NBA Mock Draft 2024: Resetting Before The Final Four

Getty Image/Merle Cooper

The 2024 NCAA Tournament is nearing its end, with only three games remaining in the college season. While there is still a tremendous amount of attention on March Madness through the lens of NBA Draft evaluation, a heavy portion of projected first round picks were not participating this year, either due to early college exits or simply not operating within the college structure.

That has allowed players (cough, Donovan Clingan, cough) to stand out even more in the March spotlight, but we also must offer a reminder not to get too carried away with anything within a three-week sample size during a single-elimination basketball tournament. Of course, that is fruitless because narratives inevitably set in, and with all of that in mind, it is time to check in again with a mock draft update in early April.

Things are absolutely going to change in the next two and a half months, from the draft order becoming set to pre-draft workouts, measurements, testing, and trade movement. That doesn’t make it any less fun to project at this stage, however, so let’s dive in.

Note: Draft order as of Apr. 3

1. Detroit Pistons – Zaccharie Risacher, F, Bourg

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As covered extensively in our last mock draft, the race for No. 1 remains incredibly wide open. It makes me squeamish to “anoint” anyone right now but, since someone has to go No. 1, I’ll roll with Risacher this time. He has a high approval rating from NBA scouts for his versatility as a lengthy forward, and his tools are extremely appealing. It comes with risk, but that applies to anyone in this class.

2. Washington Wizards – Alex Sarr, F/C, Perth

Sarr projects as a potentially tremendous defender who can do a lot of interesting things on offense. Did I mention that he is also 7’1 with incredibly impressive physical tools? The Wizards are (still) a blank slate, and Sarr has real upside.

3. San Antonio Spurs – Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky

I must say, this feels high for Dillingham, at least for me. There is a divide on whether he profiles as a true No. 1 guard or whether he might be best suited as a scoring sixth man. That likely feels insane for a player in the top three of a class but, well, consider the overall picture of this group. Dillingham can get to his spots with tremendous speed and shot creation, and the Spurs are in the market for their point guard of the future.

4. Charlotte Hornets – Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite

The G League Ignite prospects had a weird season in the program’s final year, and the team made for a difficult evaluation context. Buzelis and Holland could each go higher or lower than this, but Buzelis is a 6’10 forward with intriguing athleticism and a high skill level. If you think he’s a potential high-end shooter, he could be the No. 1 pick. If not, maybe a slide could happen.

5. Portland Trail Blazers – Ron Holland, F/G, G League Ignite

Holland was perhaps most affected by the brutal context at Ignite, even if he led the team in scoring. It is hard not to love Holland’s ability and willingness to play hard at all times, and that combined with his athletic tools brings a pretty high floor. The question is whether he can be an efficient offensive player with enough usage to justify a top-five investment.

6. Toronto Raptors – Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

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Sheppard had an awful exit in the NCAA Tournament, but I would always encourage the prioritization of the big picture compared to the last thing we’ve seen. Sheppard was one of the best shooters and spot-up players in the country this season, and he put up gaudy playmaking stats as a defender. On the flip side, he’s probably about 6’2 and may not be a “point guard” at the next level. It’s a fascinating evaluation.

7. Memphis Grizzlies – Donovan Clingan, C, UConn

I have a feeling I’ll be told I’m “too low” on Clingan with this placement after the helium he’s enjoyed during the tournament. I do understand it, because Clingan has been the best player on the best team during March Madness, and the 7’2 center is easily projectable in the NBA. Of course, I could also argue his upside is slightly limited unless he becomes Rudy Gobert on defense (which could happen!), but Memphis needs a legitimate option next to Jaren Jackson Jr. in the role formerly occupied by Steven Adams.

8. Utah Jazz – Dalton Knecht, G/F, Tennessee

Knecht is an absolute bucket. He is a legitimate three-level scorer and, of course, the headliner will be his ability to threaten from the three-point line. It was a meteoric, one-season rise, and he is definitely old for a lottery prospect. But Knecht is a good enough athlete and the productivity was incredible at the highest levels of college basketball.

9. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn) – Nikola Topic, G, Mega MIS

Topic could go higher than this if he proves healthy. His on-ball tools at 6’5 are very appetizing, and teams like San Antonio could be in the mix. On the other hand, he’s been banged up for several weeks and he might need the ball to fully succeed.

10. Atlanta Hawks – Stephon Castle, G, UConn

This pick would make less sense for the Hawks in a universe where they retain both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. However, most believe that scenario isn’t the most likely, and Castle could slot nicely in as a high-end secondary ball-handler with true guard skills at 6’6. He’s a very good defender, which Atlanta needs, and profiles as a fantastic connecting piece.

11. Chicago Bulls – Ja’Kobe Walter, G/F, Baylor

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Walter’s shooting appears to be quite real, and that is the calling card for the 6’5 wing. He was highly productive in Baylor’s (short) tournament run, but there are concerns about his ability to do much beyond spacing and straight-line drives as a scorer on offense. In the end, his draft stock could flow on whether teams believe in his defense.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Houston) – Cody Williams, G/F, Colorado

I promise I didn’t do this on purpose. Cody Williams is the brother of OKC’s Jalen Williams and, honestly, I don’t think he’ll fall this far when June arrives. But there was skepticism around Williams the last few weeks, and the shine is off again for now.

13. Portland Trail Blazers (via Golden State) – Tidjane Salaun, F, Cholet

Salaun is an 18-year-old combo forward with the ability to space the floor. That is the simple explanation of his appeal at 6’9, though he isn’t necessarily a dynamic athlete. He would give Portland more size and an appealing long-term bet.

