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2024 NBA Mock Draft 2.0 (Part 1)

(Gregory Payan/ AP Photo)

The Atlanta Hawks won their first-ever draft lottery this past Mother’s Day and will be picking first in the 2024 NBA Draft. This will be their first time doing so since 1975, when they drafted future Hall of Famer David Thompson. However, Thompson never played for the Hawks because he elected to play in the ABA one season before the ABA-NBA merger.

Here are my predictions on how the 2024 NBA Draft will play out:

Top of the Lottery

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

Whoever the Hawks select with this pick won’t be your typical first-overall pick. In this scenario, Sarr won’t be asked to be the savior of the Atlanta Hawks, as they already have a roster that expects to compete for the playoffs despite missing out this past season. There are also rumors that the Hawks could move on from starting center Clint Capela and could take a look at the 19-year-old from France. Right away, Sarr brings a shot-blocking presence with a high ceiling on offense. Assuming the Hawks draft an international player with this pick, this would be the first time foreign-born prospects were drafted first overall in back-to-back drafts since Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

NBA Comparison: Thon Maker


  2. Washington Wizards select: Reed Sheppard, 6’2”, 187 lbs Combo Guard, Kentucky, Date of Birth: June 24, 2004

The Washington Wizards need point guard insurance in the event that they lose Tyus Jones in free agency. Guards such as Nikola Topic and Isaiah Collier are viable options for the Wizards. However, Sheppard would be the safest pick here, as his fit on any team won’t be a concern. The Kentucky native isn’t exactly a pure point guard but is adept at thinking the game at a high level and should be able to take pressure off of Jordan Poole as his potential backcourt mate.

NBA Comparison: Kirk Hinrich


  3. Houston Rockets select: Robert Dillingham, 6’1”, 164 lbs Hybrid Guard, Kentucky, Date of Birth: January 4, 2005

Similar to the Hawks, the Rockets don’t need a savior at this stage in their development. However, they could use some outside shooting help and a point guard of the future once Fred VanVleet becomes a free agent in 2026. Dillingham would give them both of those attributes and the ability to be a microwave scorer at a moment’s notice. However, there are questions about his projected role in the NBA. Is he a starter or a sixth man?

NBA Comparison: Louis Williams


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

Despite solid production from starting point guard Tre Jones, he’s likely not their long-term point guard but instead a bridge point guard for the San Antonio Spurs. As iterated in a previous article, the Spurs have a track record of scouting and drafting international players. That philosophy contributed to all of the organization’s championships and could continue with a potential international trio of Nikola Topic, Victor Wembanyama, and Jeremy Sochan.

NBA Comparison: Ricky Rubio


5. Detroit Pistons select: Zaccharie Risacher, 6’10”, 193 lbs Wing, JL Bourg (France), Date of Birth: April 8, 2005

The Detroit Pistons are selecting fifth overall for the third consecutive year. However, it’s not the worst thing in the world in this year’s draft because there isn’t much separation in terms of talent amongst this class. The Pistons have a lot going on as far as their talent across their roster, but a prospect like Zaccharie Risacher would be a safe pick because of his size and potential as a versatile wing. However, his struggles overseas have been a cause for concern in terms of his case as the first overall pick in this year’s draft.

NBA Comparison: Tayshaun Prince



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

Despite being the early favorite to be selected first in June’s NBA Draft, Ron Holland has since become an afterthought in terms of being in the conversation for the first overall pick. In this scenario, the teams picking in front of Charlotte have a logjam at the wing position, which could stunt Holland’s long-term growth. Although Charlotte has Brandon Miller and Miles Bridges, all three of them could be interchangeable in certain lineups. Holland has arguably the most potential to become a star in this class, but there are concerns about his outside shot, given that he shot 24 percent from the perimeter with NBA G-League Ignite.

NBA Comparison: Scottie Barnes


  7. Portland Trail Blazers select: Matas Buzelis, 6’10”, 208 lbs Wing, NBA G-League Ignite, Date of Birth: October 13, 2004

The Portland Trail Blazers are in need of a wing with legitimate size and a threat to create their own offense. Like his teammate Ron Holland, Buzelis was also an early favorite to be selected first overall but had an uneven season with NBA G-League Ignite. There are concerns about his outside shooting ability, as he shot just 27 percent from behind the arc. However, his physical tools and versatility should be enough for teams at the top of the draft to look past that.

