This year’s draft is unlikely to generate the same level of interest as a draft like 2023 with unicorns and light shows, but as far as projections go, the difficult drafts separate the men from the boys. This year’s draft, while clearly below standard on talent, continues to see intriguing players come out of the woodworks. Here is our second extended mock for the 2024 NBA Draft, as things progressively come into focus.
1. *Detroit Cody Williams 6-8 190 SF/PG Colorado Fr.
With his length, athleticism and skill set, Cody has the most upside of any player in this year’s draft. But he’s an unfinished product and a risky pick at this point and still has work to do to solidify a position this high. After missing a few games due to injury, he’s back showcasing the talent we witnessed in high school. His real intrigue is his ability to run the point guard position at 6-8 with a 7-3 wingspan. He has the speed to blow by defenders, and impact games with his ability to create offense for himself and others off the dribble. Cody has a high ceiling, but is clearly a swing for the fences type of pick and may struggle some initially. He’s a humble kid, who prefers to let his play do the talking. His choice of Colorado, over the high profile programs, is a reflection of his personality, and probably an indication that he would thrive more seamlessly with a smaller market team like San Antonio or OKC. Some may get the wrong idea that he lacks passion for the game. Following his rise to the top of the class as a HS senior, there were a number of instances where he failed to impress when the expectations rose, and a backlash subsequently began to form. Concerns have arisen about his dedication and toughness, so it will be up to him to disprove the doubters with a strong end to the season and how he challenges himself to standout at the next level. He needs to clean up the defensive lapses, but in a draft devoid of any clear cut franchise/culture players (Chat, Banchero and Wemby from recent drafts) a risky, upside pick will probably have to suffice.
NBA Comparison: Lamar Odom
2. Washington Zaccharie Risacher 6-9 200 SF/PF France Intl.
Risacher has one of the most effortless strokes you will find. He reminds some of a bigger version of Klay Thompson with his pure shooting stroke. While he’s had some ups and downs over the past 12 months, he’s been on the radar for some time as a top prospect for the 2024 draft due to his shooting, mobility and excellent size. He has basketball bloodlines with a father that played and has shown steady improvement with Bourg-en-Bresse in France. He’s putting up 10 points per game on efficient shooting numbers and recently won player of the month after a number of big performances. Detractors contest that he lacks toughness and shies away from contact. He struggled to shine at the 2023 Hoop Summit game in Portland, but scouts commented that they loved the talent during the week of practices. He has rebounded nicely this season, following a frustrating Hoop Summit game, showing a lot of promise, as both a shooter and shot blocker. Gaining strength and finding a good situation will be key, as there are plenty of indications that he may struggle initially at the NBA level. The wrong media market and team fit could end up becoming difficult to bounce back from a slow start.
NBA Comparison: Franz Wagner
3. San Antonio Ja'Kobe Walter 6-5 180 SG Baylor Fr.
Statistically Walter has been the best freshmen in the country among the elite draft prospects. While his athleticism doesn’t jump off the screen, he’s got good length and an advanced skill set, with the ability to shoot and create as well as some combo guard potential. Playing for one of the elite programs in the country, he’s averaging over 15 ppg on shooting splits of 43.0 fg, 38.5 3p, and 84.6 ft, numbers that indicate that he can be elite as a shooter at the next level. He played some point guard in high school, and while he’s not really seeing any time at the position at Baylor, the fact that he’s got a history at the position helps his cause. Walter is not elite in terms of athleticism, more of a smooth athlete, but his skill set is advanced for his age and he has performed consistently at a high level so far this season.
NBA Comparison: Tyler Herro
4. *Charlotte Carlton Carrington 6-6 190 PG/SG Pittsburgh Fr.
