Jun 22, 2023; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brandon Miller (Alabama) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected second by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

For months leading up to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, we knew French seven-footer Victor Wembanyama would be the No. 1 pick. But what we were much less certain of was what the Charlotte Hornets would do at No. 2, torn between SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller and G League phenom Scoot Henderson. All signs were pointing to Miller until insider Shams Charania, pulling from his infinite well of league sources, muddied the waters by sending out the following tweet.

That development struck many as odd. In terms of need, Miller always made more sense for the Hornets while Henderson, for all his talent, would have been redundant, adding another body to what was already a crowded backcourt led by LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre and Dennis Smith Jr. Regardless, Charania’s tweet had an immediate impact on betting markets, transforming Henderson from a longshot to the heavy favorite for the No. 2 pick, all in a matter of hours.

Though Charania’s report may have been accurate at the time, Charlotte, sometime before the No. 2 pick was announced, must have had a change of heart, ultimately selecting Miller with Henderson falling to the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 3.

Charania’s ESPN counterpart, Adrian Wojnarowski, would later take a victory lap at Shams’ expense, suggesting Henderson was never in play for Charlotte at No. 2.

Wojnarowski’s ESPN colleague, Joe Fortenbaugh, offered further insight, acknowledging that while the Hornets did briefly entertain trading the No. 2 pick, their reported interest in Henderson was likely a smokescreen.

That could have been the end of the story, but what complicates matters is that Charania just so happens to be on FanDuel’s payroll. Predictably, many on Twitter cried foul, accusing Charania of manipulating Henderson’s odds for the benefit of his employer.


Making that accusation without knowing all the facts is probably irresponsible, though you can’t deny it’s a heck of a coincidence, illustrating the slippery slope between sports and its betting overlords, rife with conflicts of interest. If nothing else, Thursday’s controversy shows the enormous power wielded by Charania and Wojnarowski, with both carrying enough industry juice to influence the betting community in a major way.

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.