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2024 NBA Draft: Mock Draft 1.0 (Part 1)


The 2024 NBA Draft is projected to be one of the more unpredictable drafts in NBA history, with no clear-cut superstar, let alone a certified number-one overall pick. However, this class has an opportunity to prove the world wrong when all is said and done. This class also has a lot of international flavor and could surpass the 2016 NBA Draft for the most foreign-born players selected (28 different players). Here are my predictions on the first 15 picks:


*Note: The Draft order is based on each team’s record through the All-Star break


1.) Detroit Pistons select: Alexandre Sarr, 7’1”, 217 lbs Hybrid Post, Perth Wildcats (Australia), Date of Birth: April 26, 2005

The Detroit Pistons core is set for the future despite currently having the worst record in the NBA. However, their four spot is a huge question mark, especially with Isaiah Stewart’s future with the organization up in the air. In terms of talent and positional need, Alexandre Sarr makes the most sense in the Motor City. Sarr is a rim protector who’s shown potential to grow his game offensively as well. The 18-year-old will need to continue adding strength to his frame. If Adam Silver calls his name first, he would be the second French player in NBA history to be selected first overall.

NBA Comparison: Christian Wood


2.) Washington Wizards select: Isaiah Collier, 6’4”, 202 lbs Point Guard, USC, Date of Birth: October 8, 2004

The Washington Wizards have lacked a starting-caliber point guard since trading Russell Westbrook in 2021. Although Isaiah Collier has been somewhat of a disappointment at USC, he’s shown enough to be a lottery pick through the eye test. The former number-one recruit will need to improve his consistency as a shooter and cut down on turnovers if he wants to have staying power in the NBA. Nonetheless, the Georgia native would give the nation’s capital a floor general who could also create for himself when necessary.

NBA Comparison: Emmanuel Mudiay


3.) San Antonio Spurs select: Nikola Topic, 6’7”, 203 lbs Point Guard, Crevena Zvezda (Serbia), Date of Birth: August 10, 2005

Nikola Topic and the San Antonio Spurs would be a match made in heaven, especially given the organization’s track record of scouting and drafting international players. Like the Wizards, they’ve lacked a starting-caliber point guard since trading Dejounte Murray in 2022. The pass-first Serbian guard has the potential to alleviate that problem and could grow alongside the young core of Victor Wembanyama, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and Jeremy Sochan.

NBA Comparison: Ricky Rubio


4.) Charlotte Hornets select: Ron Holland, 6’8”, 206 lbs Wing, NBA G-League Ignite, Date of Birth: July 7, 2005

Ron Holland was the early favorite to be selected as the first overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. However, a slow start and the emergence of other prospects caused his stock to slip. Although he’s shown improvement throughout the season, there are concerns about his ability to shoot in the NBA. The 18-year-old shot 24 percent from behind the arc before undergoing season-ending surgery on his right thumb. Aside from that, he possesses high motor skills, can guard multiple positions, has shown flashes of playmaking, and is a threat in transition. If selected by Charlotte, he could form a dynamic wing tandem with last year’s second-overall pick Brandon Miller.

NBA Comparison: Scottie Barnes


5.) Portland Trail Blazers select: Zaccharie Risacher, 6’10”, 204 lbs Wing, JL Bourg (France), Date of Birth: April 8, 2005

The Trail Blazers have an abundance of talent at every position. However, they’re lacking a wing player with some size in regards to height and length. Not only would the French forward give Portland size, but he would also give them versatility in terms of his shot-making, defense, and playmaking. He’ll need to continue to add strength to his frame, but that should improve as he ages. Risacher has recently emerged as a favorite along with fellow French native Alexandre Sarr.

NBA Comparison: Tayshaun Prince


6.) Toronto Raptors select: Matas Buzelis, 6’10”, 209 lbs Wing, NBA G-League Ignite, Date of Birth: October 13, 2004

The Toronto Raptors have finally committed to going young after trading away Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby despite the fact that another wing in Scottie Barnes is Toronto’s franchise player. Buzelis and Barnes are interchangeable in terms of playing the 3 and the 4 because of their size and versatility. Similar to Ron Holland, Buzelis was an early favorite to be selected as the first overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. However, like his teammate, he had a slow start with G-League Ignite and hasn’t shot the ball well this season. Through 18 games, the 19-year-old is shooting 28 percent from three-point range this season. 

NBA Comparison: Franz Wagner


7.) Memphis Grizzlies select: Ja’Kobe Walter, 6’5”, 195 lbs Shooting Guard, Baylor, Date of Birth: September 4, 2004

The Memphis Grizzlies were set back by Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension, along with significant injuries to many of their core players. The Grizzlies could potentially lose their top marksman, Luke Kennard, in free agency this offseason if they decline his $14 million team option. Walter would make an ideal replacement for him with his potential as both a shooter and overall scorer. The Texas native had a hot start to his career, scoring a season-high 28 points against the Auburn Tigers in his first collegiate game. However, he’s been inconsistent ever since. In Memphis, there wouldn’t be as much responsibility placed on him, and he will be asked to score in spurts, which is a more suitable role for him at this stage of his career.

NBA Comparison: Devin Vassell


8.) Houston Rockets (via the Brooklyn Nets) select: Robert Dillingham, 6’2”, 159 lbs Hybrid Guard, Kentucky, Date of Birth: January 4, 2005

The Houston Rockets need point guard insurance behind Fred VanVleet, with their current backup point guard Aaron Holiday entering free agency this offseason. On paper, this isn’t ideal for Robert Dillingham’s growth as a player, but many scouts are split between him becoming a starter in the NBA and a microwave scorer off the bench. However, this team has an abundance of talent at the other positions, so finding a backup point guard makes the most sense in this scenario. Besides the 19-year-old freshman’s ability to be an explosive scorer, he’s also grown as a passer during his one year in Lexington. If this scenario played out, don’t rule out the possibility of Dillingham eventually replacing VanVleet, who is turning 30 this year.

