Charlotte Hornets rookie Brandon Miller is destined to have some ups and downs during his first season in the NBA as he works on becoming acclimated to the league. There will be certain parts of his game that should seamlessly transfer to the next level, while others could be facing a steeper learning curve. But there is one skill in particular that was specifically mentioned as an area that he needs to work on.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman identified areas that players need to work on in his recently published article, The 1 Skill Every Top NBA Rookie Needs to Hone in Training Camp. When it comes to the Hornets’ entry on this list, it was fairly obvious, finishing self-creation offense. Wasserman notes Miller’s issues in the explosiveness department and how that played a factor in some less-than-ideal shot attempts in addition to turnover issues.
"“While there is only so much Miller can do to improve his explosion in a short period of time, he’d benefit from strengthening his left hand. He converted just 7-of-24 drives going left last year, often struggling to get all the way to the rim or resorting to stationary, contested one-handers after defenders cut him off and slowed him to a standstill. Tightening his handle could also lead to higher-percentage finishes, as Miller’s dribble got too high, making it difficult to blow by, or leaving him vulnerable to getting stripped or blocked. He shot just 31.8 percent out of isolation and turned the ball over a whopping 26.9 percent of the time in ball-screen situations.”"
While making some adjustments in his approach will help Miller’s issues in this area, having a teammate who garners plenty of attention in LaMelo Ball will also help. Limiting Ball’s impact on a game will be the primary focus of opposing defenses, resulting in less skilled defenders being tasked with guarding the Hornets’ rookie. This could and should lead to better results for Miller when it comes to creating his own offense.
Even if Miller continues to struggle in this area and the necessary improvement does come immediately, there is no reason to panic. The Hornets are not expected to be a contending team this year, and Miller is only 20 years old with his entire career ahead of him. Charlotte’s focus should remain on the long game and work on making incremental improvements in seasons such as this, where it is about building the foundation to support contending later.