The Oklahoma City Thunder have remained one of the quietest teams in the NBA this off-season in terms of their activity in free agency. In fact, other than losing sixth man Kevin Martin and adding Steven Adams and Andre Roberson in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Thunder’s roster looks incredibly similar to the way it did last season.
However, it can’t be understated the role that Martin played for the Thunder last season. As their sixth man he averaged 14 points and 2.3 rebounds per game on 45 percent shooting and terrific 42.6 percent three-point shooting. He didn’t do all the things that James Harden did in OKC, but he definitely made the transition much smoother. With Martin now gone, it’s surprising they haven’t yet signed a replacement.
It seems like the Thunder might finally be getting around to signing a replacement for Martin, sort of. On Thursday, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Thunder had emerged as the front-runner to sign recently amnestied shooting guard, Mike Miller.
Miller spent the last three seasons with the Miami Heat, playing reduced minutes because of injuries, but still providing an offensive spark off the bench, particularly with his three-point shooting. In his last two seasons with Miami, Miller shot 45.3 percent and 41.7 percent from long-range, respectively.
However, it’s incredibly important to note Miller’s recent injury issues. Due to a number of ailments, most notably a nagging back injury, Miller hasn’t played in more than 59 games in any of the past three seasons and also averaged just 15.3 minutes per game last season.
Given the fact that Miller can’t be relied upon to play all 82 games or play a huge role, it’s really puzzling what kind of role Miller would play with the Thunder unless they plan to change up the way they’ve worked their rotation in recent years. Martin last season played in 77 games and averaged 27.7 minutes per game. Miller isn’t going to be able to handle that kind of workload.
There’s no doubt that Miller could provide an offensive spark with his sharpshooting for whatever team he signs with. However, it’s really questionable why the Thunder would look to sign a 33-year-old on the downside of his career when they could develop younger players like Jeremy Lamp or DeAndre Liggins in that sixth man role. Miller could sign with OKC and fit in beautifully, but there are legitimate doubts to be had.