Brandon Miller

Draft Notes: Miller, Podziemski, Vukcevic, Prosper, More

Based in part on the Hornets‘ roster needs, Jonathan Givony of ESPN believes Alabama wing Brandon Miller is slightly more likely than G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson to be the pick at No. 2, telling ESPN’s Zach Lowe on The Lowe Post podcast that he’d put the odds of Charlotte drafting Miller at 60%. However, according to Givony, Miller isn’t necessarily acing the pre-draft process so far.

“Every team in the NBA is looking for this type of player,” Givony said (hat tip to RealGM). “Six-nine, big guard, can handle the ball. Pass out of pick and roll. Make shots off the dribble. Defend multiple positions. Rebound. That’s what people are looking for. At the same time, he is not in great shape right now, so I don’t know how great his workout’s going to be. His interviews have not been great, I’ve been told — both publicly and privately with NBA teams.”

As David Aldridge of The Athletic writes, teams meeting with Miller will have questions about his connection to the death of Jamea Jonae Harris in Tuscaloosa. Miller brought former Alabama teammate Darius Miles the gun that was used in the killing, though he has insisted that he didn’t know the gun was in the car. The 20-year-old wasn’t charged with a crime and executives who spoke to Aldridge don’t think it will materially affect Miller’s draft stock.

“I don’t believe there will be any impact unless he lies in his interviews,” one exec said. “Integrity is more relevant than criminal friends; one we can fix, the other, we can’t.”

Here are more notes on the NBA draft:

  • Santa Clara sophomore guard Brandin Podziemski has opted to keep his name in the 2023 NBA draft, formally announcing his decision on Twitter. Podziemski is the No. 31 prospect on ESPN’s big board and has reportedly had a strong showing at the combine, per Givony (Twitter link), so he’s a legitimate first-round candidate.
  • After performing well in Wednesday’s scrimmages at the draft combine, Serbian big man Tristan Vukcevic and Marquette wing Olivier-Maxence Prosper withdrew from Thursday’s scrimmages, tweets Jeremy Woo of Michael Grange of takes a more in-depth look at Prosper, who had 21 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes during Wednesday’s scrimmage.
  • In addition to working out for Atlanta, Princeton forward Tosan Evbuomwan had workouts with the Spurs, Pistons, and Celtics prior to the draft combine, tweets Adam Zagoria of Evbuomwan was initially only invited to the G League Elite Camp, but earned a spot at the combine after making a strong impression last weekend.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic considers which lottery picks might be in play on the trade market, starting with the Trail Blazers‘ and Rockets‘ selections at Nos. 3 and 4.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, K. Williams, Anderson, Jazz

While Charlotte’s pick at No. 2 represents the first pivot point of the 2023 NBA draft, the Trail Blazers‘ decision at No. 3 is arguably even more interesting. That pick is a valuable one in a draft considered to have a consensus top three prospects, but Portland is eager to build a contender around Damian Lillard in the short term and may be more inclined to trade the choice.

In the view of Jason Quick of The Athletic, the Trail Blazers’ only real option – if they’re serious about keeping Lillard and building a winner around him – is to trade the pick. But ESPN’s Jonathan Givony isn’t sure Portland will take that route, suggesting during an appearance on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast that he believes the Blazers will hang onto the selection.

“I don’t see them trading it either, honestly,” Givony said, per RealGM. “I think they would be very happy with Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson. “I also think they’re going to kick the tires on the Thompson twins and Cam Whitmore. I think this is going to be a process here where they’re looking at a lot of different options.”

