With only 28 games left in the season, there's no time to ease in Andre Miller. The newly acquired point guard, who'll backup John Wall and even share the backcourt with him, will be on the court vs. the New Orleans Pelicans at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN, 7).
"We didn't bring him in here to wait a couple months to play," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said after his first practice Friday. "Considering he hasn't been on an NBA court ... I thought he looked great. He say he's lost 10 to 12 pounds since December. He looked good. He didn't look too winded out there. We went at a pretty good pace today."
Miller, 37, turned pro in 1999-2000 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wittman was his coach. He already has played with Nene, Al Harrington and Martell Webster in previous stops.
"It's kind of a Flip Saunders system with a little bit of a twist," Miller said of Wittman's coaching concepts, alluding to the Wizards' previous head coach. "Everything in the NBA is pretty much the same. It's a few different things I had to catch up on. It's going to be tough at first. I expect to be out there. I don't know how long."
The Wizards (26-28) may be under .500, but they're in playoff position in the East which factored into Miller's excitement and willingness to play here. So does the prospect of playing with Wall and Bradley Beal. When Miller was in Denver, he mentored a young starting point guard in Ty Lawson.
"I just challenged him. I pushed him in practice and just kind of led by example. There wasn't too much talking," Miller said. "I've followed the young guys around the league and the one thing I like about Wall and Beal was that they enjoyed playing basketball. That's big. That makes everybody's job a lot easier when you got guys around you that enjoy playing basketball. Right now I'm not going to say too much. I'm just going to come in and fit in."