Final 2024 NBA mock draft: Why we're expecting an unpredictable night (2024)

Table of Contents
1. Atlanta Hawks Zaccharie Risacher | 6-8 wing/forward | 19 years old | JL Bourg 2. Washington Wizards Alex Sarr | 7-0 big | 19 years old | Perth Wildcats 3. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn Nets) Reed Sheppard | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Kentucky 4. San Antonio Spurs Stephon Castle | 6-6 wing | 19 years old | Connecticut 5. TRADE: Detroit Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis Grizzlies Donovan Clingan | 7-2 center | 20 years old | Connecticut 6. Charlotte Hornets Dalton Knecht | 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Tennessee 7. Portland Trail Blazers Cody Williams | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | Colorado 8. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors) Tidjane Salaun | 6-9 wing/forward | 18 years old | Cholet 9. TRADE: Memphis Grizzlies trade No. 9 to Detroit Pistons Matas Buzelis | 6-9 wing/forward | 19 years old | G League Ignite 10. Utah Jazz Nikola Topić | 6-6 lead guard | 18 years old | Crvena zvezda 11. TRADE: Chicago Bulls trade No. 11 to Los Angeles Lakers Devin Carter | 6-2 guard | 22 years old | Providence 12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Rockets) Bub Carrington | 6-4 guard | 18 years old | Pittsburgh 13. Sacramento Kings Ron Holland | 6-7 wing | 18 years old | G League Ignite 14. Washington Wizards (via POR and GSW) Isaiah Collier | 6-3 guard | 19 years old | USC 15. Miami Heat Jared McCain | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Duke 16. Philadelphia 76ers Robert Dillingham | 6-1 guard | 19 years old | Kentucky 17. TRADE: Los Angeles Lakers trade No. 17 to Chicago Bulls Yves Missi | 6-11 big | 20 years old | Baylor 18. Orlando Magic Tristan da Silva | 6-8 forward | 23 years old | Colorado 19. Toronto Raptors (via Pacers) Zach Edey | 7-4 center | 22 years old | Purdue 20. Cleveland Cavaliers Ja’Kobe Walter | 6-4 wing | 19 years old | Baylor 21. New Orleans Pelicans (via Bucks) Johnny Furphy | 6-8 wing | 19 years old | Kansas 22. TRADE: Phoenix Suns trade pick to Utah Jazz Kyle Filipowski | 6-11 big | 20 years old | Duke 23. Milwaukee Bucks (via NOP) A.J. Johnson | 6-4 guard | 19 years old | Illawarra 24. New York Knicks (via Mavericks) Tyler Kolek | 6-1 guard | 23 years old | Marquette 25. New York Knicks Baylor Scheierman | 6-6 wing | 23 years old | Creighton 26. Washington Wizards (via Clippers) Kel’el Ware | 7-0 big | 20 years old | Indiana 27. Minnesota Timberwolves Terrence Shannon Jr. | 6-6 wing | 23 years old | Illinois 28. Denver Nuggets DaRon Holmes | 6-9 big | 21 years old | Dayton 29. TRADE: Utah Jazz trade pick to Phoenix Suns Ryan Dunn | 6-6 wing | 21 years old | Virginia 30. Boston Celtics Pacôme Dadiet | 6-8 wing | 18 years old | Ratiopharm Ulm Second Round Required Reading

The Athletic has live coverage of the2024 NBA Draft.

It’s officially 2024 NBA Draft day.

The Atlanta Hawks hold all the cards with the No. 1 pick, and league sources are still unsure of their plans. The Hawks seem to have several potential options as they sort through a draft class that does not have typical quality at the top.

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As one NBA executive told me recently, this class, unlike most, has an inordinate number of eye-of-the-beholder talents. NBA teams largely agree this is a down class through the top 10. Many, however, believe the middle of the first round, going to the No. 20-25 range, features intriguing options before the class levels out again in the second round. I anticipate fewer All-Stars this season than the six or so that come from a normal draft class, but the number of players who stick in the NBA may be about the same.

Final 2024 NBA mock draft: Why we're expecting an unpredictable night (1)

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One other note: If the board breaks right, we could see a solid number of draft-night trades as teams lock in the players they want. Some teams see value in trading back. Others see potential diamonds in the rough, especially in the No. 10 to No. 25 range, in which some interesting players are projected to slip on draft night. In that vein, I’ve added a few trades to this mock.

(Ages listed are as of draft night; heights listed are NBA Draft Combine or G League Elite Camp measurements without shoes, when available):

LAST UPDATE: June 26, 7:20 p.m. ET.

GO DEEPER2024 NBA Draft Guide: Tiers, final rankings and Big Board

1. Atlanta Hawks

Zaccharie Risacher | 6-8 wing/forward | 19 years old | JL Bourg

None of the league sources The Athletic has consulted seems to have any certainty on what the Hawks will do on draft night still at No. 1. Donovan Clingan was the name linked with the Hawks most often last week, with many league sources noting the Connecticut big man might fit better as a potential trade-down target. However, since Risacher’s workout in Atlanta last week, his name has been raised increasingly often in conversations around the league.

