Should Brandon Miller’s NCAA tourney performance force Detroit Pistons to rethink his draft stock?
Post-All-Star break means it is officially the 2023 NBA Draft season for the Detroit Pistons and for Pistons fans. In that spirit, Detroit Bad Boys is sharing weekly articles and prospect breakdowns from our own Bryce Simon, who is analyzing prospects for Sports Illustrated’s Draft Digest .
This week, Bryce explores potential No. 2 overall pick, Brandon Miller, and perhaps the best 3-point shooter in the NBA Draft, Jordan Hawkins.
Brandon Miller, Alabama Freshman Wing
The rise of Brandon Miller on NBA Draft Big Boards since the preseason is truly remarkable. It speaks to the totality of the freshman year he put together and a tantalizing set of skills. Not only has Miller staked his claim as the No. 3 prospect in this class but in doing so has also made a run at Scoot Henderson as the potential No. 2 prospect, something many did not think was possible. For the Detroit Pistons, specifically, there is no more seamless fit for this roster outside of No. 1 overall prospect Victor Wembanyama. Miller would immediately fill a hole on the wing for a team looking for a young, dynamic player to grow with the explosive backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. He did not have the best tournament performance, and that opened the door for that next-in-line position between Miller, Scoot and the Thompson twins.
Jordan Hawkins, Connecticut Sophomore Guard
For my money, Jordan Hawkins is the best 3-point shooter in both college basketball and the 2023 NBA Draft. The overall percentages simply do not do justice what level of pressure this sophomore guard is putting on opposing defenses. He runs in transitions, relocates off the ball, sprints off a million screens and dribbles into attempts. If a defender loses track of Hawkins in any of these situations, he is going to be sure to make them pay. In a league that values 3-point shooting and floor spacing as much as the NBA, it is easy to see how NBA front offices will fall in love with this prospect.
Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas Freshman Guard
Many would call this a disappointing season for Nick Smith Jr., who many had as a top-five prospect coming into the college basketball season. His stock fell throughout the course of the season due to injuries and inefficient play. Unfortunately, three games in the NCAA tournament have not done anything to erase the worries for potential NBA teams and scouts. Smith Jr. is not a prospect we should be seeing the Detroit Pistons take in the top five BUT if he were to fall AND Troy Weaver acquires another first-round pick MAYBE he fills the role of a scoring guard off the bench.
Marcus Sasser, Houston Senior Guard
The path to NBA success is getting harder and harder for small guards in the mold of Marcus Sasser but the intensity he plays with and his shooting numbers are going to give him a chance for success. Like Smith Jr., Sasser and his Houston Cougars team is still alive in March Madness and they are actually one of the favorites to cut down the nets on April 3rd (side note: come watch the game with myself and Omari Sankofa II at the HopCat Detroit Downtown as we will be doing a live, in person, recording of episode 60 of The Pistons Pulse before the game!!!). Sasser is also not in play for the Detroit Pistons first pick on draft night but it is possible he could be selected with pick No. 31 that Troy Weaver currently holds IF they were ready to move on from Killian Hayes.
If you want to stay up to date on all of this year’s NBA Draft prospects, you can read all of Bryce’s work for Sports Illustrated’s Draft Digest .