The Charlotte Hornets will be hoping for some lottery luck on May 14. The ultimate prize is Victor Wembanyama, but there are some nice consolation prizes if the Hornets only get a little lucky and move up a spot or two. One of those prizes is Brandon Miller, forward out of Alabama and the fifth ranked prospect on our big board.
Weight: 200 pounds
Outside shooting, play making potential, defensive upside
Brandon Miller’s calling card as a prospect is his outside shooting. He put a bunch of work into his shot between high school and college and made significant improvement in this area. He’s near automatic on open looks and shows a ton of potential as a movement shooter, which is rare for a player his size. He should be an immediate threat as a spot up shooter and looks like a guy you’d draw up plays for to get looks from the perimeter. He shot 38.4 from three as a freshman on extremely high volume and made 85.9% of his free throws.
Miller is more than a spot up shooter though. He can create looks for himself off the dribble and really likes dribbling into step back and side step 3-pointers. It’s a shot that we see in the bag of the best players in the league, and Miller looks like he can make that a part of his game at the next level. He can drive to the basket too, but he’s not quite as comfortable there as he is as a jump shooter.
He’s also an above average passer for a player at his position, particularly off the dribble. He can function as a secondary ball handler in the pick and roll and he’s unselfish looking for kickout passes and dump offs when driving.
He makes those live dribble, one-handed passes with both hands, and he’s able to both hit the roller and the opposite corner in pick-and-roll situations.
Defensively, Miller has the traits to be above average. He has good length and generally plays with good effort and awareness on that end of the floor. Plays like this aren’t the norm, but he had his fair share of highlight reel blocks during his one season at Alabama.
He didn’t generate a lot of steals or blocks in college, but his +4.3 Defensive Box Plus-Minus is very strong, particularly for a freshman.
Explosiveness, ball handling, off court concerns
Miller shows some impressive leaping ability when tracking down blocks with a full head of steam, but that athleticism doesn’t translate with the ball in his hands. He’s not exceptionally quick and he doesn’t elevate well when attacking the basket. He had a few big dunks later in the season, but more often than not he’s finishing below the rim when he’s in traffic. Plays like this became less common as the season went along, but it shows where he needs to grow:
He’s got some wiggle with the ball, and again, it improved as the season went on, but his handle is still a little loose. This is a bit of a nitpick, but he’ll need to be really tight with his handle to be able to utilize it at the next level.
One of the biggest concerns with Miller as a prospect is his involvement in a homicide committed by his teammate. No charges were brought against him as a part of the incident and he was treated as a witness, but his involvement in the situation will certainly be heavily scrutinized by teams and warrant maybe a bit more due diligence in gathering intel on his off court decision making.
Miller has the traits of some of the best wing players in the NBA. If you squint hard enough, he has a game reminiscent of Paul George or Jayson Tatum as a long, sweet-shooting forward with some wiggle as a ball handler and the ability to create jumpers for himself. The Hornets need shooting and no one will turn down more star power, so Miller would be a terrific fit.