While football will always be the top priority for the Crimson Tide athletic program (as long as Nick Saban roams the sidelines that is), the Alabama basketball program sent Brandon Miller to the Charlotte Hornets last week at No. 2 in the NBA Draft, tied with the school's highest pick ever along with Antonio McDyess in 1995.
Miller, who took home both SEC Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in his lone season in Tuscaloosa, has a chance to be the best pro hoops player the school has produced, though the list is more impressive than one might think.
BetAlabama.com, home to everything in and around the future of Alabama sports betting, looked at the best NBA players to come out of the Alabama program, and what Miller has to do in the pros to be considered the most successful.
Can Miller Surpass McDyess, Sexton?
Basketball Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Ben Wallace were born and raised in Alabama, but neither attended Bama (Barkley, in a cruel twist, went to rival Auburn).
Either would top the list of best NBA players from the Alabama program, but instead that current list is made up of good pros rather than greats.
McDyess was a more than solid player, averaging 20.8 points per game with the Nuggets in 2000-01 and making his first All-Star Team. He also was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 1999. Unfortunately, McDyess' offensive production dipped after his sixth season in the league, and he never averaged more than 11.3 points after the 2001-02 season.
While he remained a productive member of playoff teams late in his career, his lone All-Star selection isn't a massive hurdle for Miller to clear over time.
Collin Sexton, taken eighth overall by the Cavaliers in 2018, is an interesting case. A natural scorer, Sexton when healthy wrecks havoc on NBA defenses. But availability the past two seasons have slowed the hype around him. After averaging 24.3 points for the Cavs in the 2020-21 season, Sexton played only 11 games the following season because of injury.
That in part led to a trade to the Jazz, where he mostly came off the bench in 48 games this past season. Sexton hasn't been nearly as prolific a scorer in those last two limited campaigns, though it's too early to write off the 24-year-old.
Then There's Big Shot Bob
Then comes a player with one of the most unique NBA legacies. Robert Horry, affectionally known as "Big Shot Bob." Drafted at No. 11 in 1992 by the Rockets, Horry's regular-season career averages of 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists simply do not tell the story of his 16-year career.
He collected seven NBA titles in that span with three different teams and provided a litany of memorable, clutch moments that lifted his teams into the history books. To this day, Horry has the most championships of any player not to have played for the Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s.
While it's far-fetched to envision Miller becoming the role player Horry was, should things go that way, he will be more than hard-pressed to match Horry's clutch legacy across three different fanbases.
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