me, and I’m going to continue to do that."

Ever so slightly, one person would beg to differ, especially following Miller’s four-shot performance in a 90-84 loss to Denver on Sunday.


"We have to get Mike more than four shots, there’s no question about that," coach Randy Wittman said. "And Mike’s got to work to get more than four shots. Sometimes you get into turning down shots to make the extra pass. Mike does all the right things. (But) at times, he has to be a little selfish, too."

Even in watching replays of himself turning down shots, Miller says he believes if his options are limited it means other players are getting good shots instead.

That’s commendable and all, but Miller was brought to Minnesota for his shooting touch, not his passing ability.

A closer look shows Miller is actually just about at his career averages for shots attempted and points scored.

Heading into Wednesday night’s game against Philadelphia, Miller has averaged 9.7 shots per game this season, just slightly lower than his career average of 11.4. He’s scoring 13 points per game, also not far off his career mark of 14.4.

Wolves forward Brian Cardinal played the past four seasons in Memphis with Miller. Both were traded here along with Jason Collins in the draft night deal that also brought in rookie Kevin Love.

Cardinal, who also played against Miller in college and was in the same 2000 draft class, confirmed that what fans are seeing out of Miller this season is what they should continue to expect.

Stuck on the bench for all but one game this season, Cardinal has had time to evaluate.


"He just kind of goes with the game," Cardinal said. "We need him to shoot more than four times a game. But at the same time, Mike’s savvy enough that if he’s open he’ll shoot. If not, he’ll look for Al (Jefferson) inside or Craig (Smith). Or Ryan (Gomes) or other guys on the outside. He’s not one to go out there and force up shots if he’s guarded."

Wittman said the entire team — not just Miller — was moving too fast on offense against the Nuggets, more than likely a product of the team’s urgency of a 1-8 record.

It sounds like an easy solution: Slow the game down and more shots will come. Some have bought into it, too.

"We have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing here," Miller said.

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