Alexandre Sarr’s name occasionally comes up as well, but that could be an attempt to convince a trade up from Washington, the team most often linked with Sarr. Of course, that same logic could apply to any prospect; if other teams sense some doubt the player they want will be available — be it Risacher, Clingan or Sarr — they may be more apt to reach out to gauge Atlanta’s price for dealing the No. 1 pick. I have Risacher for now if Atlanta keeps No. 1, but things remain fluid.

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Risacher is not necessarily the player every team has ranked atop its board, but if you did a weighted average league-wide of where teams had players ranked, Risacher would likely come out on top. Most teams at least have him in their top group of players, and many do have him at No. 1.

If the Hawks trade down in some fashion, Clingan would be a potential target, and they couldn’t move down all that far to secure him. At the same time, league sources tell The Athletic it may be difficult for Atlanta to move off the pick, if only because the talent differential among the top six or so picks is considered to be minimal.

2. Washington Wizards

Alex Sarr | 7-0 big | 19 years old | Perth Wildcats

League sources continue to connect Sarr to Washington if he falls to No. 2. The Wizards, under Monumental Basketball president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins, are in the market for upside swings, according to league sources. Dawkins comes from the Oklahoma City Thunder tree, where positional size, skill and on-court intelligence reign supreme. The Thunder selected another perimeter 7-footer at No. 2 (Chet Holmgren) during Dawkins’ tenure there, and it’s possible Dawkins sees Sarr as a different, yet stylistically similar player. At 7-feet tall with long arms and remarkable athleticism, Sarr fits that bill if his development comes together.

Sarr is a defensive difference-maker who covers a ton of ground with his arms and quick feet, much like Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr., Cleveland’s Evan Mobley and Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton. Sarr flies around off the ball and can thrive in a variety of ball-screen coverages, ranging from switching to drop. If he’s waiting at the rim and opponents challenge him, odds are he’ll contest the shot, if not outright block it.

The other end of the floor is the question. Sarr has shown potential as a rim runner in ball screens, but for the most part, his offensive game involves pick-and-pops, and he doesn’t make great screen contact. He’s not a high-impact defensive rebounder, which has led to some questioning if he can consistently play center in the NBA. If Sarr indeed requires a more physical center alongside him, his limited offensive game might be exposed. He’s best served playing next to a floor-spacing five, unless he can become a dangerous perimeter shooter himself.

3. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn Nets)

Reed Sheppard | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Kentucky

The Rockets’ trade on Tuesday night with Brooklyn is not expected to have an impact on its draft night decision-making process. The team essentially traded two of the three remaining future picks it owns from the Nets back to Brooklyn for a significant amount of future Phoenix Suns’ draft selections. The idea was to add more capital to its draft cache, as well as extend out the window of its decision-making process.

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Having said that, don’t be surprised to see the Rockets continue to be active on draft night. Unsurprisingly, league sources continue to believe the Rockets will explore trading the No. 3 pick with a goal of continuing to add even more to its loaded group of exciting young players and draft picks. There might be no team better positioned to make a star trade already. However, acquiring additional assets in a trade-down scenario here may allow the Rockets to facilitate further deals without surrendering what they already have or even potentially acquire more win-now talent this summer.

If they stay here, the prevailing thought is they will take Sheppard. His stock is polarizing, with more analytically inclined organizations seeing him as a No. 1 pick contender and others viewing him as a late lottery pick due to his lack of size. At this point, it seems likely he’ll be drafted somewhere within the top half of the lottery. The Rockets can afford to take a chance on him because he is an ideal connective piece for their young talent. He’s an elite shooter, which is the one skill this young core lacks. While Jabari Smith Jr. can hit from the perimeter, Jalen Green has had stretches of great shot making and Cam Whitmore has the potential to fill it up, teams don’t guard Tari Eason, and neither Alperen Şengün nor Amen Thompson is a proficient marksman.

Sheppard also thinks the game at an elite level and quickly moves the ball to get everyone involved. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting an absurd 53.6 percent from the field and 52.1 percent from 3 last season. He also blocked nearly a shot per game and grabbed 2.5 steals.

GO DEEPERReed Sheppard and Kentucky, a love story. 'The whole state is connected to him'

4. San Antonio Spurs

Stephon Castle | 6-6 wing | 19 years old | Connecticut

League sources have connected Castle to the Spurs for a couple months now, and it seems clear the organization, in some capacity, likes the 6-foot-6 guard from Connecticut. The Spurs are interested in Risacher, according to league sources, and Sheppard’s name has come up in recent days as well.

Castle is likely to come off the board somewhere between the No. 4 and No. 8 picks. He’s a tremendous defender with size and attributes that help teams win games. He got publicity at the NBA Draft Combine for saying he views himself as a point guard, but NBA teams largely classify him as a secondary playmaker who could grow into more on-ball reps in time.

Sources connected to the Connecticut program rave about Castle’s character and competitiveness; many loved his willingness to do whatever it took for the Huskies. He took on the defensive stopper role at times on players such as Alabama’s Mark Sears at the Final Four or Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman during the season. He shared responsibilities for initiating the offense, showcasing passing skill and an ability to get to the rim. He moved the ball well across the perimeter and was a high-impact player on both ends despite making only 27 percent of his 3s. He stepped up in almost all of their big games, including a 21-point Final Four performance and a 15-point national title game showing.