The Baltimore native, Carrington, has been the breakout freshman of the year in college basketball. He came into Pitt without much national acclaim, as a borderline top 100 recruit, and instantly announced his presence as one of the top young prospects in the country. Still just 18, he’s currently averaging 14.3 ppg, 5.2 reb, and 4.8 apg. Impressive numbers for one of the youngest players in the draft, who will turn 19 in July. The strength of his game is setting teammates up with great vision and passing. Detractors point to his struggles at getting all the way to the rim and finishing. Strength should help with that as his first step looks solid and he’s picking up better ways of running off screens and timing his burst. One other major criticism has been consistency with his outside shot, where he has struggled after a hot start. In 16 games, he’s made 32 three pointers at just a 31% clip. He is still learning a new position as a full time point guard in college, so perspective is key in not being too quick to judge his lack of efficiency early on. He has made just 16 of 70 threes over his past 11 games, 22.8%. Despite the struggles, it’s evident that he possesses ISO scoring ability and a textbook shooting stroke. At 80% from the FT line, there’s a clear sign that shooting will be a strength to his game long term. He’ll need to continue to improve on his pick and roll ability, and strength, to finish at the rim. But in a draft devoid of high upside, high floor picks, “Bub” Carrington qualifies as one. Now the real question is when he makes a game winning shot if he will break out “the Carlton”.
NBA Comparison: Shaun Livingston
5. *Portland Alexandre Sarr 7-1 205 C France Intl.
Sarr has been discussed as a potential top overall pick, having seen time at that spot on our board before the season. He performed well in the Perth vs Ignite GLeague summer showcase, against a player that at the time was considered a much higher level prospect in Ronald Holland. Sarr has an intriguing skill set with his ability to impact the game with his length and athleticism on both ends, with an athleticism package similar to Mitchell Robinson. But Sarr has a more fluid and effective shot and offensive game. While he’s fluid and agile, there are still some holes to his game as he lacks consistency and at 205 lbs, still needs to add a good deal of strength. His game has some intrigue but it remains to be seen if he has the talent to intrigue teams at the very top of the draft.
NBA Comparison: Mitchell Robinson
6. Memphis Wooga Poplar 6-5 195 SG Miami Jr.
Poplar is an explosive guard who has stepped up his level of play as a junior, adding strength to his body and becoming an efficient shooting threat from all three levels. His shooting splits of 51% fg / 51% 3ptt / 88% ft illustrate his proficiency. Where he still needs to become better is in his ball handling and passing and limit his turnovers. Currently he’s averaging a below 1:1 a/to ratio at 2.2/2.6.Poplar is an above the rim finisher who thrives at filling the lanes and getting dunks on the break, as well as acrobatic finishes around the rim.
NBA Comparison: Devin Vassell
7. *San Antonio (from Toronto) Matas Buzelis 6-10 210 SF/PF G-League Fr.
Buzelis has been one of the highest rated players in his age group for a number of years. He’s finally added some weight to his frame and has room for more growth. He’s not extremely long, but with a 6-10 frame and near 7-foot wingspan, his potential as a stretch four makes him intriguing. He’s had some big games recently, and although there remain a number of questions with his lack of consistency and strength. But he’s finally putting up some very big games recently, and gaining momentum as a potential lottery selection in June. While Franz Wagner is an ambitious comparison due to his shooting, Matas was a high rated recruit at younger stages and could potentially make up ground in his shooting.
NBA Comparison: Austin Croshere
8. Atlanta Kanaan Carlyle 6-3 185 PG/SG Stanford Fr.
Carlyle spent last season in the OTE program. He used the season well as he clearly improved upon his shooting mechanics and efficiency. He’s now not just an high level athlete, but has one of the more polished ISO and pull up games in college among the top draft prospects. He’s not considered a true point guard, but the fact that he’s got great vision and passing skills gives him potential to develop at the position. Carlyle is a bouncy 6-3 guard with long arms (wingspan in the 6-6 range) and excellent composure. He had a signature performance early in his college career with 28 points, helping Stanford upset Arizona and continues to impress at one of the elite academic Universities in the nation.
