Is Leonard Miller the right fit for the OKC Thunder at pick 12?
Biggest strengths of Leonard Miller’s game:
Leonard Miller is an exceptional athlete. The 19-year-old has incredible bounce, the length to play multiple positions, and excellent burst. He runs the floor at an elite level in transition, ranking in the 90th percentile according to synergy.
His ability to run the floor and be a transition starter and stopper is one of the keys to his success. In addition, he has above-average playmaking for his position and size, including a solid handle and really encouraging connective passing.
Miller is elite when finishing at the rim, shooting 66 percent at the rim, finishing through contact, soaring above the rim, and utilizing an excellent series of moves or ball fakes to create lanes to score at the cup.
Leonard Miller can be utilized in the pick-and-roll as a roll man, in the dunker spot, and as a terrific cutter. However, against grown men in the G-League, Miller was in the 54th percentile as a post-up scorer.
Defensively, Miller’s size and frame allow him to be an excellent and versatile defender. He understands how to use that 7’2 wingspan to deflect passes, disrupt offenses to bring an opponent’s play to a screeching halt, and outright swipe the ball away to get out in transition, where he puts up 1.285 points per possession.
I love Leonard Miller in this draft. I love how he runs the floor, finishes at the rim through contact, and defends, especially against screens. All against grown men and really good GL competition. pic.twitter.com/inNx3HL00b
— Rylan Stiles (@Rylan_Stiles) May 3, 2023
Biggest Weaknesses of Leonard Miller’s game:
All signs point to Miller’s jump shot which only allowed him to shoot at a 30 percent clip from beyond the arc. The wing has a flat shot that looks more like a push shot in nature while also kicking his legs out in what I describe as a scissortail kick. Despite the poor shooting numbers, there are some encouraging signs around Miller’s shot. He has embraced the idea of tweaking his form and checks out to be a coachable, hard worker. He is also willing and able to take shots in the mid-range. It changes his game if he can become an average shooter from beyond the arc.
Perhaps his hands are a more significant weakness than the shot getting all the attention. While he measures out to have some of the biggest hands of any prospect, Miller fumbles a few too many passes away. For a player whose offense is predicated on scoring at the rim off the ball, bobbling or losing passes on the roll really hurt him. While he can score despite letting defenses contest and adjust thanks to that bobble, it will not be that easy at the next level.
The last area of his game that needs improvement is his engagement. There are times he lapses in intensity from play-to-play on defense or maybe gets bored and becomes a ball-stopper on offense. However, I think that changes at the next level—specifically, the defense.
Leonard Miller will be locked in for each minute he is on the floor defensively in the NBA, or he will not be on the floor long. The ball stopping he did on offense was few and far between, but when you point it out, it is essential to note it is the G-League.
The G used to be called the Developmental League; we have seen firsthand in OKC that you send players to the G-League to experiment and try new things. However, since those instances were few and far between, there is reason to believe it was not ball-stopping; it was Miller trying to grow an on-ball shot creation game.
Ultimately, Miller is a really good prospect.