The Charlotte Hornets’ top draft pick looked sharp at points and dull at others during his Summer League debut with the team on Monday night. When North Carolina sports betting sites and apps launch in 2024, Brandon Miller will be a key new piece for bettors to keep an eye on.
That’s because forward Miller, the franchise's best hope for a boost this upcoming season, finished the team’s California Classic opener against the Spurs with 18 points in 34 minutes on the floor, hitting 5-of-11 shots along the way.
Miller also hauled in five rebounds and dished out three assists in Charlotte’s 98-77 loss to the Spurs, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the game’s final quarter.
"I'm a little frustrated because I don't like to lose, but I had fun out there," Miller said of his debut, per ESPN. "Seeing a different environment from the college experience was fun. I think I was relaxed as far as emotions. Just let the game come to me, make all the right plays and just be there for my teammates.”
BetCarolina.com, your home for the latest reviews and promos from NC sports betting apps, looked at the past Sumer League debuts of the last five No. 2 overall NBA draft picks to gauge how Miller could project as a rookie next season.
NBA Summer League Debuts Among Past No. 2 Draft Picks
How Miller’s Debut Ranked Among No. 2 Draft Picks
The former Alabama Crimson Tide forward finished with the fewest points of any No. 2 pick since James Wiseman had 11 points in the Warriors’ Summer League opener in 2022, with 2021 No. 2 pick Jalen Green scoring 23 points for the Rockets and 2020 No. 2 pick Ja Morant sitting out of the Grizzlies’ Summer League opener that year.
Wiseman was an interesting case, as his first Summer League action came two years after he was drafted due to injuries. After failing to make an impact in Golden State, he's looking to establish himself as an NBA player with the Pistons.
Miller's points total matched Marvin Bagley III’s 18-point outing in 2018, while Miller’s five rebounds on Tuesday were less than 2022 No. 2 pick, Chet Holmgren (seven rebounds) and Bagley (six rebounds). Miller had the same number of boards as Green did in 2021, while his three assists were the second most out of the quintet of No. 2 picks, coming in behind Holmgren’s four in 2022.
How can we compare Miller's debut to what Green, Bagley and Morant became, with Holmgren yet to play in the regular season due to injury? Green's superior debut is nothing to panic over, as the 21-year-old has put up 2 very solid seasons to start his career in Houston, averaging 17.3 and 22.1 points per game.
Bagley has been a less-stellar, but solid pro for 6 seasons. While he averages around 14 points per game, Bagley's availability has held him back. He's never played in more than 62 games in a season, and has never reached the postseason.
Morant is an interesting case, as the two-time All-Star is by far the best No. 2 pick in recent years, even despite his recent off-the-court issues. But it's impossible to say how Morant would have performed in Summer League action four years ago.
Whether Miller’s initial Hornets performance serves as any kind of harbinger of what’s to come for the franchise is a matter that’ll be determined by this time next year.
For now, at least the 20-year-old Tennessee native can take solace in knowing that he survived his first professional contest unscathed, entering the latter part of the Sacramento exhibition in full health for the Hornets.
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