NBA Comparison: Anfernee Simons
9. Houston KyShawn George 6-8 200 SF Miami Fr.
George is one of the draft’s fast risers. The Swiss born wing benefited from some added minutes due to injuries to starters at Miami around New Years and has taken full advantage of the opportunity, displaying his versatility and smooth shooting ability. While he’s still unproven, averaging just 7 ppg, his efficiency statistics have been extremely impressive. He is already 20 years of age and continued efficiency will give him a real opportunity to be a high draft pick. While there still may be concerns about readiness, the first round of this year’s draft will consist of a number players that are drafted more on upside than readiness. Aside from the fact that he has a similar physical appearance, Brooklyn’s Cam Johnson comes to mind as a comp with versatile forward with high level shooting ability.
NBA Comparison: Cameron Johnson
10. *Chicago Adama Bal 6-7 190 PG/SG Santa Clara Jr.
Bal could make it the third straight season that a Santa Clara Bronco is selected in the top 20 of the draft, following Jalen Williams and Brandin Podziemski, Bal is a highly skilled Junior who spent two seasons at Arizona, but failed to crack the rotation, and has broken out as a star this year. Bal shows advanced ball handling and passing skills along with a polished shooting stroke. His body is not as toned as he looked in the summer playing for Team France, and it has cost him some foot speed, but his length and size as a potential combo guard give him a lot of intrigue. Bal is averaging 16 ppg on an extremely efficient 49% fg/41% 3ptt/ 88% ft split. While not quite as long or athletic as Jalen Williams, his body type and skill set are eerily similar to the former Santa Clara standout. Bal also benefits from being a year young for his grade at just 20 on draft night.
NBA Comparison: Jalen Williams
11. *Memphis (from Golden State) Hunter Sallis 6-5 185 SG Wake Forest Jr.
Salis had an unimpressive two year stint at Gonzaga and in a change from the norm, his game has exploded following a transfer from Gonzaga. Salis has improved upon his consistency and scoring ability and now has some ability to create offense for himself. His three point shooting has become a weapon and he’s got the athleticism to be a high level defender and transition standout. Where Sallis really needs to improve is to continue to get stronger, in order to utilize his athleticism and play with more of a physical style.
NBA Comparison:Terrence Ross
12. *New Orleans (from LA Lakers) Aaron Bradshaw 7-1 225 PF/C Kentucky Fr.
Bradshaw has proven the ability to not only run the floor and be a rim protector, but even knock down the occasional three point shot. He’s an unfinished product and still working through some growing pains, but has good hands and prototypical size, Bradshaw is in the conversation with Sarr to be the first center taken. He has a bit of a choppy gait running the floor, and some may question his toughness, but he has shown a willingness to compete. Toughness and leg strength are concerns, but sweet shooting 7-footers with the ability to rim run are not a dime a dozen.
NBA Comparison: Samuel Dalembert
13. Oklahoma City (from Utah) Dalton Knecht 6-6 215 SG Tennessee Sr.
With a number of bigtime highlight dunks and big performances, Knecht (pronounced connect) has been one of the breakout draft prospects this season. He wasn’t high on team’s lists coming into the season, but following a transfer from Colorado State, Knecht has proven it at the SEC level with a solid senior season in which he has demonstrated the ability to impact games with his outside shooting and athleticism. He’s an older player and will turn 23 in April so it puts a cap on his upside, but in the post COVID era of drafts, being 23 no longer carries the stigma that it once did. Knecht has hit some bumps in SEC play, so establishing a spot in the first round will require finishing the season well and some positive workouts leading up to the draft.
NBA Comparison: Pat Connaughton
14. *Oklahoma City Reed Sheppard 6-2 190 SG/PG Kentucky Fr.