5. TRADE: Detroit Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis Grizzlies

Donovan Clingan | 7-2 center | 20 years old | Connecticut

(Projected trade details: Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis for No. 9 and a future lightly protected first-round pick.)

This pick is a key swing spot in the draft. League sources are struggling to determine the preferences of new Pistons president of basketball operations Trajan Langdon, since he wasn’t running the show in New Orleans. Matas Buzelis is the most consistent name that comes up with Detroit. The team has a need at the four, and Buzelis’ agent, Michael Tellem, is the son of Pistons’ vice chairman Arn Tellem. However, Langdon has made it clear, both publicly and privately in conversations with league executives, that the team wants to add more assets to its cache.

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In regard to No. 5, Langdon opened the door to moving the pick if it meant adding value to its asset cache.

“We’re looking for the guy we feel has the best upside out of this draft,” Langdon said during his introductory news conference last week. “And if that guy’s not there at No. 5, and there’s a team that’s willing to give us an asset value to flip back, then maybe that’s an opportunity as well. But as of right now, our vision is not to be out of this draft. We want to draft a player, and if we do flip back, it’s not going to be that far.”

The team is down one first-round pick following the Isaiah Stewart trade in the 2020 draft, so dealing No. 5 this season to gain more draft capital would provide Detroit more flexibility in the future. In this hypothetical trade, Detroit accomplishes that goal by moving down four spots.

Memphis, meanwhile, replenishes its center position with a terrific prospect. Clingan is a drop-coverage big man who would partner with Jackson to potentially create the best defensive frontcourt in the NBA in a couple of years.

If Clingan dropped into the No. 3 to No. 6 range, a number of teams picking below that range would have serious interest in moving up to acquire Connecticut’s star 7-footer, league sources tell The Athletic. Chicago is seen as another team that might try to move up, as is Portland.

6. Charlotte Hornets

Dalton Knecht | 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Tennessee

The Hornets’ pick is seen as another inflection point, as teams around the league are unclear on the direction new head of basketball operations Jeff Peterson will take. Peterson was an assistant GM in Brooklyn and Atlanta, and his teams made varied picks during his time there. Charlotte seems to have interest, to varying degrees, in Sheppard, Castle, Knecht and potentially others, league sources tell The Athletic.

In Knecht, the Hornets would be selecting a player to help space the court for young stars Brandon Miller and LaMelo Ball. Knecht scored at a dizzying pace in college, averaging 25.5 points in 18 SEC games while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3. His season averages were 21.7 points per game on 46 percent from the field, but those stats were dragged down by a stretch where he played at less than 100 percent following an ankle injury. His offense should translate to NBA settings. Not only is he a terrific shooter, especially off movement, but he’s also a higher-end athlete than most shooters. He can sky in transition and finish inside with hang time. He’s expected to hear his name called somewhere between No. 6 and No. 10.

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If Detroit used its pick on anyone but Clingan, there would be a significant bidding war from teams trying to jump ahead of Portland at No. 7 to acquire him. Charlotte could be in asset-accumulation mode under its new head of basketball operations.

7. Portland Trail Blazers

Cody Williams | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | Colorado

The younger brother of blossoming Thunder wing Jalen Williams, Cody Williams profiles as the kind of prized high-end prospect who can pressure the rim, pass, make plays and potentially defend multiple positions. Standing 6-7 with a 7-1 wingspan, Williams showed the ability to play some point guard this past season in addition to attacking in transition and slashing from the wing in a straight line. He struggled to finish after an ankle injury sapped some of his explosiveness, but in his 14 games before the injury, he averaged 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 60.6 percent from the field. He had a strong workout in Portland.

The Blazers should take another bite at filling their bigger wing role, and evaluators largely believe Williams’ upside is quite high. However, Portland is another team league sources are connecting with a lot of players following massive groups of workouts. The consensus is they have interest in Clingan, but he’s already off the board in this mock.

8. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors)

Tidjane Salaun | 6-9 wing/forward | 18 years old | Cholet

The Spurs’ No. 8 selection is the one to which league sources have connected the widest range of players. Devin Carter had a tremendous workout in San Antonio. If Matas Buzelis fell below No. 5, he would be an option. Throughout the year, the Spurs were connected with Nikola Topić as a potential long-term answer at lead guard, though Topić’s partially torn ACL has thrown that impression for a loop. Williams has certainly come up, too, if he were to get to No. 8. Knecht has also been connected here (pun intended) due to his standout shooting ability for a team that was among the worst in the league in that respect last season. This also appears to be Castle’s floor if he falls.

Whenever a team is connected with this many players, it indicates to league sources (and me) that the Spurs have done a tremendous job of setting smoke screens. It’s difficult to gauge their plans.

Salaun also makes sense, though. At 6-foot-9 with a long 7-foot-2 wingspan, Salaun improved drastically over the course of his season in France. He is a big forward with some perimeter skill who has been productive for his age in the French League and Basketball Champions League this season, averaging 9.5 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 32 percent from behind the 3-point line. He has a smooth stroke and also shows some upside handling the ball in transition. Defensively, he improved a ton throughout the season.

More importantly, Salaun plays hard and has terrific basketball character. He is aggressive and willing to play physically in the paint despite a still-developing frame.

