For all the outside speculation about who the Hornets would take with their No. 2 pick, general manager Mitch Kupchak says the team never wavered in its commitment to Brandon Miller, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Kupchak admits serious consideration was given to G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson, as both players were brought in Monday for a second workout and a meeting with team owner Michael Jordan. Miller solidified his status at that session, Kupchak confirmed in a post-draft press conference Thursday night.
“It wasn’t the easiest of decisions, but Brandon was our favorite all along,” he said. “A lot of spirited discussion the last three or four days, which I welcome, and I think it’s good for the basketball department to discuss pros and cons, pluses and minuses, argue a little bit. So, obviously, our opinion from the beginning did not change.”
The Hornets were attracted to Miller because he’s a better fit alongside point guard LaMelo Ball and he gives the team another outside shooting threat, connecting at 38.4% from long distance at Alabama this season. Although Charlotte was firm in its decision to take the freshman forward, he wasn’t told before the pick was announced by Commissioner Adam Silver.
“I found out literally when they were calling my name,” Miller said. “I was still on the phone. My reaction was a lot of excitement, smiles, hugs and handshakes. I knew my mom was going to cry, she was going to shed a tear. But there’s nothing wrong with crying, I think it happens to the best.”
There’s more from Charlotte:
- Kupchak also offered an update on Ball, who underwent surgery on March 1 for a fractured right ankle, Boone states in a separate story. “His rehab, the bone was probably 100% healed six weeks ago,” Kupchak said. “In terms of MRIs and X-rays, it’s 100% healed. He’s been on the basketball court for four to six weeks, running, shooting, jumping. He has not scrimmaged yet. He’s not played one-on-one, two-on-two. He could, but we are not even July 1 yet. What’s the rush? So, he’s … I can’t say ahead of schedule. This is exactly what the doctor expected, so we are good.”
- Kupchak refused to talk about the possible return of Miles Bridges, who sat out all of last season after pleading no contest to felony domestic violence, Boone adds. However, Kupchak told reporters that re-signing free agent forward P.J. Washington remains a priority for the offseason.
- The Hornets will try to find a veteran leader for their young team in free agency, tweets Mike Kaye of The Charlotte Observer. Kupchak said there are players on the roster who can eventually grow into leaders, but he doesn’t see anyone who’s ready for that role yet.