NBA Rookie of the Year ladder: Big rise from Brandon Miller in Week 4

With a bigger opportunity than most, it's time to start paying attention to Brandon Miller in the Rookie of the Year race.

Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets
Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets / Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
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. Hornets. 5. 5. Brandon Miller. Brandon Miller. player. 170. . Wing

It only took a few games for Brandon Miller to emerge as a full-time starter for the Charlotte Hornets. It has been an imperfect season, of course, but the No. 2 overall pick continues to flash the upside Charlotte was banking on. He put together an impressive 29-point performance against the Knicks on Nov. 18, the high point of his season — 10-of-15 from the field, 5-of-7 from deep, with solid defense on the side.

Miller has room to grow as a ball-handler and facilitator, but he's playing decisively off the catch with a reliable 3-point shot and enough court vision to generate looks for teammates off drives to the rim. As he gets more comfortable finishing inside, Miller's unique blend of size, shooting, and passing will start to really pay dividends for Charlotte. The Hornets have been looking for a legitimate No. 1 scoring wing to pair with LaMelo Ball. He's not there yet, and the Miles Bridges return has certainly complicated his standing in the offensive hierarchy, but Miller is well on his way to fulfilling Charlotte's wishes.

The 20-year-old has struggled with efficiency, like any rookie, but it's difficult to deny the lofty peaks of Miller's production (four games with 15+ points, two with 22+ points) and the volume of his workload for Charlotte. Among rookies, only Victor Wembanyama and Ausar Thompson are averaging more minutes per game than Miller (30.2). He's on the court often, and he's gradually earning more responsibilities in a solid Charlotte offense.

The 5-9 Hornets are still far removed from contention, but there is plenty of optimism to be derived from the performances of Miller and LaMelo Ball.