Brandon Miller named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January

Brandon Miller, of the Charlotte Hornets before a game against the Chicago Bulls
Brandon Miller, of the Charlotte Hornets before a game against the Chicago Bulls / David Jensen/GettyImages

The Charlotte Hornets got some good news on Thursday afternoon, as Brandon Miller was officially named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January. This is Miller’s first time winning the award, as it had previously gone to Jaime Jaquez Jr. of the Heat in both November and December this season.

Along with Miller, Victor Wembanyama, of the San Antonio Spurs was named the recipient of the award for the Western Conference in January. This was also a first for Wemby, as Chet Holmgren of the Thunder had swept in the West.

The play of Miller is easily the best development of the season for Charlotte, and it's been great to watch him get better each month. For January, Miller averaged 16 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, both season highs. Notably, he upped his usage rate for the third straight month and has seen his role grow considerably, especially with Terry Rozier being traded and LaMelo Ball being out.

With that came increased defensive attention, of course, and Miller handled it very well, turning the ball over only 16 times in 13 games, while playing over 30 minutes a night. Plus, after sitting out two games with a minor injury, Miller closed the month averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.75 assists over the final eight games.

Miller scored 20+ points in six of those eight games and matched his career high with 29 against the Knicks on January 29th. Before that stretch, Miller had only scored more than 20 points three times in 32 games for the entire season.

The future is looking brighter

So if anything, his stats for the month undersell just how good Brandon has been lately. He’s become a major point of emphasis for the Hornets recently and has shown a level of poise beyond his years, getting to the basket, hitting 3s, and also showing off his deadly midrange game. It has all been extremely impressive and promising from the 6’9”, 21-year-old

At this moment in time, Miller reaching his potential and becoming a superstar in this league is, by far the Hornets' best hope at becoming a title contender any time soon. That is the thing that should matter most to Hornets fans, and maximizing his potential and developing him are the most important things for the organization this season.

This is all obviously a long way off, and realistically and statistically speaking, still an unlikely outcome, but we’re getting a glimpse and some flashes of what the future of the Hornets may look like, and the early returns on Brandon Miller are very encouraging.