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2024 NBA Draft: Mock Draft 1.0 (Part 2)

Reed Shepard projects highly in this years draft
(Petre Thomas/USA TODAY Sports)

In every draft, there are hidden gems found in the back half of the first round. The 2024 NBA Draft will be no different in that regard, despite the narrative of being considered a weak draft class. Last year’s draft saw impact rookies such as Keyonte George, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Brandin Podziemski, and Marcus Sasser drafted outside of the lottery. Here are my predictions on the last 15 picks in the first round:


16.) Miami Heat select: Reed Sheppard, 6’3”, 187 lbs Combo Guard, Kentucky, Date of Birth: June 24, 2004

Reed Sheppard wasn’t projected as a one-and-done prospect before the 2023-24 season, but the Kentucky freshman has turned many heads. The Kentucky native is a lights-out shooter (currently shooting 53 percent from three-point range) who’s also shown reliability as a ball handler and an ability to be a hard-nosed defender. Sheppard would fill a need at the backup point guard position for the Miami Heat while also fitting the Heat Culture. However, Sheppard’s physical limitations could put a cap on his ceiling.

NBA Comparison: Matthew Dellavedova


17.) Toronto Raptors (via the Indiana Pacers) select: Ulrich Chomche, 6’11”, 235 lbs Center, NBA Academy Africa, Date of Birth: December 30, 2005

The 18-year-old from Cameroon is this year’s international man of mystery. Chomche is a realistic option for the Raptors as they are in a rebuilding phase, and they could potentially lose recent trade acquisition Kelly Olynyk in free agency. Given Masai Ujuri’s drafting and trading history, along with his ties to NBA players of African descent, don’t be surprised if Chomche is linked to the Raptors later in the draft process. At the moment, Chomche is a raw prospect, but he’s shown promise as a rim-protecting lob threat with flashes of a faceup game. 

NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka


18.) Atlanta Hawks (via the Sacramento Kings) select: Stephon Castle, 6’6”, 215 lbs Combo Guard, UConn, Date of Birth: November 1, 2004

After a rough start to his collegiate career, Stephon Castle is starting to find his niche with the defending National Champion UConn Huskies. Both of Atlanta’s starting guards, Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, have been involved in trade rumors that could have the Hawks’ organization considering a reset. However, he could also be an understudy behind them, along with rookie Kobe Bufkin. At this stage, Castle is more effective with the ball than off the ball and will need to continue improving his outside shot.

NBA Comparison: Tyreke Evans


19. New York Knicks (via Dallas Mavericks) select: Kevin McCullar Jr., 6’7”, 212 lbs Wing, Kansas, Date of Birth: March 15, 2001

The Knicks went from a young, up-and-coming team full of youngsters to a team in a win-now mode in a matter of two months. Kevin McCullar would be an ideal selection for the Knicks. He’s garnered a reputation as one of the best college basketball defenders, making him an ideal fit for a coach like Tom Thibodeau. The fifth–year senior has also shown improvement as an outside shooter. However, despite McCullar shooting a career-high 35 percent from three-point range, he doesn’t have a previous track record of being an accomplished shooter. He’ll have to prove he can consistently knock down threes once he makes it to the NBA. 

NBA Comparison: Jaime Jaquez Jr. 


20.) Philadelphia 76ers select: Tristan da Silva, 6’9”, 215 lbs Wing, Colorado, Date of Birth: May 15, 2001

The Philadelphia 76ers could potentially lose all of their wing players in free agency. Tristan da Silva is a mature prospect who can contribute right away for a contending team like the 76ers. The German wing is best known for his outside shooting ability. He’s shot 37 percent or better every season since his sophomore season (2021-22). However, there are questions about his defense in terms of strength and staying in front of his man. 

NBA Comparison: Cameron Johnson


21. New York Knicks select: Izan Almansa, 6’10”, 217 lbs Hybrid Forward, NBA G-League Ignite, Date of Birth: June 7, 2005

The New York Knicks could potentially lose backup center Isaiah Hartenstein and backup power forward Precious Achiuwa in free agency this summer. Izan Almansa brings some of the same attributes the former brings in terms of athleticism, energy, passing, and defensive versatility. However, the Spaniard’s shot is still a work in progress. Almansa has made just one three-pointer on eleven attempts through 19 games with Ignite this season. He’s also a 64 percent free-throw shooter. The 18-year-old is raw but has a high ceiling, given his youth and physical tools.

NBA Comparison: Jeremy Sochan


22. Phoenix Suns select: Yves Missi, 6’11, 235 lbs Center, Baylor, Date of Birth: May 14, 2004

The Phoenix Suns could elect to take a point guard, but it doesn’t seem like the organization will go in that direction based on how they’ve built their roster this season. With that in mind, they could also use a backup center, given that backup center Drew Eubanks could decline his $2.7 million player option. Yves Missi is a rim protector who can also be an offensive lob threat. In a scenario where he gets to play with All-Star caliber talents like Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal, Missi won’t be asked to do much except set screens and position himself by the dunker’s spot to expect dump-off passes for easy dunks. 

