The Crimson Tide Fan’s Guide to the 2023 NBA Draft
The 2022-23 season was a historic one for Alabama Men's Basketball. The program reached new heights under Nate Oats, posting their first number one overall NCAA Tournament seed in school history, amongst much more. With such success comes professional opportunities for players, and three Tide stars find themselves hoping to hear their name called tonight at the NBA Draft.
The first Tide player projected to be off the board, Brandon Miller, is no stranger to being a trending topic. The All-American and SEC Player of the Year is set to be picked in the top 3 of the NBA Draft tonight, but speculation continues as to whether Miller will hear his name called second or third.
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski has consistently projected Miller to be taken second overall by the Charlotte Hornets, a sentiment echoed by many around the sport over the past few days. Just this morning though, Shams Charania, a trusted NBA insider for The Athletic and Stadium, said the Hornets pick is very much up-in-the-air, with Scoot Henderson gaining stronger consideration for the second pick.
If he is indeed taken second tonight, Miller is set to potentially tie Antonio McDyess as the highest drafted Alabama player in program history. Speculation on where Miller will be taken isn't the only way the young player has made headlines this week, though.
At pre-draft media events, Miller was asked who he thought the greatest basketball player of all time is. His response was neither Michael Jordan or LeBron James, but rather Clippers star Paul George. Those who follow Miller closely have known that the young player frequently compares his game to George's, and has said that he models his playing style after the All-NBA forward.
This response blew up on Twitter, getting posts from many major sports accounts including SportsCenter and Bleacher Report. The replies to these posts were full of incredulous fans, calling the wacky response a "red flag" for being drafted.
In other clips, Miller also seemed to talk trash to former Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who had labeled the forward as "just a shooter". Responding to Miller's comments, host of One Shining Podcast on The Ringer and Carolina basketball fan Tate Frazier said "this is either grade-A tanking or the greatest way to get drafted by Michael Jordan."
Noah Clowney and Charles Bediako, the other two Tide players in the draft, have had understandably less buzz around them this week. Bediako seems to likely go undrafted tonight, but Clowney is an intriguing prospect to many teams.
In many projections, Clowney is expected to be picked in the early to middle 20s of the first round. He's been labeled by scouts as a "project player", but his upside is very promising for such a young talent. Possible landing spots include the Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings. That being said, don't be shocked if Clowney somehow finds his way into being a top-15 lottery pick, similar to the Spurs surprising selection of Josh Primo a couple of years ago.
Regardless of where Coach Oats' boys end up, this will be one of the biggest days of their lives. Alabama's run of draft picks under Oats has been extremely impressive, and seems to only be getting more impressive as we head towards the 2024 season.
The 2023 NBA Draft will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It is set to start tonight, June 22nd, at 6:30 P.M. Central on ESPN and ABC.
Alabama Basketball Players Who've Played in the NBA
Alabama Basketball All-Time Scoring Leaders