Sheppard is likely to be one of the most polarizing prospects come draft time. The eye test doesn’t favor him, yet the analytics are off the charts. Every year, a player becomes the “analytics darling” of that particular draft. Sheppard has that title after the first half of the season, and in a bad draft a player like Sheppard could really fly up draft boards if teams feel he can legitimately play some point guard. Detractors point to the fact that he’s likely 6-1 barefoot. And look at him as a limited, undersized athlete with great defensive analytics but question how much of his game will translate and whether he will be able to get shots off going against longer athletes at the next level. The name Jimmer Freddete comes up with Sheppard, but while not the prolific scorer yet that Jimmer became, Sheppard does a lot more with steals, rebounds and even blocked shots. Is he Mark Price or is he Seth Curry? Probably somewhere in the middle.
NBA Comparison: Jeff Hornacek
15. *Phoenix Tyler Smith 6-11 215 PF G-League Fr.
While Smith was the less heralded GLeague Ignite player coming into the year, he’s put himself right in the mix with teammates Matas Buzelis and Ronald Holland in draft projections. He has good length and used two seasons at OTE, prior to this season with the Ignite, to refine his jumpshot. He has become a deadly mid-range and outside shooter, the best aspect of his game, but struggles to impact the game much in other areas. He’s a little like a smaller Myles Turner with his lack of great speed and athleticism but a very composed and mature game and the ability to play as a stretch big. Smith lacks huge upside, but is intriguing due to his length and shooting stroke.
NBA Comparison: Kelly Olynyk
16. Orlando Rob Dillingham 6-2 175 PG Kentucky Fr.
Dillingham built a reputation as a fierce competitor on the high school level. He’s a very focused kid and has gotten off to a terrific start. He’s proven to be an efficient offensive player who can really get into the zone and put up points in bunches. He’s a fearless type of competitor and never shies away from taking big shots. His ability to create is good, although at times he can force things and take bad shots. He’s doing a solid job of distributing the ball and not turning the ball over with a 2-1 a/to ratio. There’s speculation that both he and teammate Reed Sheppard are an inch or so shorter than their listed 6-3 height. It Dillingham measures well, 6-3 in shoes, it certainly helps his cause.
NBA Comparison: Brandon Jennings
17. Miami Nikola Topic 6-6 200 PG Serbia Intl.
Topic is a maestro with the basketball. He’s one of the best pick and roll players to emerge in the draft in a number of years. So why is he not rated higher here? The measurements on him are clearly inflated as he’s closer to 6-5 than 6-7 and he has a wingspan that is near even to his height, around 6-5 not the 7-feet that has been disseminated. From an athletic standpoint, he’s a below average athlete that plays more like a 6-3 player than a big point. His height gives enhances his ability to see over defenders, which he uses to his advantage. and it’s clear that he’s well liked for his advanced feel and great basketball IQ. The shooting is not there yet, as he really struggles from the perimeter, but there is some hope he improves from 3 in time, as he is a solid shooter from the line.
NBA Comparison: Vasilije Micić
18. New York Bobi Klintman 6-10 225 PF/SF Sweden Intl.
The Swedish national playing in the NBL for the Cairns Taipans has had some breakout performances, but has struggled to develop any type of consistency on a game to game basis. He’s got good size and some versatility to play both forward positions and shoot from outside. He’s a little reliant on teammates to set him up but finds ways to utilize his mobility to get some easy baskets. He’s just an average athlete in terms of leaping ability, but he’s a fluid and mobile player with solid length. His three point shooting ability at his size (36% on the year, with 26 makes in 19 games) is what makes him intriguing as a possible mid to late first rounder.
NBA Comparison: Trey Lyles
19. New Orleans Isaiah Collier 6-4 210 PG/SG USC Fr.
Collier exploded out of the gates and rose up to the tops of draft boards with a 40% three point percentage and a number of big performances. Unfortunately his hot start was not indicative of his true ability as a shooter. He proved in high school that he was an excellent distributor of the ball, but at USC he has been turnover prone and has a tendency to get out of control when attacking the basket. He was the consensus number one player in the class following his senior season. Collier is probably a little shorter than his listed 6-5 height, he lacks a huge wingspan, and is seen by NBA scouts as a bit of a below the rim athlete, despite his great speed off the dribble. He’s not out for a number of weeks with an injury, so he’ll need to get back to form quickly once back to recapture some of the buzz he was creating.