9. TRADE: Memphis Grizzlies trade No. 9 to Detroit Pistons

Matas Buzelis | 6-9 wing/forward | 19 years old | G League Ignite

(Projected trade details: Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis for No. 9 and a future lightly protected first round pick.)

Since taking the Pistons’ job, Langdon has been publicly clear he wants to take an upside swing with the Pistons’ pick, be it at No. 5 or elsewhere. Buzelis would certainly be that, given that they’re also considering him at No. 5.

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Players with somewhat similar profiles to Buzelis in last year’s class, such as Miller, Memphis’ G.G. Jackson, Washington’s Bilal Coulibaly and Whitmore, put together promising rookie seasons while flashing skills they didn’t consistently display in their pre-draft seasons. Perhaps that will happen with Buzelis, too, after a G League Ignite season in which he averaged 14.1 points per game but only shot 45.5 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from 3. (He upped those numbers to 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks over his last 13 games.)

He fills a long-term positional need at the four for the Pistons, who could sign a bigger forward in free agency and let Buzelis develop at his own pace into the long-term answer at the position.

10. Utah Jazz

Nikola Topić | 6-6 lead guard | 18 years old | Crvena zvezda

Topić’s draft range is one of the biggest talking points around the league now. There seems to be uncertainty about when he’s picked. That has a lot to do with his knee injury, which was diagnosed as a partially torn ACL earlier this month.

It also has to do with teams’ attempts to get a handle on his game. In 13 Adriatic League games for Mega Basket before his transfer to Crvena zvezda, Topić averaged 18.6 points and 6.9 assists while shooting 52.4 percent from the field. He’s a dynamic ball-screen distributor and consistently lived in the paint in the Adriatic League, which consists of the top teams from the six countries that once made up Yugoslavia. He can execute nearly every pass in the book once he gets a downhill advantage and hits teammates with flair and creativity. Topić also scores proficiently at the rim, using inventive touch to finish high off the glass and around rim protectors.

However, after moving over to Crvena zvezda (also known as Red Star) for the second half of the season, he wasn’t quite as impactful, even before getting hurt.

The Jazz could certainly use a point guard and should be willing to play the long game in regard to his injury given their current organizational direction. Topić’s passing and playmaking would blend nicely with Keyonte George, last year’s first-round pick.

GO DEEPERNikola Topić's competitiveness and maturity could help him in NBA, overcome ACL tear

11. TRADE: Chicago Bulls trade No. 11 to Los Angeles Lakers

Devin Carter | 6-2 guard | 22 years old | Providence

(Potential Trade Details: Chicago trades No. 11 to Lakers for No. 17, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and two future second round picks)

No potential lottery selection has helped themselves more throughout the pre-draft process than Carter. He’s taken an “anywhere, anytime” approach to workouts, feeling confident he can measure up to the best players in the class. Like Jaime Jaquez Jr. last season, Carter is an older prospect who has shown up in front of teams and given anyone he’s faced difficulty with his athleticism, elite defense and work rate. League sources have also touted him as leaving one of the strongest impressions in pre-draft interviews.

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Carter was one of the best players in college basketball this past season. The son of former NBA point guard Anthony Carter, Devin improved in each of his last five seasons. However, Carter’s biggest jump this past campaign came on offense. After years of being a questionable shooter, Carter hit 37.7 percent of his nearly seven 3-point attempts per game. His shot is something of a moon ball that arcs high in the air, but it went in consistently this season. Several teams in the No. 8 to 15 range are excited by Carter.

The Lakers also had Carter in for a workout, and league sources said the team was impressed with him. He’d be able to help the team from day one and form a long-term backcourt partnership with Austin Reaves. Jumping six spots up the board would require real assets, which the Lakers have in short supply. In this hypothetical, they trade Jalen Hood-Schifino, their first rounder last year, and two future second-round picks to get it done.

The Bulls are in an ideal spot to trade back from their selection here at No. 11 if a few of Carter, Robert Dillingham, Topić and Ron Holland make it this far down the board outside of the top 10.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Rockets)

Bub Carrington | 6-4 guard | 18 years old | Pittsburgh

The Thunder have a loaded core with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren, as well as a ton of effective role players. But they also could use another backcourt scorer, even after moving Josh Giddey for Alex Caruso. Cason Wallace, last year’s first-round pick, had a terrific rookie season and could develop into that kind of player. In today’s game, though, you can’t have enough players with real dribble/pass/shoot attributes.

Carrington was the talk of the scouting community after NCAA conference championship week, when he put together several monster games as Pittsburgh made a late bid for the NCAA Tournament. He’s also had a strong start to his pre-draft process, with several teams noting his impressive pro day. There is an expectation he will be selected somewhere within the first 20 picks.

Carrington is a monster pull-up shooter and sharp passer and became an improved defender throughout the season. He was productive in averaging 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, though he shot 41.2 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from 3. He’s also the youngest high-level college player in the class, not turning 19 until July. Despite that youth, he processes the game exceptionally well.

