With Victor Wenbanyama shut down after two games and Scoot Henderson sidelined with a right shoulder injury, Brandon Miller is now the highest selection in the 2023 NBA Draft that has thus far played the most games in the NBA 2K24 Summer League. And more or less, that was the expectation.

The Charlotte Hornets have yet to earn a victory in three contests, but the biggest win for them is seeing Miller getting the needed reps to slowly but surely acclimatize him to the NBA level of competition. Compared to the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers, load management may not yet be in the cards for Miller and the Hornets.

Through three games, Miller has had per-game averages of 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and a block. His combination of height and skill was on full display, with his dunks and shots from pretty much anywhere within halfcourt validating comparisons to his GOAT Paul George and Brandon Ingram.

Nick Smith Jr. may have led all scorers with 33 points in Charlotte’s 97-93 loss to the Blazers, but Miller came up with his best game thus far, finishing with 26 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in 31 minutes. In a nutshell, it was the game that added validation to the Hornets selecting him over Henderson.

The progress with each game was evident and he was more patient in finding the right spots to attack. It wasn’t a man-amongst-boys feeling, but one could see that Miller was not fazed by the defense nor the spotlight and for Charlotte, that’s a good thing. LaMelo Ball will definitely enjoy having a running mate like him, and in the end, they’ll make each other’s lives so much easier. It could make for a fun league pass team as well.

Of course, scoring wasn’t the only thing he brought to the table as he held his own defensively and made an effort to find teammates on the break. He can tend to be overly aggressive sometimes, but the Hornets coaching staff would rather have that unteachable trait and work towards sharpening it rather than deterring it.

Regardless of where Miller will be as a player at the end of the summer league, he remains a work in progress. Consistency, particularly with his shooting, might be among the areas he must address especially as the defenses get more sophisticated and attuned to him. Forcing shots now later on won’t be as excusable as it is in summer league. Aside from that, Miller has to understand that picking his spots also means avoiding unnecessary fouls and costly errors.

The number of games Miller will eventually play for Charlotte in summer league is by no means an indication of his ability to stay on the court, but it is a starting point. The highlights were seen by everyone following him and the Hornets’ summer league campaign, but their weaknesses were there for everyone to see as well. How they address those potential issues opponents may have discovered between now and October will be critical to Miller’s development and Charlotte’s goal of becoming a contender.

As the NBA season can be long and grueling, the consensus 2023 second-team All-American may need to bulk up as he will encounter heftier and more experienced defenders. The rookie wall that first-year players hit more or less within the All-Star break is largely undefeated and the infamous sophomore slump can rear its ugly head. The Hornets will do whatever it takes to protect one of their franchise cornerstones and it starts with safeguarding his health. After all, injuries could derail the 20-year old’s season, or worse, his career.

Among the top three picks in the 2023 NBA Draft, Brandon Miller was the last man standing in the NBA 2K24 Summer League. If anything, that only means that Miller got a head start on his peers in terms of getting game reps in, but he may need it more than them if he wants to emerge as the best player in his draft class.