NBA Comparison: Marcus Banks
20. New York Kyle Filipowski 7-0 245 PF/C Duke So.
Filipowski had offseason surgery to improve his hips and it has resulted in some additional mobility. While he lacks great athleticism for the next level, he finds ways to overcome this with grit, determination and toughness. He has improved his 3 point shooting during this season, up to 37%, granted he’s only hitting one per game and at hitting just 70% from the FT line. But considering that he is hardworking, it a safe bet that he will develop into a solid shooter at the NBA level. Where he figures to struggle is defensively, as he lacks lateral quickness and is not much of a rim protector for a near 7-footer. While his scoring output has not improved tremendously, his efficiency in A/TO and his shooting splits have shown vast improvement.
NBA Comparison: Isaiah Hartenstein
21. Cleveland Tidjane Salaun 6-9 205 PF France Intl.
Salaun is currently a very raw bigman playing for Cholet in France. He recently had a string of games where he hit 17-24 from three point. He has a huge wingspan and gives amazing effort at all times. But his feel for the game is still a work in progress. In Treviso, at the 2023 Eurocamp in June, he attempted to show some aspects of his game that just weren’t there yet. He drove the ball from the perimeter on a number of occasions, exposing his high dribble and lack of creation skills, a glaring weakness. But when he focuses on doing the dirty work and using his athleticism around the basket, he is a handful. His spirit for the game is unrivaled among draft prospects and if you need a wall run through, he’s your man. It’s clear that he’s more of an energy four than a perimeter player, but the fact that he’s begun to knock down spot up threes at an increasing rate has his stock on the rise.
NBA Comparison: Dorain Finney-Smith
22. *Atlanta Jaxson Robinson 6-7 190 SG/SF BYU Sr.
Robinson is one of the interesting stories in this year’s draft. He has already transferred to three programs, ultimately landing at BYU. And he is clearly the best talent on BYU, yet comes off the bench for them. He’s got a story somewhat reminiscent of New Orleans Pelicans star forward Trey Murphy, that of a late bloomer that emerged late in his college career, who has a sweet shooting stroke. He still needs to improve on his decision making, particularly when passing, but does show some intriguing handles to set himself up for looks.
NBA Comparison: Trey Murphy
23. *Toronto (from Indiana Trey Alexander 6-4 190 SG Creighton Jr.
Alexander is one of the intriguing upperclassman in college basketball. He continues to improve his game, having taken over more of the playmaking duties this year. He’s averaging 4.5 assists per game and has a solid (1.8) assist to turnover ratio. While his shooting efficiency has dipped some in his junior year (31.6 from three and 77.6 FT), the fact that he hit 41% from three as a sophomore and over 80% in each of his first two years proves that the shooting ability is there. He shows a real willingness to make hustle plays and play physical. His 6.2 rebounds per game at the guard position will be a valued asset and sure to enhance his analytics projections. He has a 6-8 wingspan, giving him a plus 3-4 inches on his height.
NBA Comparison: Alec Burks
24. Philadelphia Ronald Holland 6-8 205 SF G-League Fr.
Holland came into the season as a near consensus top 5 pick. But his deficiencies have been exposed as he has turned the ball over at an extremely high rate, and his scoring and shooting abilities have not been as advertised. He’s a solid defender, but not elite, and a work in progress on the offensive end. Playing in the G League has given him exposure with NBA scouts, but some feel the level of competition doesn’t quite replicate the college experience. There’s still time to get back on track, but Holland has dropped in the minds of scouts to a mid/late first rounder, as opposed to the potential top overall pick hype he received early in the season.