14. New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers) – Isaiah Collier, G, USC

Collier was out-of-sight and out-of-mind during the tournament after a brutal season for USC. He does profile as a player likely to rise during the pre-draft process, and the team’s struggles went well beyond his own. Collier remains an interesting lead guard prospect.

15. Philadelphia 76ers – Kyle Filipowski, F/C, Duke

Filipowski’s size and skill combination is really interesting. He’s in the 6’11/7’0 range with the ability to step out on the floor and shoot/pass on offense. On defense, he made a big leap this year and projects as a strong impact guy at the NBA level. However, he may not be a true, every-play center and he isn’t necessarily elite at any one skill.

16. Miami Heat – Devin Carter, G, Providence

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Carter seems like a Heat pick to me. For one, his dad (Anthony Carter) played in Miami, and he is also a total pest on the defensive end. I mean that in the best possible way. He’s probably more of a 3-and-D role player in the NBA, but hey, that sounds like something the Heat would have interest in.

17. Toronto Raptors (via Indiana) – Bobi Klintman, F, Cairns Taipans

KIintman started his journey at Wake Forest and played in the NBL this season. He showed a ton of flashes, and though he’s still pretty raw, he’s 6’9 with intriguing athleticism and the potential to make shots.

18. New York Knicks – Tyler Smith, F/C, G League Ignite

There is a thought that Smith could be more of a wing, but I don’t really see that. I think he’s more of a combo big, but at 6’11, he can shoot and has some more versatile scoring pop to his game. Also, Ignite might have made him look worse than he is, and I think he’ll rise in the process.

19. Phoenix Suns – Yves Missi, C, Baylor

Phoenix needs a long-term answer at center, and Missi can be it. He has a reported 7’5 wingspan, and he’s a fantastic athlete. That’s a strong baseline for future success, and he was a high-level defender this year at Baylor. On offense, it’s just going to be play-finishing, but at this point of the draft, a high-end defensive center with these tools is a good fit.

20. Atlanta Hawks (via Sacramento) – Tristan Da Silva, F, Colorado

Da Silva is old (23 in May) and not all that explosive as an athlete. Those are the reasons he’s not a lottery pick. But he’s also 6’9, plays with a ton of feel on both ends, and he shot 39 percent from three in back-to-back college seasons.

21. Orlando Magic – Jared McCain, G, Duke

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McCain can really score and he can really shoot. Everything else on his profile is secondary to that in pushing him solidly into the first round. He’s only 6’3 and doesn’t have the best physical tools, but McCain was incredibly productive and efficient in one of the country’s best conferences as a freshman. That’s not bad.

22. New Orleans Pelicans – Ryan Dunn, F, Virginia

I have to admit that part of this is selfish. I absolutely love Ryan Dunn. He’s the best defender in the draft and one of the best (non-center) defensive prospects in recent memory. He also just can’t shoot, and that kills his projection. If you knew he could shoot even 35 percent from three, he’s a lottery pick. I truly believe that. New Orleans has a good track record with this kind of player (see Jones, Herb) and I’m letting them try again.

23. New York Knicks (via Dallas) – Zach Edey, C, Purdue

Candidly, I have no idea what to do with Edey right now. He’s one of the best college basketball players of the last two decades, and I have few concerns about his offense in the NBA. The questions come on the other end and, specifically, with whether he can hold up in space. There is a massive split on him in the scouting world, but I do think a team is going to take him in the top 25. The Knicks have multiple picks and Isaiah Hartenstein is a pending free agent.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Johnny Furphy, G/F, Kansas

Furphy doesn’t project as a guy who is going to carry big usage, but he wouldn’t need to in Cleveland. He’s a 6’9 shooter who plays hard and seems to know what to do on a basketball court. There is a reason he’s still available here, but there is stuff to like.

25. Washington Wizards (via LA Clippers) – Kyshawn George, G/F, Miami

Washington has leaned into upside under its new regime, and I’m not sure George fits into that mold. At the same time, he is a 6’8 shooter who can really pass. You can work with that, even with relatively limited physical tools.

26. Milwaukee Bucks – Kel’el Ware, C, Indiana

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I really like the fit here. Ware might need a little time, but he might be what the Bucks need at center for the future after Brook Lopez ages out. Ware has elite tools. He can shoot. He’s huge. And he was underratedly good this year at Indiana.

27. Utah Jazz (via Oklahoma City) – Justin Edwards, F, Kentucky

Utah went with an older, high-floor guy in the lottery with Knecht. This time, they take the swing on Edwards, who was once projected as a top-five pick in this class before a woeful start to his college career. Late in the year, though, Edwards started to come on, and he could keep rising in the next two-plus months.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves – Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette

I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is a Mike Conley replacement, because you aren’t likely to find that at No. 28 overall. But Kolek is rock-solid and profiles as probably a high-end backup at the NBA level. The Wolves are in clear win-now mode, and he can help right away.

29. Denver Nuggets – Kevin McCullar, F/G, Kansas

Denver tends to lean toward old, productive players. McCullar does have real injury concerns that could knock him out of the first round, just as they knocked him out of the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments. If the medical checks out, he’s a very strong defender with some on-ball juice if you need it.

30. Boston Celtics – Harrison Ingram, F, North Carolina

Ingram flashed well in the tournament and is rising up boards again after a brutal stretch at Stanford. He’s a former five-star prospect for a reason, and Boston can afford to swing here with their roster situation.

 


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