Leonard Miller has already established quite the journey to the league, despite having yet to play in an official NBA game.
The Canadian forward has impressed with the Minnesota Timberwolves in his first Las Vegas Summer League appearance as a rookie after getting selected with the 33rd-overall pick in the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft.
Watching Miller, fans can’t help but see glimpses of Kevin Durant, Karl-Anthony Towns, and even Kevin Garnett at times when he gets a block on the defensive end before going coast to coast with a slick pull-up jumper in the midrange.
Measured in at over 6’9 without shoes with an encompassing wingspan of over 7’2, Miller’s combination of physical gifts with blossoming technical skills on the perimeter, he has the archetype reminiscent of lengthy scorers like Durant and other superstars who came before him.
That being said, how did the NBA allow such a specimen to fall into the second round?
Coming out of Canada, Leonard Miller elected to skip college and declare for the NBA Draft instead, opting to place his talents up against more established prospects coming out of the NCAA.
Miller generated lottery buzz, despite having very little tape against top-level competition. With a draft class lacking in true star power outside of the top four prospects, teams were enamored with Miller’s potential to be a two-way star with above-average size, even in the NBA.
After some discussion over his expected draft range, though, Miller unexpectedly pulled out of the draft and turned to the G-League for a season as a professional.
“Ladies and gentleman, we got him”
Leonard Miller is SIGNED 😤 pic.twitter.com/Bg3bz2NDd8
— Wolves Lead (@TWolvesLead) July 9, 2023
Playing for the Ignite, alongside blue-chip point guard Scoot Henderson, Miller flashed a lot of promise in the G-League.
Playing in 34 games, he put up an impressive 17.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.5 assists against NBA-caliber athletes. Despite his success in the NBA’s farm system, Miller’s draft stock actually plummeted, and he was eventually taken at the top of the second round.
Through two games in the 2023 Las Vegas Summer League, Miller has averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, and two assists, while shooting an impressive 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep. He’s also adding 2.5 steals and 0.5 blocks per outing.
Although it’s just Summer League, there are sure to be teams and general managers already regretting letting Miller slide past them in the draft. It’ll be interesting to see just how miserable he can make those decision-makers through the course of his NBA career.
Leonard Miller can score in more ways than I thought. LET CONNELLY COOK 👨🍳 pic.twitter.com/9cFybe3wr6
— The Daily Wolves (@TheDailyWolves) July 11, 2023
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| Title: Rookie Leonard Miller looking like steal of 2023 NBA Draft
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: July 12, 2023