NBA Comparison: Will Barton
25. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers) Kevin McCullar 6-7 210 SG Kansas Sr.
McCullar has built a reputation as a tough, defensive minded team player after four years in college, landing with Kansas the past two years after transferring from Texas Tech. He’s shown steady improvement in both productivity and efficiency as a shooter. On the negative side he’ll be 23 in April and some will argue he is beating up on players 2-3 years younger than him and lacks much upside. But the positive is that he’s got the readiness that teams seem to be looking for more and more, post COVID.
NBA Comparison: Quentin Grimes
26. Denver Melvin Ajinca 6-8 200 SF France Intl.
Ajinca is a versatile French player with the potential to be a mid to late first rounder. He has 3-and D potential, with the versatility to guard multiple positions. The 19 year old lefty already has a pro body and has no problem with physicality on the French pro level. He still needs to work on developing a reliable outside shot. He’s had an up and down year, but recently he has strung together a number of quality games to bring his average near double digits in scoring, (9.3 ppg). On the year, he has knocked down 35.6% (34/96) of his three point shots, His feel for the game is a work in progress, meaning his situational dependence is probably higher than most.
NBA Comparison: Saddiq Bey
27. Milwaukee Ryan Dunn 6-8 215 PF/SF Virginia So.
Dunn is a ridiculously long and athletic forward with a very raw skill set. His defensive metrics are off the charts, with his ability to generate steals and lock down opponents on the defensive end. But so far, he has not shown any real offensive ability, aside from rim running and mostly garbage buckets. His feel for the game still has a ways to go. He is shooting 22% from three and 58% from the FT line. All of which makes him an upside play, likely to go in the late first to early second round of the draft.
NBA Comparison: Matisse Thybulle
28. *Toronto (From Oklahoma City) Ulrich Chomche 6-11 235 C Cameroon 2003
Gesundheit! Despite not receiving a lot of hype at the moment, the Cameroonian bigman who plays within the NBA Africa program possesses a tantalizing combination of length, power (6–11 with a 7–4 wingspan) and explosiveness. He also displays an intriguing form on his jumpshot. He is raw but showing some early signs, and the fact that this draft is widely considered a weak one means that some less proven, high ceiling options could be taken in this range of the draft. He has shown some real flashes, including touch that you don’t normally find in an athletic big. Making him one of the most intriguing under the radar prospects with potential draft eligibility, being 2005 born.
NBA Comparison: Trayce Jackson-Davis
29. Minnesota Kel'el Ware 7-0 240 C Indiana So.
The sophomore transfer from Oregon is putting up impressive statistics at Indiana this year. He has doubled his output in both minutes and points and has an ideal NBA center frame. He also shoots the ball with good form. He remains a project for the NBA level due to his focus and intensity still being inconsistent. But you won’t find many athletic 7-footers averaging a near double double, 14.7 and 9.3, with three point shooting potential (7-19) 27 percent and the ability to rim protect (1.5 blocks per game). If he can land in the right situation with a great passer setting lobs for him regularly, he could maximize his upside at the next level.
NBA Comparison: Jakob Poeltl
30. Boston DJ Wagner 6-3 185 SG Kantucky Fr.
Wagner came in as one of the top recruits in the country and while he’s been solid, he’s slid some as a draft prospect due to lack of efficiency, in particular shooting. He’s shooting just 31%, 15-48 from distance through 14 games. his game is predicated on being a scorer, which means being able to shoot is imperative for his game. While the team has been experimenting with putting him more on the ball as a point in order to get him involved more in playmaking, he remains just average in isolation due to a lack of length and speed off the dribble. He still has a chance to improve his stock and cement a spot in the first round, but he’ll need to keep scoring at a consistent clip and continue to raise his efficiency numbers. At 6-3 and without a big wingspan, a team drafting Wagner will be banking on his shot improving.
NBA Comparison: Jared Butler