With less than a month away from the draft on June 22, the 20-year-old forward and SEC Player of the Year out of Alabama sat down for a one-on-one interview with Stadium’s Shams Charania. The interview included glimpses into Miller’s mindset on several topics, including who he models his game after. The 6-foot-9, smooth-shooting forward’s answer: eight-time NBA All-Star Paul George.
Alabama’s Brandon Miller, set to be among top 2023 NBA picks, sits down with @Stadium: “I feel like I’m No. 1, but you can’t beat 7-5, 8-foot wingspan.” On becoming a defensive force after taking his first charge foul in college, modeling after Pacers Paul George, and much more. pic.twitter.com/kswkBbeDWk— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 24, 2023
“I kind of studied Paul George, kind of modeled my game after his, just with my own twist to it. I stole a majority of his moves and put my own twist to it and just kind of perfected it. I like more of the Indiana Pacers [Paul George].”
George, who along with his All-Star selections has an All-NBA First Team selection to his name, isn’t a bad role model. The 33-year-old forward is known for his fluid game and sweet stroke, but also praised for his impact on the defensive end. That’s a trait Miller said he also takes pride in with his game.
“Your game’s not gonna always go good on offense. It’s just how you can impact the game on any side of the ball, which is defense. It’s all about making the small plays like diving on the floor, taking the charges, getting rebounds. I just started taking charges when I got to college, so I feel like giving my body up can go real far.”
Miller’s words match up with Blazer’s Edge’s draft profile of the prospect written by Marlow Ferguson Jr., which highlighted his motor and attitude on that end. Though a comparison to George, at least on defense, may prove lofty, Ferguson Jr. wrote Miller’s mindset coupled with his size made him effective.
Defensively, comparisons to Paul George could end up overzealous. But Miller’s hustle, feisty mentality, and his knowledge of how to use that frame and wingspan seems to give him a fighting chance against almost anyone that doesn’t have blow-by speed or an incredibly-bulky frame.
The biggest question mark surrounding Miller as a prospect isn’t about his basketball game, but rather his off-court situation. Court testimony claimed that he delivered a teammate a handgun that killed 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris on Jan. 15. Miller has been cleared of legal wrongdoing in the case, but his involvement is still a national story and will likely follow him to the team that selects him. NBA teams have asked Miller about the situation during the draft process and Charania also asked Miller about it during the interview. Miller’s response discussed how the event has changed him.
“It’s definitely a learning lesson, you can clearly see that your career can change, in a heartbeat. One thing I’ve learned is you gotta be aware of your surroundings and just where you’re at at all times.
“...It kind of brought me to be the guy who I am, just to have the confidence to talk to counselors because I’ve never really opened up to anyone about anything until I got a counselor. I feel like everybody should have a counselor to talk to. At first, it was hard. It felt kind of weird. I didn’t really know this person. What can they do for me? And, then, after a while you start loosening up and just get comfortable with your counselor.”
The first part of Miller’s response largely mirrored what he told reporters at the NBA Draft combine earlier this month.