Film Don’t Lie: Baba Miller, Rayan Rupert

Detroit Bad Boys

With a new NBA season about to dawn, it is a great time to take one final deep breath of the summer offseason and think about the not-so-immediate future. More specifically, I’m talking about the 2023 NBA Draft prospects. We don’t know how the Detroit Pistons season will unfold. It could be the play-in tournament, or it could be vying for one of the following names. It makes sense, then, to at least be familiar with what the 2023 NBA Draft has to offer.

This will be the sixth, and final, of a multi-part series where I will break down possible prospects for the 2023 NBA Draft. For my series, I will not be looking at any players that were in college last season, though our own Steve Pelletier may have those breakdowns for you in the future. I will instead focus on a few players taking the nontraditional route to the NBA and the crop of HS seniors.

To finish this series I will be looking at a Baba Miller, headed to Florida State, and Rayan Rupert who will be playing for the New Zealand Breakers.

For these breakdowns, I will give just a paragraph or two of my overall thoughts on the prospect accompanied by my video breakdown on each. I do want to make a note that with ALL of the prospects in this series, I had varying levels of access to stats, information, and film. I try to highlight and note where I got stats from, if I had access to one game, just HS film, or maybe access to other leagues they played.

I also want to emphasize that these breakdowns are solely my evaluation of these prospects as players but not specifically for the Detroit Pistons. We have no idea how some of the Pistons’ young core will develop or where they will land in next year’s Draft. I simply wanted to give fans and readers of DBB a little insight into who these prospects are right now with the understanding that they have almost a full year of growth ahead of them.

Baba Miller

6-foot-11 – Florida State – 18 Years Old (Turns 19 on Feb. 7, 2023)

Stats (U18 Real Madrid) – 6.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 2.1 TOPG, 1.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG

  • 71% from 2, 1/12 from 3, 8/14 FT

Offensively, the first thing to make note of is Miller is not a “big” that plays on the perimeter, he is a perimeter player that happened to take a huge growth spurt and is now almost 7 feet tall. The first thing I noticed when turning on the film is those perimeter movement skills that are so intriguing. He is a prospect that is comfortable with a “grab and go” or attacking closeouts but would not say he is a self creator at all right now. The biggest question right now is probably the shot. He has a little bit of the old Lonz Ball form where he brings it all the way across his face. He has some really nice passing flashes but then will follow those up with some flat out poor decisions. At the end of the day, the offensive potential is intriguing but I am very interested in how much he is able to turn into practicality this season at Florida St.

Defensively, you are able to immediately tell he is most comfortable guarding on the perimeter and that is where he has spent the majority of his time. He is able to navigate screens and defend better on the perimeter than what I anticipated going into the breakdown. A couple areas I am excited to see if he improves on is in fact guarding true “bigs”, which would provide a ton of versatility from him, and if he figures out his length to be more disruptive protecting the rim and grabbing defensive boards.

Check out the Video Breakdown for my Full 2023 Preseason NBA Draft Player Profile

Rayan Rupert

6-foot-7 – New Zealand Breakers – 18 Years Old (Turns 19 on May 31, 2023)

Stats (in France via inSTAT) – 13.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 2.2 TOPG, 2.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG

  • 39% FG, 24% from 3, 73% FT

Offensively, the shooting was very frustrating for me to try and evaluate. I thought the free throw form looked decent, backed up by 73%, but the live game shooting did not look quite as positive with the very long, slow release with a low dip. I will say, the catch and shoot numbers from 3 were better than the overall % AND the time on the release did look to improve throughout the season. As a finisher around the rim, he is not a highlight reel athlete but is more so going to use his length and finesse to finish around defenders. One of the more intriguing things about Rupert offensively is how much he played on and off the ball. He was put in ball screen handler situations quite often but was also getting used off the ball with pindowns, Iverson cuts, etc.

Defensively, Rupert is very impressive in terms of his activity level and willingness to guard. On the ball he flat out gets after the ball handler, picking up full court often in my film study, and seems to take pride in guarding the ball handler. He does have great length but at times gets a little too reckless trying to go for steals even though he is pretty good at “picking the pocket” of the offensive player. He is also very disruptive off the ball defensively that will lead to offensive opportunities for his team but just like on the ball, I do think he will have to learn to show a little more discretion with just how aggressive he is going to be.

Check out the Video Breakdown for my Full 2023 Preseason NBA Draft Player Profile

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