13. Sacramento Kings

Ron Holland | 6-7 wing | 18 years old | G League Ignite

League sources believe the Kings want to accentuate their readymade core with other players who can help them win now. They fell to 46 wins this season after winning 48 and establishing themselves as a team to reckon with in 2022-23. However, the Western Conference got better around them, and the Kings don’t want to stay in the Play-In position they found themselves in following that breakout season. That thought process could result in this pick being available for the right veteran. This would be a strong leverage spot for the Kings to do that, with both Holland and Dillingham available.

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Holland was the Ignite’s most productive player last season, averaging 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while being one of the team’s few offensive creators. Most of those points, however, came in transition or inefficiently in halfcourt settings. He had a below-average true shooting percentage and more turnovers than assists as he struggled with his decision-making. Those issues are somewhat to be expected from an 18-year-old playing professionally for the first time, but they also have made it tricky for evaluators to slot him. He also missed the end of the G League season with a thumb injury that occurred as he was beginning to improve.

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Holland’s motor excites NBA teams the most. He constantly plays hard, getting the most out of his athleticism. His energy can sometimes cause him to be overaggressive and overly physical on defense, but amid the Ignite’s poor season, Holland showed a capacity for growth that impressed many scouts.

His range is seen as quite wide right now. He hasn’t had a strong pre-draft process; he did not impress teams during visits or at his pro day, according to league sources. However, Holland isn’t the type of player who typically shines in those situations, so teams would be wise not to over-index on that portion of the process.

I’m projecting some sort of trade-up situation here for Holland without listing a specific deal.

14. Washington Wizards (via POR and GSW)

Isaiah Collier | 6-3 guard | 19 years old | USC

The Wizards acquired this pick on draft day in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, sending Deni Avdija to Portland for Malcolm Brogdon, this pick, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks. The Wizards are now well-positioned to fill their backcourt needs with Topić, Dillingham or Collier, depending on which player falls and/or which their scouting department prefers.

Even as Collier started the season on fire and looked like a candidate to be the No. 1 pick, scouts worried about his style of play. He then tailed off as USC’s season fell apart, struggling with turnovers and defense, and missed time after hurting his hand. Once he returned in February, he took the Pac-12 by storm, averaging 18.7 points and 4.3 assists over his final seven games while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3. He was the bruising, powerful driver we saw early in college and throughout his high school career, generating seven free-throw attempts per night.

Collier is an impressive downhill threat who lives in the paint and has the wherewithal to hit kickout passes and dump-offs. However, Collier did not test or measure well at the combine, and evaluators wonder if his finishing and power-based game will translate to the NBA. At just under 6-3 without shoes and lacking elite length or a consistent jumper, can he consistently be the downhill, power-based player we saw at lower levels?

15. Miami Heat

Jared McCain | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Duke

McCain was seen as a potential one-and-done lottery prospect entering the season before a slow start made evaluators pause. However, over the last two-thirds of the season, McCain was one of the best freshman scorers in high-major college basketball. Starting with Duke’s Dec. 9 game against Charlotte, McCain averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists over his last 28 games. He made 41.6 percent of his 6.4 3-point attempts per game during that span and consistently got into the lane in transition or when driving closeouts. I also thought he improved drastically on defense over his final 15 or so games.

Miami has a tendency to take whichever highly ranked player falls to it on draft night. McCain would be an awesome weapon as a shooter within Erik Spoelstra’s offense. Other names I’ve heard for this pick from league sources include Edey, Tristan da Silva and Dillingham if he were to fall. Carter is unlikely to get here, but this is seen as his floor if he did.

16. Philadelphia 76ers

Robert Dillingham | 6-1 guard | 19 years old | Kentucky

Many league sources believe the 76ers could move their first-round pick to get immediate help. Philadelphia has cleared significant cap space to go star-hunting, so, if the right deal becomes available, this pick could be used to further that goal. Even if the Sixers believe they could potentially sign a star in free agency, filling out the roster with ready-made veterans around Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey will be critical. The 76ers will likely take a “best player available” approach under Daryl Morey if they keep the pick.

It’s hard to find the landing spot for Dillingham on draft night with the present order. Sacramento, Memphis and Chicago all have backcourts of the future in some respect, and Dillingham doesn’t fit Oklahoma City’s model of selecting players with at least average (if not well above-average) positional size. All of this has led to league sources wondering if a team will trade up to take Dillingham if he slides into the No. 10 to 15 range.

Dillingham averaged 15.2 points and 3.9 assists per game this past season while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from 3. He maintains control well despite playing at a fast pace, using a bevy of crossovers and well-timed hesitation moves to maximize his speed. Evaluators are confident he’ll be able to separate from his man in the NBA.

17. TRADE: Los Angeles Lakers trade No. 17 to Chicago Bulls

Yves Missi | 6-11 big | 20 years old | Baylor

(Potential trade details: Chicago trades No. 11 to Lakers for No. 17, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and two future second-round picks.)

Missi is a project, but with elite tools that project to a clear NBA role. As a 7-footer with a 7-5 wingspan, Missi might have the best frame of any low-usage center prospect in the class. He’s a terrific athlete who moves his feet fluidly in space given his size. He can sky for impressive lob finishes in transition and from the dunker spot. He blocks shots well and has potential to stick with guards for multiple slides on defense. He made the Big 12 All-Defense team as a freshman while averaging 10.7 points per game on 61 percent from the field.

