Sunday night brought yet another uninspiring loss for the Charlotte Hornets, this time at home to the Pacers, 115-99. This dropped the Hornets to 10-38 on the season, and it’s now their seventh loss in a row.
But there continues to be a shining bright spot for these Hornets, and that has been rookie forward, Brandon Miller. Fresh off being named the NBA’s Rookie of the Month for January, Miller has elevated his play even further so far in February.
That includes a new career-high in points last night, as Miller hit the 30-point threshold for the first - of hopefully many - times, finishing with 35 of the Hornets’ 99 points. Miller has taken on a much larger offensive role in the absence of LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier and has looked great doing it.
He handled the ball a lot, proving the ability to create his own offense, getting into his pull-ups in the midrange, and showing an ever-improving ability to get all the way to the rack and finish through contact.
Beyond that, Miller also had his three-point shot going on Sunday, hitting 5/12 from deep, and doing it off the catch, off the dribble, and even coming off dribble-hand-offs. It was a truly impressive all-around performance, and the rookie continues to make scoring look easy, even with the defense focused on him, sometimes even sending double teams Miller’s way.
He responded with one of his best games as a pro and managed to do it efficiently, only turning the ball over once and getting to the line for 12 free throw attempts. Miller also showed admirable defense, something the Hornets have been desperately lacking; he had 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocks.
Perhaps the most impressive sequence of the entire game for Miller was after finishing a nice layup, he sprinted back and was the only Hornet there to potentially contest a long outlet pass (the pass went out of bounds). Miller turned to the rest of his teammates and used some animated language to remind them to get back on defense.
It’s great to see that Miller cares and is already showing signs of leadership and competitiveness as a rookie on a losing team. Hopefully, he can help change the culture and start contributing to winning sooner rather than later.
Brandon Miller is pretty much the only reason to watch the Hornets right now, but he’s making it all worth it. The kid could be special. We need to see an extensive look at him play with LaMelo and Mark Williams, preferably soon.