NBA Comparison: Clint Capela


23. New Orleans Pelicans select: Jared McCain, 6’3”, 200 lbs Combo Guard, Duke, Date of Birth: February 20, 2004

Although a highly-touted prospect coming out of high school, Jared McCain wasn’t expected to be a one-and-done prospect. However, his performance during his freshman season in Durham has made that a realistic possibility. If the Pelicans are looking for guard insurance, McCain would be an ideal fit because of his ability to play on and off the ball. He’s also shown an ability to be a hard-nosed defender. However, McCain projects more as an undersized two-guard, which could be a concern when it’s time for scouts to evaluate him closer to the 2024 NBA Draft.

NBA Comparison: Andrew Nembhard


24. Milwaukee Bucks select: D.J. Wagner, 6’3”, 190 lbs Hybrid Guard, Kentucky, Date of Birth: May 4, 2005

D.J. Wagner is one of the more polarizing prospects in the 2024 class. Some mock drafts have him going mid to late first round, while others have him slipping to the second round. However, given the lineage of recent Kentucky guards and how they’ve panned out, Wagner is worth the risk. Nonetheless, Wagner doesn’t have a track record of being an accomplished shooter and will have to improve his percentages if he wants to last in the NBA. Wagner also has a chance to become the first third-generation NBA player in league history.

NBA Comparison: Tyrese Maxey


25. Denver Nuggets select: Trey Alexander, 6’4”, 185 lbs Combo Guard, Creighton, Date of Birth: May 2, 2003

The defending champion Denver Nuggets could lose veteran backup point guard Reggie Jackson in free agency and could look to go younger at that spot. Trey Alexander is a battle-tested player who would give the Nuggets versatility on both ends of the floor. He’s also capable of playing on and off the ball. However, the 20-year-old has been an inconsistent shooter throughout his three seasons at Creighton. In terms of his fit with the current roster, he could play a similar role to Bruce Brown from their 2023 NBA Finals run.

NBA Comparison: Derrick White


26.) Washington Wizards (via Los Angeles Clippers) select: Bobi Klintman, 6’10”, 225 lbs Hybrid Wing, Cairns Taipans (Australia), Date of Birth: March 6, 2003

Bobi Klintman was in the conversation to be a first-round pick in last year’s draft after his one year at Wake Forest. However, he decided to withdraw his name from the 2023 NBA Draft and head back overseas. The Swedish forward had drawn a lot of intrigue for his physical tools and his potential as a three-and-D wing. As far as the fit, the Wizards have a logjam at the wing position, but Klintman would give them positional versatility with his length and outside shooting ability. However, there’s also a chance the Wizards could flip this pick for future draft capital. 

NBA Comparison: Nicolas Batum


27.) Cleveland Cavaliers select: Ryan Dunn, 6’8”, 208 lbs Wing, Virginia, Date of Birth: January 7, 2003

There’s a chance the Cleveland Cavaliers decide to move on from former fifth overall pick Isaac Okoro this offseason. With that in mind, the Cavaliers could decide to go with another defensive-minded wing in Ryan Dunn from Virginia. In just two seasons as a Virginia Cavalier, he’s earned a reputation as one of the nation’s best defenders and arguably the best defender in this upcoming draft class. In terms of his offense, it’s a different story. At this stage of Dunn’s career, he’s limited offensively. He is a below-average three-point shooter and poor free-throw shooter. 

NBA Comparison: Andre Roberson


28.) Utah Jazz (via Oklahoma City Thunder) select: Justin Edwards, 6’8”, 203 lbs Wing, Kentucky, Date of Birth: December 16, 2003

Before starting the 2023-24 college basketball season, Justin Edwards was widely projected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft. However, the former number two recruit has been inconsistent on a Kentucky team that has Final Four potential. Edwards has struggled with his outside shot and ball handling throughout the season. Another red flag is that he’s already 20 years old as a freshman, which could be used against him in the draft process. Nonetheless, a young team like the Utah Jazz could afford to take a flier on the southpaw and have him split time between the G-League and the NBA.

NBA Comparison: Kelly Oubre Jr.


29.) Minnesota Timberwolves select: Tyrese Proctor, 6’5”, 178 lbs Point Guard, Duke, Date of Birth: April 1, 2004

Tyrese Proctor was once projected as a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft but had a disappointing freshman season, which caused him to stay for his sophomore season at Duke. This season, Proctor has shown marginal improvement with the Blue Devils in terms of his points, assists per game, and outside shooting percentage. As far as Proctor’s fit in Minnesota, he could be an understudy to 17-year-veteran Mike Conley, who recently signed a two-year $21 million extension with the Timberwolves.

NBA Comparison: Dante Exum


30.) Boston Celtics select: Adem Bona, 6’9”, 243 lbs Center, UCLA, Date of Birth: March 28, 2003

Despite the Boston Celtics boasting one of the NBA’s most talented rosters and the best record, they can use a big man with defensive versatility. Adem Bona from UCLA is eerily similar to former Celtic Robert Williams, who was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers with Malcolm Brogdon for Jrue Holiday. Like Williams, Bona is an undersized energy big who is an offensive lob threat and can switch out against perimeter players as well as protect the rim in drop coverages. However, both players are limited offensively, which could cause inconsistent minutes early on for Bona.

NBA Comparison: Robert Williams


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