HoopsHype.com Interviews

Mike Miller: "You are always thinking about the trade deadline"
by Marc Narducci / February 14, 2008

Mike MillerYou have been the subject of trade speculation. How difficult has all that been to deal with?

Mike Miller: It's tough to block it out, but my job right now and my loyalties are to the Memphis Grizzlies. I'm trying to win games for these guys. The easiest way to put it is, if I play six more games for these guys I'll try to win six more games. If I play 500 more games, I will try to win all 500 of those games. I will go out and try to win every game. Everything happens for a reason. When the 21st comes and whether I'm here or somewhere else, I will try to bring that attitude to some other team or if I'm playing here.

Are you on pins and needles waiting for the February 21 trade deadline?

MM: You are always thinking about it, be we understand that it is part of the profession. I've been traded before and know what it is like. It's not the easiest transition, with your family, but at the same time it's your profession. It's hard to complain with what we do for a living.

What were your thoughts on Memphis dealing Pau Gasol?

MM: It's tough anytime you take 20 and 10 away from your lineup. It's going to be a big transition. We understood that when we made the trade that it wasn't going to be easy. We're still playing hard every night, which is a good sign and trying to win every game. That is all you can ask us to do now.

You played on three consecutive playoff teams in Memphis to going 22-60 last season and winning just 14 of your first 52 this year. How difficult has it been going from a playoff team to a rebuilding squad?

MM: It's very difficult anytime you taste a little bit of success and are part of the playoffs and understand how much fun it is to be a part of a playoff team. It's tough but at the same time when you signed up for this nobody said it was going to be easy. You hope you can grow from these parts as much as you grow from winning parts. We have a young team this year and hopefully we will learn a lot.

With players such as Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, the Grizzlies have young players to build around. Can you talk about the talent level on this team?

MM: We have very talented players. We are young and talented. As long as we grow and continue to work as hard as we are, we have a chance to be special and that is the hopeful part of the future.

You turn 28 next week, which is far from ancient, but is considered old on this young team. You are sort of looked on as one of the old men of the team. As an eight-year veteran, how have you handled being an elder statesman of the team?

MM: It's been difficult. I have had to go through a veteran leadership role before becoming a real veteran. Which is difficult, but at the same time it may be good for me. There are times you learn through winning and through losing. I'm trying to learn both ways.

You only played two years of college basketball at the University of Florida and then went to the NBA. How difficult was it coming into the league as such a young player?

MM: The transition period is tough. Any time you come in a situation where you are playing against grown men, it's a big challenge. Plus in the NBA, you have a lot of time on your hands and you have to use it wisely and continue to work on your game.

This summer you played on the U.S. Sr. National Team that went unbeaten. Could you talk about what the experience was like?

MM: It was a great experience. It gave me a chance to not only to play with them but practice every day with them. It was an opportunity to go against the best players in the world every day in practice and play with them and see how they prepare for games. It was great.

The competition to make the U.S. Olympic team this summer will be fierce. What are your thoughts about being able to participate in the Olympics?

MM: It would be a great opportunity and fun to be part of. At the same time you understand there are a lot of guys who are out there and want to be a part of it. I hope I get a chance and if not I hope they win the gold and bring it back home.

After playing for the U.S. team last summer, you didn't have much of a break before the Grizzlies training camp started. How did you fare playing so much basketball?

MM: I was a little fatigued but it was well worth it. I had an opportunity to play against the best and we did our jo this summer. Hopefully I will get the chance.

You came into the NBA with the reputation primarily as a jump shooter, but now you are more versatile. Could you talk about what you have done to expand your game?

MM: I think every summer I try to bring something new and work on things. I still rely a lot on my jump shot and now when others sit on it I have a chance to do other things and help make the players around me better.

Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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