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Reports: Brandon Miller in mix for No. 2 pick with Scoot Henderson

Alabama v Texas A&M

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 12: Brandon Miller #24 of the Alabama Crimson Tide hypes up the crowd against the Texas A&M Aggies in the second half of the 2023 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship game at Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images)

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Victor Wembanyama will go first overall in this June’s NBA Draft. It doesn’t matter who wins the Draft Lottery, this is a lock.

However, Scoot Henderson at No.2 is no longer the lock it looked like a few months ago, according to multiple reports.

Henderson didn’t show much growth during the G-League’s regular season — he shot 27.5% from 3 — while Alabama’s Brandon Miller has shown growth on the court and now is challenging Henderson for the No.2 pick, according to multiple reports. First is Sam Vecenie at The Athletic:

And one opinion starting to solidify for executives in front offices across the NBA is that Alabama forward Brandon Miller is very much in the conversation at No. 2 overall, behind Wembanyama... It is not a foregone conclusion that Henderson will be picked at No. 2. I’ve talked with a number of lead front-office executives as well as high-level scouts who either think the margin between Miller and Henderson is razor thin or just have Miller ahead at this point...

Largely, it has do with Miller’s play. He’s shown improvement over the course of the season in the exact areas in which scouts wanted to see growth.

Miller is one of the best shooters in the college game — 40.1% from 3 despite defenses being focused on him — and he has evolved into a better finisher at the rim and a quality playmaker, filling in his weaknesses. That caught scout’s attention. John Hollinger at The Athletic added this:

On the court, Miller has made an impression. A 6-foot-9 wing who can handle the ball, shoot with range and defend on the perimeter, Miller is the prototype for the positionless league of big, skilled wings. While his shot can come out a bit flat, he has shot 40.1 percent from the 3-point arc on massive volume (12.6 attempts per 100 possessions) and 85.6 percent from the line. I’d say he’s a plus-shooter. Miller also offers rebounding from the small forward spot, secondary rim protection and passes the ball well enough in the pick-and-roll to serve as a primary initiator.

Let’s get to the big question about Miller: Will his involvement in the Jan. 15 fatal shooting of Jamea Jonae Harris impact his draft stock?

No. Or at least not unless he is arrested or there is a new revelation about the case, according to multiple front office personnel NBC Sports has asked about the situation. Those front offices will do a deep dive into Miller and his associates, they will want more information, but if nothing new turns up then his draft status will be unaffected. A police investigator testified in court that Miller brought the gun to the scene where former Alabama teammate Darius Miles allegedly used it to shoot and kill Harris. Miller’s attorney pushed back on the police narrative and said Miller didn’t touch the gun and wasn’t aware it was in the car. Miller has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

Which player goes No.2 will come down to who teams rate higher on the court between Miller and Henderson. The Ignite have shut Henderson down for the season.

“I’m just ready. I’m trying to prepare myself for the next level,” Henderson told NBC Sports during All-Star Weekend. “I feel right there.”

Henderson averaged 16.5 points and 6.8 assists a game through the Ignite’s regular season, while during the G-League Showcase he averaged 21.2 points and 5.8 assists a game.

It will not be easy to pass on Henderson, whose athleticism draws comparisons to players such as Derrick Rose or Anthony Edwards. Also, Henderson is younger and spent this season playing against the men in the G-League with professional coaching guiding him, a step up from what Miller faced.

That said, it’s now an honest debate for the second pick, and that is a change in scouts’ thinking.