NEW YORK — The Charlotte Hornets had whittled their choices to two players on the eve of the 2023 NBA draft, but in the end they selected Alabama forward Brandon Miller with the second pick Thursday night.
Miller, along with G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson, was brought in by the Hornets earlier this week for a second round of workouts and interviews in what amounted to an audition for the No. 2 pick, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Miller, who was widely seen as the front-runner, ultimately won out, with Henderson going third to the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I know we are going to go in and have as much fun as we can in Charlotte,” Miller said.
In Miller, the Hornets add a 6-foot-9 playmaker who won SEC Freshman and Player of the Year honors at Alabama last season after averaging 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 43% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. He also won the SEC tournament’s MVP award and was named a second-team All-American.
Miller, 20, will slot in next to LaMelo Ball as the Hornets hope to return to the postseason next season.
“Melo is my guy,” Miller said. “I think with Melo, as good of a point guard as he is, I just kind of fill in the place [on the court]. And I know he is going to be the big brother for me away from home.”
Miller’s arrival in Charlotte comes months after his name surfaced in court testimony in the capital murder case of former Alabama player Darius Miles and another man, who are charged in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris on Jan. 15.
A police officer testified that Miles texted Miller asking him to bring Miles’ gun in the early morning hours of the shooting. Miller has not been accused of any crime.
“The message I’ve presented to them is just it’s all a lesson learned,” Miller told reporters at the NBA’s draft combine last month in Chicago, when asked what message he was hoping to convey to teams about the shooting. “You always have to be aware of your surroundings and know what you’re surrounded by. I feel like the night could’ve changed my career in less than a heartbeat. So always be aware of your surroundings.”
It has already been an eventful offseason in Charlotte. In addition to landing a potential franchise cornerstone in Miller, the Hornets are going through an ownership change after Michael Jordan agreed to sell his majority stake to current Hornets minority owner Gabe Plotkin and current Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall earlier this month. Jordan will still hold a minority stake in the team.
The Hornets also have a decision to make on restricted free agent forward Miles Bridges, who pleaded no contest to a felony domestic violence charge in November and never signed a contract with Charlotte this past season. Bridges was suspended for 30 games by the NBA in April, with 20 of them being counted as time served after he did not play this past season, meaning he’d miss the first 10 games of the 2023-24 season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Hornets take Brandon Miller with 2nd pick of NBA draft