2023 NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Arkansas guards, SEC prominent in lottery

Anthony Black, Nick Smith Jr. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Anthony Black, Nick Smith Jr. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images) /

F, Alabama. New Orleans Pelicans. Brandon Miller. 9. player. 69.

The conversation around Brandon Miller right now has very little to do with basketball. He was recently linked to a murder in Tuscaloosa, in which he provided the weapon eventually used by a former teammate to commit the crime. It’s not a good look, made worse by Alabama’s blatant and distasteful desire to move past the controversy as quickly as possible.

How it will ultimately impact Miller’s draft stock feels like a matter of very little importance in the wake of such a tragedy. In a recent report from Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, NBA executives were split on the implications of Miller’s alleged involvement. Right now, Miller is not a suspect in the crime, only a corroborative witness, and Alabama has no plans to suspend him.

Strictly in terms of basketball, it has been difficult to find fault in the freshman’s performance this season for Alabama. He’s the best player on one of the nation’s top teams and he’s fresh off an impressive 41-point performance on the road, which included the game-winning bucket in overtime.

At 6-foot-9, Miller brings an undeniable blend of size and shooting to the perimeter. He’s hitting 43.1 percent of his 3s for the season and he continues to obliterate college defenses with the mid-range game. The Pelicans are loaded to the gills with talented prospects and depth pieces, so a player with Miller’s obvious star upside is a perfectly reasonable gamble if they truly believe his involvement in the aforementioned crime was only incidental. That said, the information currently available paints an ugly picture and teams have much to consider beyond the basketball court.