Brandon Miller Gun Involvement Unlikely To Affect NBA Status; Draft Analyst Weighs In

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Brandon Miller’s NBA Draft stock continues to soar. This despite the fact that, according to police testimony, the Alabama freshman brought a gun to a scene where it was used in the murder of a 23-year-old woman earlier this year.

NBA teams remain very interested.

Miller, a forward, had a 41-point outing in a Wednesday overtime win against South Carolina. The game marked the first time Miller had played since it was announced that he brought the gun to the scene where it was used in the murder of Jamea Jonae Harris.

Darius Miles, a former teammate of Miller’s at Alabama, is one of two men (Michael ‘Buzz’ Davis, is the other) facing capital murder charges relating to the murder.

I reached out to Matt Babcock, an NBA Draft Analyst who runs Babcock Hoops, to get his perspective on where Miller’s draft stock stands. Prior to serving as a Draft Analyst, Matt worked as a certified NBA Agent. His father, Dave, is the Director of Player Personnel for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Miller has been widely considered a top-10 NBA prospect for much of the season.

Brandon Miller scored 41 points in Alabama’s most recent game. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Brandon Miller Is Alabama’s Leading Scorer

“I’ve had him ranked in the top 5 since I watched him for several days in Portland in November at the Phil Knight Invitational. He’s a big-time talent,” said Babcock when asked where he had Miller ranked prior to his gun involvement being made public.

I asked Babcock if Miller’s involvement (he is not charged with any wrongdoing) would cause him to alter his ranking.

“It was not a good look for Miller when it all came out. A prospect tied up in a capital murder case, in any way, is alarming. However, as more information has been released, I’ve become increasingly open-minded to the idea that these were just terrible circumstances for Miller and that he’s more innocent from an ethical standpoint than it initially appeared,” the Draft analyst added.

“Also, it’s worth noting that Miller has a good reputation without any track record of being a troublemaker. Regardless, NBA scouts and guys like myself will keep a pulse on the situation and make a concerted effort to learn more leading up to the draft. In the meantime, and until I know more, I will not be altering Miller’s ranking.”

In 28 games this season, Miller sports averages of 19.5 points and 8 rebounds per game. He stands 6’9 and is shooting nearly 47% from the field, 43% from three and better than 83% from the foul line. His talent is undeniable.

NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babcock Brandon Miller calls Brandon Miller a “big-time talent.” (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

The NBA Draft Is Slated For June 22

Matt Babcock couldn’t say for sure how much Miller’s involvement with the murder will weigh on NBA teams come June. Based on Miller’s talent and having more questions than answers, it’s reasonable to assume NBA teams will be cautious, but not overreact.

“It depends on the details and information that’s gathered. Teams selecting in the lottery will likely hire private investigators to dig into the situation,” Babcock stated. “And I fully expect teams to be able to collect adequate information and gain clarity on Miller’s involvement leading up to the draft.

But, honestly, it’s too early to take a bold stance either way. So many questions still need to be answered.”

News that the gun was used in the murder near Tuscaloosa broke nationally on Tuesday. Plenty of skepticism quickly arose regarding whether or not Miller would be suspended for Wednesday’s game with South Carolina. And if he played, how would he fare.

Those questions were answered last night after Miller scored a career-high for the second-ranked Crimson Tide.

“From a basketball perspective, Miller’s 41-point performance moved the needle,” Babcock said Thursday. “For a young player to face that amount of adversity and scrutiny, right or wrong, and then turn around and perform as he did is remarkable.”

Miller’s Draft Stock Is Climbing

Reputable basketball site HoopsHype released a mock draft earlier today that seemed to share Babcock’s opinion. The site recognized Miller’s involvement in their write up and also recognized his talent. They have him penciled in as the fourth pick in June’s draft.

The Sporting News released a mock draft of their own this afternoon and had Brandon Miller going third.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith appears to be at least halfway on the Brandon bandwagon. During Thursday’s episode of his show, First Take, Smith applauded Miller’s pressure-packed performance. He went on to mention that NBA scouts will applaud his “mental toughness.”

It’s increasingly clear that Miller’s off the court actions will seemingly have little to no effect on his on-court status. Though as Babcock cautions, this is unchartered territory: “There have been some prospects throughout the years where certain situations and issues called for a thorough investigation by teams leading up to the draft. However, in this case, the severity of the crimes charged and the extensive media coverage is unprecedented, at least in recent years.”

Brandon Miller and Alabama are in action again Saturday when the Tide host Arkansas.

(Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story referenced the gun as being Brandon Miller’s. The gun actually was Darius Miles’. OutKick regrets the error.)

Written by Anthony Farris


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