Rookie of the Year: F Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller had a chance to go head-to-head with Wembanyama in each of their Las Vegas Summer League debuts. Miller played better, though he already had two games in hand from the California Classic.
Against the Spurs, he recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, stealing the ball three times and otherwise playing solid defense. The most glaring flaw was his three-point shooting, where Miller missed 7 of his 10 attempts.
Still, Miller won’t be under as much pressure to perform as Wembanyama, which could give the versatile wing the opportunity to develop under a less glaring spotlight. He can operate as a catch-and-shoot player, deferring to LaMelo Ball on offense and simply filling out his role in an efficient manner, which could reflect well if Wembanyama struggles to do it all.
A big factor in the voting could be the success of the Hornets on the court. They still don’t feel close to a playoff team, but they’re probably closer to that point than the Spurs (unless San Antonio somehow acquires Damian Lillard). Sneaking into the playoffs could lead to voters sneaking Miller on to the top of their ballots.
But Miller can pass, he can shoot (generally), he can play off the dribble, and he can operate in the pick-and-roll. He should be enough of a threat to contend for Rookie of the Year honors.