If the Blazers do shop the pick, the expectation is that they’ll be targeting two-way impact players, a league source tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. As Johnson observes, Lillard has strong relationships with Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, but neither of those offensive-minded Bulls wings really qualifies as a two-way dynamo.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Thunder wing Kenrich Williams underwent a follow-up procedure on Tuesday to remove hardware that was inserted during his March wrist surgery, the team announced. According to Thunder, Williams’ rehab process is still on the same timeline, and he remains on track to be ready for the start of the 2023/24 season.
  • Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson, who sustained an eye injury during the team’s first-round playoff series, underwent surgery on Wednesday to address the issue, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and SKOR North. While there’s no official timeline for Anderson’s recovery, there’s no indication he won’t be ready for training camp.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic sketches out an offseason to-do list for the Jazz, including identifying a point guard, resolving Jordan Clarkson‘s free agency, and comprehensively investigating what trade opportunities might be out there for them.

Draft Notes: Henderson, Miller, Combine, Mock Drafts

Victor Wembanyama is considered a lock to be taken with the No. 1 pick, but Scoot Henderson doesn’t want to give up without a fight, writes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NBA Draft Combine, Henderson said he believes he’s just as valuable as the French big man and he’s willing to meet with the Spurs to make his case.

“I think I have the ability to go No. 1,” he said. “I believe in myself as any competitor should.”

Henderson added that he hasn’t met with any teams at the combine yet, but he expects to hold several meetings and workouts over the next few weeks. Even if San Antonio doesn’t take him up on his offer, the Hornets and Trail Blazers, who hold picks No. 2 and 3, should be very interested. Those teams already have established lead guards in LaMelo Ball and Damian Lillard, but Henderson believes he could be successful in either situation.

“I don’t have to be ball dominant,” he added. “When my time comes, I’ll kill.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Brandon Miller, who’s projected as a top-three pick, is willing to hold meetings with teams outside of that range, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Miller has already met with the Bulls, who lost their first-round pick to Orlando when they failed to move up in Tuesday’s lottery.
  • Five-on-five scrimmages are among the highlights of the combine, but the highest-rated players typically choose not to participate. Thirty-seven prospects are skipping this year’s scrimmages, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. That list includes Leonard Miller of G League Ignite, who was a last-minute decision, according to Jeremy Woo of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Tuesday’s lottery resulted in a slew of new mock drafts from ESPN, The Ringer, The Athletic and Bleacher Report. Outside of Wembanyama at No. 1, there’s a lot of disagreement among the mocks, which reflects the uncertainty over many of the top prospects.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic offers his ranking of the top 20 players in this year’s draft class, along with a pair of sleepers from Creighton and Santa Clara.
  • Jordan Walsh of Arkansas appears to be leaning toward keeping his name in the draft after a strong first day at the combine, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Walsh has already worked out for the Nets and Celtics and is currently considered to be an early second-round pick.
  • Tyrece Radford will withdraw from the draft and return for his final year of eligibility at Texas A&M, according to The Dallas Morning News. Rob Perry will also leave the draft and return to Murray State next season, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Wizards, Magic, Haslem

G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson has long been considered the top prospect besides Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 draft class, but an inconsistent 2022/23 season and the emergence of Alabama wing Brandon Miller have loosened his hold on that No. 2 spot. The Hornets, who won the second overall pick in Tuesday’s lottery, already have a long-term cornerstone at point guard (LaMelo Ball), further complicating the team’s decision.

Although Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak didn’t mention either Henderson or Miller by name after the lottery, he strongly hinted that the team will consider both players. As Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer writes, Kupchak didn’t rule out the possibility of adding another ball-handling guard to the roster while also indicating that fit will be a consideration.