NBA Comparison: Louis Williams


9.) Atlanta Hawks select: Tyler Smith, 6’11”, 224 lbs Hybrid Forward, NBA G-League Ignite, Date of Birth: November 2, 2004

Some may call this reach, but Tyler Smith is a sleeper to become a lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. If the Hawks decide to keep their backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, Smith will serve as both a pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll threat for both guards. Smith shows potential as a creator but is better as a play finisher at this stage of his development. The 19-year-old also needs to show improvement as a defender. Overall, the idea of drafting Smith in the top ten isn’t far-fetched and could become a more realistic possibility as the 2024 NBA Draft nears.

NBA Comparison: Michael Porter Jr.


10.) Oklahoma City Thunder (via the Houston Rockets) select: Cody Williams, 6’8”, 190 lbs Wing, Colorado, Date of Birth: November 20, 2004

Some mock drafts have Cody Williams projected to go first in June’s NBA Draft. To his credit, he’s shown a lot of promise as a freshman at Colorado. Despite that promise, the 19-year-old is raw and appears to be a project. With that said, his height, length, athleticism, and shooting potential are ideal in today’s NBA, which makes him worthy of a top-ten selection. If Williams lands in Oklahoma City, he would be reunited with his older brother Jalen Williams, who is an emerging second-year player for the Thunder.

NBA Comparison: Ziaire Williams


11.) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Golden State Warriors) select: Donovan Clingan, 7’2”, 265 lbs Center, UConn, Date of Birth: February 23, 2004

The Oklahoma City Thunder need more frontcourt size next to Chet Holmgren. Not only would Donovan Clingan give the Thunder more frontcourt size, but he would also give them another rim protector. However, Clingan is raw offensively and needs to improve as a free throw shooter. Overall, this fit would be a match made in heaven for both Clingan and the Thunder. Additionally, he adds a winning pedigree, given his contributions to the 2023 National Champion UConn Huskies.

NBA Comparison: Walker Kessler


12.) Chicago Bulls select: Tidjane Salaun, 6’10”, 207 lbs Hybrid Forward, Cholet Basket (France), Date of Birth: August 10, 2005

The direction of the Chicago Bulls still remains unclear. However, they are in need of a legitimate four. Salaun is more of a tweener forward at this stage of his career but can make up for that with his physical tools and shooting potential. Whatever team decides to draft him is taking a risk and will have to wait a few years for him to tap into his potential. However, if he develops properly, that decision could pay off in the long run.

NBA Comparison: Jalen Johnson


13.) Portland Trail Blazers select: Kyle Filipowski, 7’0”, 230 lbs Hybrid Post, Duke, Date of Birth: November 7, 2003

To the surprise of many, Kyle Filipowski decided to forgo the 2023 NBA Draft and stay for his second year at Duke. It’s safe to say that decision has paid off, as he’s improved his efficiency as an outside shooter and overall scorer. Whatever team drafts him is getting a mixture of old school and new school in terms of his style of play. He can operate with his back to the basket, facing up, and stretching out to the perimeter. He also passes well out of high-low actions and out of the post. However, there are still concerns about his ability to guard in pick-and-roll situations. Overall, Filipowski has one of the highest floors in this draft class.

NBA Comparison: Lauri Markkanen

14.) New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers select); Kel’el Ware, 7’0”, 242 lbs Center, Indiana, Date of Birth: April 20, 2004

The New Orleans Pelicans could potentially lose their starting center, Jonas Valanciunas, to free agency and could decide to go younger and more athletic. Indiana’s Kel’el Ware fits that description and would be an ideal fit next to Zion Williamson in terms of floor spacing. After a disappointing freshman season at Oregon, Ware entered the transfer portal and transferred to Indiana. The former top-ten recruit has shown significant improvement this season with the Hoosiers. He projects as a rim-protecting lob threat who can also space the floor. However, there are still questions about his motor and toughness as he makes the transition to the NBA.

NBA Comparison: Mohamed Bamba


15.) Orlando Magic select: Dalton Knecht, 6’6”, 197 lbs Shooting Guard, Tennessee, Date of Birth: April 19, 2001

The upstart Orlando Magic have become one of the surprising teams of the 2023-24 NBA season. On paper, this team doesn’t appear to have many holes on their roster. However, they could use a legitimate shooting guard with Gary Harris’ contract expiring at the end of the season. Dalton Knecht would make an ideal connector piece next to Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. The 22-year-old is a knockdown shooter who can also attack the basket. Given his age, Knecht isn’t projected as a high-ceiling prospect but can contribute immediately in the right situation.

NBA Comparison: Pat Connaughton



Meyer McCaulsky is a contributor on Back Sports Page. Along with receiving his Master’s degree in Magazine, News, and Digital Journalism, he has over a year in sports journalism and has interviewed a variety of people in the sports industry, such as Chris Williamson, Cameron Thomas, Jimmy Boeheim, and Jeremy Pope. McCaulsky has been a guest contributor on a YouTube podcast called Cut The Nets within BSP’s network. For more on Meyer, his X is @meyermccaulsky Instagram (@m.mccaulsky) and TikTok (@m.mccaulsky).

For more articles by Meyer, click here.

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