He profiles as a Clint Capela-style big man once he picks up the nuances of ball-screen coverage. He needs to put on weight and get stronger through his base, as he often gets moved on the block and can struggle on the defensive glass. But he has the look of a competent defensive starting center if he can reach his ceiling.

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18. Orlando Magic

Tristan da Silva | 6-8 forward | 23 years old | Colorado

The Magic would make a ton of sense for da Silva given their preference for big wings who can dribble, pass and shoot. Over his final 14 games, da Silva averaged 17.1 points while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from 3. He grabbed 4.6 rebounds, dished out 2.2 assists and grabbed 1.3 steals. He’s made nearly 40 percent from 3 over the last two seasons.

Da Silva moves well without the ball but can also handle it himself and make good passing decisions. He processes the game quickly and plays at a high speed, even if he doesn’t have great athletic tools. He isn’t an elite defender, but he’s smart, adequate against other forwards and sharp off the ball. He ticks a lot of boxes that make him profile well as a solid rotation player in today’s NBA.

It’s unlikely da Silva gets outside of the top 20, as a number of teams in this range have interest in him.

19. Toronto Raptors (via Pacers)

Zach Edey | 7-4 center | 22 years old | Purdue

Edey was the best player in college basketball, averaging 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and more than two blocks per game on his way to back-to-back National Player of the Year awards. He establishes position anywhere and everywhere on the court because of his size and strength, yet possesses remarkable touch around the rim. One could make the case he was the best screen-setter in the country with the way he crushed guards trying to get through and rolled to the rim for deep post-ups or easy buckets. Edey improved defensively over his time in college, becoming an impactful drop-coverage pick-and-roll defender who took up enough space to dissuade guards from driving and finishing around the basket.

The issue with his fit in the NBA is obvious: He’s 7-4 and doesn’t move particularly well laterally. Can he stop ballhandlers from turning the corner on him? Can he get back in transition in the up-and-down NBA? Still, expect him to go in the top-19 on draft night.

The Raptors are a difficult team to gauge. Their No. 31 pick is seen as a valuable one league-wide, as the addition of a second night of the draft enables Toronto to have an overnight bidding war for the selection.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers

Ja’Kobe Walter | 6-4 wing | 19 years old | Baylor

Walter had an up-and-down season, averaging 14.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He was an inconsistent shooter, although teams have few concerns about his long-term upside because his motion looks clean and he can make shots from a variety of situations. Teams, however, worry about everything else. Walter isn’t a lead guard because he doesn’t see the floor well as a passer. Defensively, Walter struggled at times to stay in front of players.

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Scouts are split on Walter’s upside. Most don’t see him as a star, but they disagree on whether he’s a long-term NBA starter or merely a rotation player. Those who believe he will be a high-level shooter despite making 34.1 percent from 3 last season tend to be believers, but his range is quite wide. Some teams near the end of the lottery are considering him, while others feel he could drop into the 20s.

21. New Orleans Pelicans (via Bucks)

Johnny Furphy | 6-8 wing | 19 years old | Kansas

Furphy decided to stay in the draft after flirting with a return to Kansas and will likely be rewarded by being a first-round pick. It’s easy to see why scouts are excited about his game. He has many of the attributes NBA teams seek when identifying projects worth a long-term investment. It’s hard to find wings with Furphy’s physical profile.

He’s come a long way in 18 months to get to this point. While his athleticism and shooting ability always made him an intriguing upside swing, he didn’t seem to know how to impact the game when he played at the Center of Excellence in Australia. He was up and down this past season at Kansas but earned Bill Self’s trust, which is not easy for freshmen to do. He averaged nine points and five rebounds while finishing well at the rim and shooting 35 percent from 3.

22. TRADE: Phoenix Suns trade pick to Utah Jazz

Kyle Filipowski | 6-11 big | 20 years old | Duke

(Projected trade details: Phoenix trades No. 22 to Utah for Nos. 29 and 32.)

As a big man who can shoot, Filipowski could pair well with a starting center or serve as a third big. The Duke product averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting about 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3 this past season. He carried the Blue Devils through long stretches of games with his ability to catch the ball on the block and score, but pro scouts are more intrigued by his well-rounded perimeter game. Filipowski can shoot from 3, attack heavy closeouts and bring the ball up the court in grab-and-go situations. His passing took a leap this past season, and he was more comfortable reading the court.

Filipowski’s defense is better than its reputation. Duke had a top-16 defense this past season, and he usually positions himself well, contests enough shots and can slide his feet a couple of times on an island to stay with wings and even some guards. It’s difficult to find 7-footers who can dribble, pass and shoot. Filipowski can do all three.

GO DEEPERPreparing for NBA Draft with Kyle Filipowski: His fit in league, best Duke memories and more

Phoenix’s goal, assuming a player it loves isn’t on the board at No. 22, should be to accumulate as many draft assets as possible. Do not be surprised to see them try to trade down and pick up additional picks to re-stock their cupboard. In the next six drafts (including this one), the Suns are only able to trade No. 22 this year and their 2028 second-round pick. Even just for more maneuverability, the Suns need to find ways to add more picks.

