Alabama freshman Brandon Miller has become a legitimate contender to be taken with the second pick in this year’s draft, writes Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. French center Victor Wembanyama remains a clear favorite as the top choice, but in conversations with NBA executives and scouts, Vecenie finds that teams are considering Miller alongside G League guard Scoot Henderson, who had been ranked second in most mock drafts since the season began.
Vecenie still has Henderson second on his list, calling him “an elite-level competitor with elite athleticism” and comparing him to Anthony Edwards and Derrick Rose. But Miller has steadily worked his way up NBA draft boards throughout the season while leading the Crimson Tide to the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
The 6’9″ wing has drawn comparisons to Paul George while averaging 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He’s also shooting 45% from the field and 40% from three-point range and is viewed as a solid defender. Miller has improved his ability to create shots off the dribble and has shown an ability to score through contact that scouts had originally doubted. There are obvious questions surrounding the role he played in a January shooting, but Vecenie doesn’t believe that will affect his draft status as long as he’s not charged in the case.
There’s more on the NBA draft:
- Miller gave brief answers during the SEC Tournament when he was asked about his involvement in the incident, but Alabama coach Nate Oats talked it more in depth with Kyle Tucker of The Athletic. “Based on everything we know, Brandon didn’t break any laws, he didn’t violate any school policy and he’s a fully cooperating witness,” Oats said. “Based on all that, we made the decision to let him keep playing.”
- John Hollinger of The Athletic also touches on the Miller vs. Henderson debate, suggesting that Miller may be the best perimeter player in college basketball. Hollinger, who attended the SEC Tournament last week, identifies Arkansas as a team to watch in the NCAA Tournament, stating that the Razorbacks may have five players who will get drafted. Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black are considered potential lottery picks, and Hollinger sees Black as a candidate for the No. 4 pick, even though he hasn’t shot well in his freshman season.
- Belmont senior guard Ben Sheppard will give up his final year of eligibility and enter the draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Sheppard was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection and an All-Defensive team choice this year.
- Real Madrid’s Eli Ndiaye, an 18-year-old center out of Senegal, has also declared for the draft, according to Givony (Twitter link).