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Key match-up to watch: Bilal Coulibaly vs. Brandon Miller

The Wizards play the Hornets today and both teams took wings in the lottery.

Cairns Taipans v Washington Wizards
Bilal Coulibaly in the Wizards’ first preseason game
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Bilal Coulibaly was drafted with the 7th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and traded to the Wizards. Earlier in the night, the Charlotte Hornets selected Brandon Miller, a 6-9 wing out of Alabama. If all goes according to plan for their respective teams, these two will likely find themselves matched up with each other for many years to come. Tonight will be their first time facing off.

Miller was solid in his preseason debut against Miami but I wouldn’t say anything he did was overly impressive. He played 21 minutes and recorded 8 points on 3-of-9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Bilal Coulibaly put up a similar stat-line in 20 minutes. He had 5 points on 2-of-4 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block.

To be fair to Miller, he barely played with any of the Hornets starters so he didn’t have LaMelo Ball or Terry Rozier to create any easy looks for him. But if Miller is guarded by Coulibaly, he likely won’t have many easy looks tonight either as Coulibaly looked very impressive defensively in his debut.

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat
Brandon Miller drives against the Miami Heat
Photo by Eric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images

Miller has good length and positioning and also projects as a good long-term defender. That was actually probably the highlight of his initial performance despite him being known more for his offensive skill set. This will be a good opportunity for both players to really give fans, and their teams, a glimpse of what to expect from them this season.

Coulibaly started the Wizards’ opener, although it remains to be seen if he will continue to do so in tonight’s game. Miller came off the bench for the Hornets and will likely do so again tonight. Regardless, the two will likely find themselves opposite each other at least a few times tonight and it’s something I will definitely be watching for.