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23. Milwaukee Bucks (via NOP)

A.J. Johnson | 6-4 guard | 19 years old | Illawarra

This is my biggest swing of the first round. League sources have connected Johnson to Milwaukee as a potential landing spot for a while, but most expected the Bucks would able to wait until No. 33 to select him. Johnson has worked out for a few teams in the range between the Bucks No. 23 and No. 33 picks, though, so it’s hard to know if the Bucks would feel confident he’d get all the way to No. 33.

Johnson is an athletic, high-upside guard at 6-foot-4 with some real potential as a shot creator. However, he is extremely skinny right now, and struggled immensely on offense during his time with Illawarra this season due to the physicality of the difficult Australian NBL. He showed positive defensive flashes, though, with his athleticism and energy.

24. New York Knicks (via Mavericks)

Tyler Kolek | 6-1 guard | 23 years old | Marquette

The Knicks’ big deal to acquire Mikal Bridges on Tuesday night did not involve any of their three selections in the 2024 NBA Draft, despite league sources telling The Athletic that Brooklyn had interest in trading into this draft in some respect over the last few weeks.

It will be interesting to see how the Knicks attack these selections. Now that they’re all in and their roster is expensive, do they try to bring in young talent to grow with this core? Or do they look to use multiple picks?

The Knicks have been interested in Kolek throughout the season, league sources tell The Athletic, and it makes sense why. Even with the emergence of Miles McBride as a tremendous backup guard on a bargain deal, the Knicks were often one shot creator short in the playoffs and forced to rely on Jalen Brunson to do everything at all times. In Kolek, the team could envision a long-term backup point guard who might be able to reduce the wear and tear on Brunson.

Kolek was an All-American this season but suffered an oblique injury that held him out of the Big East tournament. From Jan. 15 to Feb. 25, Marquette went 10-1 as Kolek averaged 16.9 points and 9.6 assists per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3. He won All-American honors on his way to season averages of 15.3 points and 7.7 assists per game.

Kolek is a crafty guard. I’m not convinced he can even dunk, but he knows how to play off two feet and is an elite distributor in ball screens. He made a big leap as a shooter this season, drilling 38.8 percent from 3 while looking more confident pulling up when opportunities arose. Kolek must prove he has the foot speed to hold up on defense, and he’ll need to prove he can create separation with the ball in his hands against better defenders. But any team looking for a backup guard could plug Kolek in early.

25. New York Knicks

Baylor Scheierman | 6-6 wing | 23 years old | Creighton

I’ve maintained a first-round grade on Scheierman since the end of the college basketball season. He averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists while drilling several 3s off significant movement. He’s one of the best shooters in the class, with a versatile motion that allows him to fire from distance off any kind of footwork. He’s a quick ball-mover and passer, and his defense is better than most believe. Go back and watch the team’s Sweet 16 game against Tennessee, where he held Knecht to 6-of-17 shooting from the field as the primary defender.

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Scheierman is also having one of the better pre-draft processes of any prospect. He was the best player in the five-on-five portion of the draft combine, impressing teams with his ability to fill multiple roles. I think he hears his name called in the first round at this point, as NBA teams generally see him as a player who can help sooner rather than later.

Two other names connected with the Knicks, per league sources, are Virginia wing Ryan Dunn and San Francisco forward/center Jonathan Mogbo. Mogbo has had a strong pre-draft process and is certainly in the mix in the No. 25 to No. 40 range for teams currently slotted there and others looking to trade into them.

26. Washington Wizards (via Clippers)

Kel’el Ware | 7-0 big | 20 years old | Indiana

Even if the Wizards take Sarr at No. 2, they could still use better long-term options in the frontcourt.

Ware’s status is all over the map. There are teams that love the way he grew this season and became a more effective player while averaging nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds at Indiana. Those evaluators also love his tools with his athleticism and 7-4 wingspan. Then, there are other evaluators who don’t like his activity level on the court and his low-key demeanor. Even reactions to his workouts this year varied wildly from team to team, with some coming away impressed and others not coming away as fans.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves

Terrence Shannon Jr. | 6-6 wing | 23 years old | Illinois

Shannon’s draft range is exceptionally wide following his acquittal earlier in June on a rape charge. I’ve heard him in the mix as high as No. 11 to Chicago all the way into the early portion of the second round. (In fact, Shannon is one of the names I’ve heard most associated with the Bulls over the last 48 hours.)

Shannon was among the best players in college basketball this season, but his game polarizes evaluators. He is more of a wrecking ball that crashes into the paint with regularity as opposed to a polished scorer.

28. Denver Nuggets

DaRon Holmes | 6-9 big | 21 years old | Dayton

Holmes had an outstanding season at Dayton, earning All-American honors by averaging 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 blocks while hitting 54.4 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from 3. He’s a versatile big who has a lot of answers for opponents’ ball-screen coverages. He can pick-and-pop, short roll to pass, short roll to finish himself or dive to the rim to catch a lob. Defensively, he’s a good shot blocker and has shown the potential to stay with guards for a couple of slides on the perimeter.

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The Nuggets tend to draft older players under general manager Calvin Booth, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they viewed Holmes as the kind of player who could help them when Nikola Jokić is on the bench — or potentially even in minutes with Jokić alongside him.

