For most of the past year, Scoot Henderson going No. 2 overall in the 2023 NBA Draft seemed almost as certain as Victor Wembanyama going No. 1. That slowly started to shift during the regular season, and when the wing-needy Charlotte Hornets landed at No. 2 overall, the league-wide consensus shifted towards Alabama forward Brandon Miller in that slot. As such, Miller took on the favorite spot.
He held it for most of the pre-draft process, but this is where things get interesting. Earlier this week, oddsmakers had slowly shifted Henderson into the favorite slot. However, as of Wednesday morning, the line aggressively moved back toward Miller. He is now minus-500 to go No. 2, per Caesars Sportsbook. Henderson is plus-200.
So what is driving this movement? There is the obvious possibility that the Hornets simply made their decision and plan to select Miller. Charlotte had both Miller and Henderson in for second workouts this week, and reports from Miller’s workout were largely positive. Of course, that wouldn’t explain why Henderson was able to grab the favorite slot earlier in the week when Charlotte already has LaMelo Ball at his position.
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This is where we have to venture deeper and deeper into pure speculation. Henderson has been a trade target for several teams looking to move up in the draft, with the New Orleans Pelicans at the top of that list. Most of those teams have been linked to Portland at No. 3, but perhaps Vegas caught wind of talks involving the Hornets at No. 2 that have now dissipated.
These line movements have grown increasingly instructive in recent years as betting has become a bigger and bigger part of the basketball world. Last season, Jabari Smith was a heavy minus-money favorite to go No. 1 until around 20 hours before the draft. All of a sudden, the money shifted to Paolo Banchero. Reporting on the morning of the draft moved that line back to Smith, but in the hour before the draft, it landed with Banchero and stayed there until he was taken No. 1 overall. Vegas has a recent history of being more informed on these matters than even the insiders.
That means that this line shift likely indicates that Miller will indeed be the No. 2 overall pick on Thursday. There’s still time for someone to bowl the Hornets over with a trade, but if Charlotte is on the clock at No. 2, all signs point to Alabama’s versatile forward.