By drafting two elite players from two impressive college basketball teams in the first round, the Charlotte Hornets won the 2023 NBA Draft. Although the Hornets showed flashes of brilliance last season, their inconsistent play, primarily due to devastating injuries throughout the season, including LaMelo Ball’s injuries, led to a pitiful final regular season record, resulting in the second pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Hornets Won the 2023 NBA Draft
With the second pick, the Hornets selected Brandon Miller, the 6’9 Alabama forward, arguably the best college player in the 2023 NBA Draft. If Victor Wembanyama had not been in this Draft, the lion’s share of the media’s attention would have been devoted to Miller. Although just a freshman, Miller led Alabama to SEC regular season and tournament championships. Through his leadership, the Crimson Tide finished with a 31-6 overall record, and the team dominated the SEC with a 16-2 record.
I would not be surprised to see Miller win the 2023-2024 Rookie of the Year award and make the Eastern Conference NBA All-Star team. In his first year, expect Brandon Miller to be a star and one of the team’s leading scorers. Also, Miller is an excellent defender.
With the 27th pick, the Hornets selected Nick Smith Jr., the 6’5 freshman Arkansas guard who led the Razorbacks to its third consecutive Sweet Sixteen. In the 2022 recruiting class, Nick Smith Jr. was the top recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports. Unfortunately, due to a knee injury and its rehabilitation and management, Smith Jr. participated in only 17 games for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Given the limited time he played and practiced, Razorback Nation did not have a chance to witness his full capabilities. However, he protected his body to deliver his best performances in the NBA.
While I do not expect Smith Jr. to perform as brilliantly as Miller in his first season with the Hornets, Smith Jr. will be a valuable contributor on offense and defense.
With the undeniable talent Brandon Miller and Nick Smith Jr. offer, the Hornets landed more talent than any other team. Imagine LaMelo Ball playing alongside Brandon Miller and Nick Smith Jr. This trio makes the Hornets legitimate playoff contenders.