29. TRADE: Utah Jazz trade pick to Phoenix Suns

Ryan Dunn | 6-6 wing | 21 years old | Virginia

(Projected trade details: Phoenix trades No. 22 to Utah for Nos. 29 and 32.)

Dunn is one of the best defensive players I’ve ever evaluated. He is a genuine All-Defense candidate long-term if his offense becomes sufficient to stay on the court. Along with Houston’s Jamal Shead, Dunn was one of the two most disruptive defenders in the country this past season. He averaged 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game while playing for a slow-paced Virginia team. He covers an exceptional amount of ground defensively and is a monster help-side defender. On top of that, he’s incredibly switchable.

Offense is the big question. Dunn did not play confidently on that end of the court by the end of the season and seemed to get rid of the ball quickly. He also struggled to shoot, making 23.5 percent of his 3s while attempting less than one per game. However, Dunn has performed well in workouts with multiple teams, according to league sources, and might go even higher.

This would be a home run for the Suns, as a number of league sources have linked Dunn with Phoenix at No. 22. Instead, the Suns get to replenish their pick capital here and still get a player that intrigues them.

30. Boston Celtics

Pacôme Dadiet | 6-8 wing | 18 years old | Ratiopharm Ulm

Dadiet has been a fast riser over the last few weeks as he’s been in the United States working out for NBA teams for the first time. A 6-foot-8 wing with legitimate scoring instincts and a smooth touch at 18 years old, Dadiet has teams excited about what he could be in the future if things go right with his development moving forward.

He’ll go somewhere in the No. 20 to 35 range, in all likelihood. League sources have also pegged the Bucks as an option for Dadiet as well.

GO DEEPERWhy is the NBA Draft happening over 2 days?

Second Round

31. Toronto Raptors (via Pistons): Cam Christie | 6-5 wing | 18 years old | Minnesota

32. TRADE: Phoenix Suns (via Wizards and Jazz): Adem Bona | 6-8 big | 21 years old | UCLA

33. Milwaukee Bucks (via Trail Blazers): Oso Ighodaro | 6-10 big | 21 years old | Marquette

34. Portland Trail Blazers (via Hornets): Kyshawn George | 6-7 wing | 20 years old | Miami (Fla.)

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35. San Antonio Spurs: Juan Núñez | 6-3 guard | 20 years old | Ratiopharm Ulm

36. Indiana Pacers (via Raptors): Jonathan Mogbo | 6-6 big | 22 years old | San Francisco

37. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Blazers): Jaylon Tyson | 6-6 wing | 21 years old | California

38. New York Knicks (via Jazz): Tyler Smith | 6-9 big | 19 years old | G League Ignite

39. Memphis Grizzlies (via Nets): Ajay Mitchell | 6-3 guard | 22 years old | UC Santa Barbara

40. Portland Trail Blazers (via Hawks): Dillon Jones | 6-4 guard | 22 years old | Weber State

41. Philadelphia 76ers (via Bulls): Trey Alexander | 6-3 guard | 21 years old | Creighton

42. Charlotte Hornets (via Rockets): Bobi Klintman | 6-9 wing/forward | 20 years old | Cairns Taipans

43. Miami Heat: Cam Spencer | 6-3 guard | 24 years old | Connecticut

44. Houston Rockets (via Warriors): Jamal Shead | 6-0 guard | 21 years old | Houston

45. Sacramento Kings: Harrison Ingram | 6-5 wing | 21 years old | North Carolina

46. LA Clippers (via Pacers): Nikola Djurišić | 6-7 wing | 20 years old | Mega

47. Orlando Magic: Enrique Freeman | 6-7 forward | 23 years old | Akron

48. San Antonio Spurs (via Lakers): Melvin Ajinca | 6-6 wing | 20 years old | Saint-Quentin

49. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Jaylen Wells | 6-7 wing | 20 years old | Washington State

50. Indiana Pacers (via Pelicans): P.J. Hall | 6-8 big | 22 years old | Clemson

51. Washington Wizards (via Suns): Tristen Newton | 6-3 guard | 23 years old | Connecticut

52. Golden State Warriors (via Bucks): Pelle Larsson | 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Arizona

53. Detroit Pistons (via Knicks): Antonio Reeves | 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Kentucky

54. Boston Celtics (via Mavericks): Jalen Bridges | 6-7 wing | 23 years old | Baylor

55. Los Angeles Lakers (via Clippers): Bronny James | 6-1 guard | 19 years old | USC

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56. Denver Nuggets (via Timberwolves): Justin Edwards | 6-6 wing | 20 years old Kentucky

57. Memphis Grizzlies (via Thunder): Ariel Hukporti | 6-11 big | 22 years old | Melbourne United

58. Dallas Mavericks (via Celtics): K.J. Simpson | 6-0 guard | 21 years old | Colorado

Required Reading

  • Sam Vecenie’s 2024 NBA Draft Guide: Top 100, tiers and more
  • Is this year’s NBA Draft as bad as everyone says?
  • David Aldridge’s Draft Confidential: Guards | Forwards | Bigs
  • John Hollinger’s Top 75 prospects
  • Seven teams and trends to watch

(Top photo of Alexandre Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher: David Dow / NBAE via Getty Images)

Final 2024 NBA mock draft: Why we're expecting an unpredictable night (2024)
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