“Situational Analysis” is a series of articles that seeks to examine the circumstances that most often influence an NBA prospect’s success. Each player will be scored on a scale from 1-10 in four different categories: NBA-specific skill(s), flaw(s), collegiate/overseas/pre-NBA environment, and ideal NBA ecosystem.

Brandon Miller is a 20-year-old wing from Antioch, Tennessee, who averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He is expected to be selected either second or third in this year’s draft. NBADraft.net currently has him projected at No. 2.

NBA-Specific Skills

If you don’t have one, you better get one.

Unless your favorite team has a uniquely dominant center (Jokic/Embiid) or a once-in-a-lifetime shooting supernova (Curry/Lillard), the success of your squad lies almost entirely on wing dominance. The overwhelming majority of franchise cornerstones fit similar physical dimensions (6-6 to 6-9 with above-average wingspans and athleticism) and basketball abilities (top-tier shooting/dribbling/passing ability, defensive versatility).

Most perennial playoff teams have one. Some are fortunate enough to have two. Brandon Miller is this year’s clear-cut favorite to develop into an apex predator on the wing.

Beyond his measurables (6-9, 200 with a 7-foot wingspan), the first thing you notice about Miller is his jumper. It’s perfect. He can find his balance either spotting up or off the dribble. With his high release point and repeatable fundamentals, it’s hard to envision Miller going through prolonged shooting droughts. He connected on 38.4% of his 3-point attempts on extremely high volume (7.5 per game), often on unassisted/self-created opportunities. He carries himself like a person who expects to lead his team in scoring each time he laces up his sneakers.

The stats don’t show it quite yet, but his defensive upside is quite strong, as well. He knows how to play passing lanes and rotate for weakside shot-blocking opportunities, and he has the profile of someone who can switch across multiple positions and hold his own, both on the interior and on the perimeter.

He is a highly efficient offensive option with a strong basketball IQ and an unselfishness that is rare to see in players with his talent at his age. It won’t take long into his second contract before Miller finds his name alongside the league’s best in possible All-NBA conversations.

On a scale from 1-10, Miller’s shooting at his size rates at a 9.


We have no choice. We must talk about it.

Earlier this year, a Tuscaloosa police officer testified that Miller brought a firearm to teammate Darius Miles that was used in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris in Tuscaloosa. Miller faced no charges in the incident and the University of Alabama did not discipline Miller for his alleged involvement, but the way in which Miller, his teammates, his coaches, and the entire Alabama athletic department carried themselves in the aftermath of this terrible incident was insensitive at best, and frankly, more than a bit upsetting.

Rumors persist that Miller’s pre-draft interviews have been extremely disappointing, battling through mononucleosis, as well, which has surely affected Miller’s ability to keep himself in top basketball condition after a terrible showing in the NCAA Tournament (8-41 shooting in three games, including a 3-19 disaster in Alabama’s 71-64 loss to San Diego State).

Perhaps the stress of the season and his off-court issues got the best of him. But there is an odd, undeniable juxtaposition between his rise to the presumptive post-Wemby first draft pick and the way the last couple months have gone for Miller. Perhaps he can re-assert himself as the player scouts and fans fell in love with during SEC play when lottery teams start bringing him in for workouts, because we know Scoot Henderson is going to pop in these workout settings.

On the court, he isn’t a perfect prospect, either. He has a slightly negative assist/turnover ratio, which hinders his playmaking ability. While he’s an above-average athlete, he isn’t in the same class as the explosive Thompson twins or the physically imposing Cam Whitmore.

On a scale from 1 (not a concern) to 10 (serious hindrance), Miller’s focus and his off-court issues rate at a 9.

Pre-NBA Setting

Miller exploded onto the scene as one of the best high school players in the history of Tennessee. He won back-to-back state Player of the Year awards and was named Tennessee’s Mr. Basketball before earning 5-star scouting reports from every major service.

It appeared for a moment as though Miller would take either the Australian NBL or the G-League route, but he eventually chose the University of Alabama, where he won every individual accolade a player can win – SEC Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year (obviously), SEC Tournament MVP. It might save us some time to list the awards he didn’t win.

Miller helped lead the Crimson Tide to 31 wins, an undefeated home record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Many folks penciled them in for a deep tournament run, but the aforementioned disaster against SDSU cut that short.

Without his off-court issues, his freshman season would be considered a resounding success, but Miller’s pre-NBA career is much more difficult to evaluate. Strictly from an on-court perspective, it rates at a 9.

Ideal NBA Ecosystem

The NBA draft officially begins at No. 2 and rests entirely on what the Charlotte Hornets decide to do.

Most basketball insiders seem to believe the Hornets are leaning toward Miller and away from Scoot Henderson. Henderson is seen as slightly duplicative of franchise cornerstone LaMelo Ball, while Miller projects as Ball’s ideal running mate and fills several major needs on this uninspiring roster (shooting, shot creation, defensive versatility).

It makes all the sense in the world from a pure basketball standpoint. However, drafts don’t happen in a vacuum. This is a franchise that is still trying to cope with the nightmarish Miles Bridges situation and it’s unclear whether a new incoming ownership group is willing to invite even more off-court scrutiny.

What are the Charlotte Hornets, exactly? What is their philosophy? What kind of a team do they want to be? This is a pivotal decision for the franchise. If Miller achieves his potential as a Jayson Tatum/Paul George type, he could prove to be the catalyst for this team’s ascension to relevance. If not, the Hornets will simply continue to cycle through lottery picks and meaningless basketball.

If the Hornets pass on Miller, the Portland Trailblazers could either pounce on Miller as the wing scorer they have never been able to field next to Damian Lillard, or they could dangle Miller and their other young talents for a veteran (Jaylen Brown, perhaps).

On a scale from 1-10, Miller’s situational dependence is a 9. He has the physical profile and the elite shooting ability of a future multiple All-Star, but the last few months have cast doubt on whether he can live up to that kind of potential. The right franchise/mentor will be invaluable for his development.


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