“We are getting a little bit more advanced in putting this team together. I think three years ago or even two, three years ago I would have said that without question that we are going to take the best available player, and that’s been our position the last three or four years when we are trying to accumulate talent,” Kupchak said. “And I don’t think we are where we need to be from a talent level, but we’ve got a lot more talent now than we did two or three years ago. So, I think we can be a little bit picky and take into consideration not only the overall talent, but the position.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • As Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. admitted that it was a “disappointing” lottery night for the Wizards, who didn’t move down but had a great chance to land the No. 1 pick after the first three balls were drawn. Unseld remains confident that the team will be able to find a talented player at No. 8. “I can’t really talk in-depth about individuals, but I think there is some talent (in this draft),” Unseld said. “There’s some positional size. There’s some versatility, some wing depth. So, there certainly is going to be a good player there.”
  • Speaking after Tuesday’s lottery, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman didn’t sound like someone who will be looking to trade one or both of the team’s lottery picks. Weltman, whose Magic control the No. 6 and No. 11 picks this June, said the team’s goal has long been to “build through the draft” and that he’s looking forward to meeting with several of this year’s top prospects (Twitter video link via Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel).
  • Heat big man Udonis Haslem, who will retire at season’s end, said this week that he would’ve found a way to be happy about how his career ended even if the team hadn’t made it this far in the playoffs, but he’s pleased to be going out on a positive note, according to Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “I just didn’t want to underachieve,” Haslem said. “It wasn’t really about how we go out. It’s really about underachieving and not reaching our maximum potential. That’s what I would hate to do any year is underachieve.”

Draft Rumors: Blazers, Mavericks, Pacers, Kings

While it’s safe to assume the Spurs will be hanging onto their No. 1 overall pick, a number of other first-round picks could be up for grabs following Tuesday’s lottery. Here are a few early reports on some selections that are worth keeping an eye on:

  • The Trail Blazers‘ move to No. 3 “raised eyebrows all over the league,” according to Zach Lowe of (Insider link), who says rival executives think Portland will explore the possibility of trading that pick for win-now help. The Blazers, who are expected to be in the market for wings and big men, may not get a difference-making veteran for the No. 3 pick on its own, but attaching a player like Anfernee Simons to it would make for an intriguing package, Lowe notes.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports also touches on the possibility of the Trail Blazers making that third overall pick available via trade, pointing out that there’s a consensus on the top three prospects in this draft. In other words, Portland could hold a “bidding war” on either Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller, depending on which of them is drafted second overall, Fischer writes.
  • The Mavericks, who are eager to build a contender around Luka Doncic, are considered likely to gauge the trade value of the No. 10 overall pick, according to both Fischer and Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers control five picks in this year’s draft, including three first-rounders and four in the top 32. They already explored the idea of trading for veteran talent prior to February’s deadline and may revisit that possibility this summer, says Fischer.
  • According to Fischer, the Kings are another team to monitor for first-round trade possibilities. Sacramento holds the No. 24 overall selection.

Western Notes: Lakers, Reaves, Curry, Miller

On paper, the Nuggets are the favorites to reach the NBA Finals. But Lakers guard Austin Reaves doesn’t view his team – the West’s No. 7 seed – as the underdog, Jovan Buha of The Athletic relays.

“I think the seeding thing is, it’s just a number,” the Lakers guard said. “When you have guys like Bron, AD, that’s won championships … (you) always feel like you have a chance, especially with the roster that we have and the talent that we have.”

Lakers forward Anthony Davis echoed those sentiments: “Our expectations inside are way higher than showing up to the Western Conference Finals.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers need to do whatever than can to retain Reaves, who will be a restricted free agent after the season, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Reaves is averaging 15.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists during the playoffs. The Lakers hold his Early Bird rights and are limited to an $11.4MM offer in the first year of a new contract, but they can match an offer sheet.
  • Stephen Curry is still hopeful of getting another championship with the Warriors, Vince Goodwill of Yahoo Sports writes. “You can’t win it every year, but you wanna be in the position to be serious contenders,” Curry said after the Warriors were eliminated by the Lakers. “Final eight, you can retool and be back.”
  • A scout told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that if the Rockets wind up with Brandon Miller, he can immediately be inserted into the team’s lineup. “His overall package is sort of the modern, NBA wing-type player,” the scout said. “I think he’ll be able to plug that in wherever he goes fairly quickly.”

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows:

Pistons Notes: Coaching Search, Ollie, Murphy, Draft Picks

The Pistons could hire a new head coach soon, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, who reports in his latest mailbag that the top candidates for the job are set to meet with owner Tom Gores next week in Los Angeles.

Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee, former Connecticut and Overtime Elite coach Kevin Ollie, and Pelicans assistant Jarron Collins are considered the leading candidates. However, Edwards believes that Ollie, a former NBA player, is the frontrunner for the position.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • DeJanai Raska says she was sexually harassed and assaulted by former assistant GM Rob Murphy over a period of several months, she tells Tresa Baldas of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link). There are too many details to list here, but Raska reported her allegations to the Pistons last fall. The team put Murphy on leave, but didn’t announce that he was fired until after Raska sued both the organization and Murphy. “I grew up in the city really looking up to the Pistons, the Bad Boys … and to be treated this way is heartbreaking,” Raska said.
  • Who are the top five prospects Detroit should be considering with its first-round pick, which can land no lower than fifth overall? Edwards ranks those players in order for The Athletic. Obviously Victor Wembanyama is No. 1, but Brandon Miller edges out Scoot Henderson for No. 2. Rounding out Edwards’ top five are Henderson, Houston forward Jarace Walker and Arkansas guard Anthony Black.
  • On a related topic, if the pick does land fifth in the lottery — and there’s a 47.9% chance that it will — who should the Pistons select? Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) makes the case for Villanova wing Cam Whitmore, arguing that his physical tools and flashes of shooting make him the best choice at that spot.

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Shannon, Early Entrants, Mock Draft

Texas freshman Dillon Mitchell will test the NBA draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility. The 19-year-old small forward made the announcement this evening on his Twitter page.

Mitchell is ranked 34th on ESPN’s list of the best available players, but he was considered the No. 4 recruit in the nation coming into college, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Mitchell played just 17 minutes per game in his first season with the Longhorns, averaging 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds. Although he shot 64% from the field, Givony notes that Mitchell’s usage rate would be the lowest of any player drafted over the last 30 years.

Mitchell will have to rely on next month’s draft combine and workouts with individual teams to show that he’s ready for the NBA. Givony points out that his unique combination of physical skills could still make him attractive as a draft prospect.

There’s more on this year’s draft:

Draft Notes: Murrell, Dingle, Cross, Davison, Mocks, Edey

Ole Miss shooting guard Matthew Murrell is declaring for the 2023 NBA draft while maintaining his remaining NCAA eligibility, he announced on Instagram.

Murrell is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 14.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 30 games (34.4 MPG). His shooting percentages dropped off badly in 2022/23, as he made just 36.5% of his attempts from the field and 30.4% of his threes. However, he was a more reliable marksman as a sophomore (.427 FG%, .386 3PT%) and he bumped his free throw percentage to 84.3% as a junior.

Murrell currently ranks as the No. 76 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a borderline candidate to be drafted.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Penn junior guard Jordan Dingle is testing the draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Dingle’s 23.4 points per game ranked second in the nation, behind only Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy (28.2 PPG).
  • Tulane senior forward Kevin Cross is declaring for the draft while preserving his NCAA eligibility, he announced on Instagram. A strong passer, Cross averaged 4.2 assists per game last season to go along with 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds.
  • Carlin Davison, a 6’6″ forward who played for the Taranaki Airs in New Zealand this past season, is entering the draft as an international early entrant, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. Davison, who is just 19, will have the ability to withdraw his name from the draft pool anytime between now and June 12, if he so chooses.
  • In the wake of the NCAA’s championship game this week, both Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report updated their 2023 mock drafts. Notably, O’Connor has Alabama’s Brandon Miller (No. 3) and Ausar Thompson of Overtime Elite (No. 5) coming off his board earlier than Wasserman does (Nos. 4 and 8, respectively). Conversely, Wasserman is higher on UCF’s Taylor Hendricks, putting him at No. 6, compared to No. 10 for O’Connor.
  • Purdue’s Zach Edey has won a series of national player of the year awards, including being named the Naismith’s men’s player of the year. But how will the 7’4″ big man’s game translate to the NBA? Michael Grange of explores that question, noting that most draft experts don’t project Edey as a first-round pick.