NBA Comparison: Franz Wagner


  8. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors) select: Donovan Clingan, 7’2”, 280 lbs. Center, Connecticut, Date of Birth: February 23, 2004

Despite Victor Wembanyama finishing top-three in Defensive Player of the Year voting, the San Antonio Spurs finished as one of the association’s worst-scoring defenses, allowing 118.6 points per game (24th in the NBA). The Spurs don’t currently have a long-term center to pair with the reigning Rookie of the Year. Donovan Clingan seems like a viable option for the Spurs, given his shot-blocking prowess and winning pedigree from his two seasons at UConn. 

NBA Comparison: Walker Kessler


  9. Memphis Grizzlies select: Dalton Knecht, 6’6”, 197 lbs Shooting Guard, Tennessee, Date of Birth: April 19, 2001

The Memphis Grizzlies could use help at center, but taking one with Clingan off the board would be a massive reach at this stage of the draft. Plan B would be for the Grizzlies to take a look at a prospect who can contribute immediately. Dalton Knecht would be the safest option for them. The Colorado native wouldn’t have to leave the state as he would have to move from Knoxville to Memphis. In terms of what Knecht brings to the table, he’s a well-rounded scorer who’s an underrated athlete and defender. However, his age (23) could work against him throughout the draft process, depending on the direction of the organization that picks him.

NBA Comparison: Grayson Allen



  10. Utah Jazz select: Stephon Castle, 6’6”, 215 lbs Combo Guard, Connecticut, Date of Birth: November 1, 2004

Despite having a backcourt of Collin Sexton and Keyonte George, Stephon Castle has enough size and versatility to play multiple positions. Castle would also add a winning pedigree to an organization like the Utah Jazz that’s trying to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2022. The former five-star recruit still has to answer questions about his outside shot and ability to create his own offense consistently.

NBA Comparison: Tyreke Evans


  11. Chicago Bulls select: Isaiah Collier, 6’4”, 202 lbs Point Guard, USC, Date of Birth: October 8, 2004

The direction of the Chicago Bulls is unclear at the moment. On paper, they seem like they’re trying to compete for the playoffs, but the results haven’t been good. The Bulls have failed to make the playoffs the past two seasons. There are also questions about Lonzo Ball and what he’ll look like when he returns to the court. In case they need insurance and a prospect to jump-start a potential rebuild, why not start with a point guard like Isaiah Collier? There are concerns about his outside shot and ability to avoid turnovers. However, Collier was a former top recruit and was thought to be comparable to Jason Kidd before the season started. With that in mind, GMs will look past his flaws and take a chance on the former USC Trojan.

NBA Comparison: Emmanuel Mudiay


  12. Oklahoma City Thunder select: Yves Missi, 6’11”, 223 lbs Center, Baylor, Date of Birth: May 14, 2004

It’s clear that the Oklahoma City Thunder need a legitimate center, as they’ve been exposed by the Dallas Mavericks in their second-round series. Yves Missi from Baylor not only fills their need but also fits their pace with his rim-running ability. He would also be another pick-and-roll option along with Chet Holmgren for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. However, Missi is limited offensively as he lacks footwork and a consistent touch around the rim at this stage of his career.

NBA Comparison: Clint Capela


  13. Sacramento Kings select: Cody Williams, 6’8”, 190 lbs Wing, Colorado, Date of Birth: November 20, 2004

The Sacramento Kings could use some more athleticism at the wing, and a potential spark plug off the bench. Cody Williams could provide both of those things with the Kings. At this stage, Williams is more of a project but could develop behind Harrison Barnes until his contract expires in 2026. Given his physical limitations as a wing in terms of his size, Williams could be better served sliding over to shooting guard. Williams could be a potential steal at 13 if the Kings develop him properly.

NBA Comparison: Ziaire Williams


  14. Portland Trail Blazers (via Golden State Warriors) select: Tyler Smith: 6’10”, 218 lbs Hybrid Forward, NBA G-League Ignite, Date of Birth: November 2, 2004

On paper, the Portland Trail Blazers have a lot of talent across their roster. However, as one of the worst teams in the league last season, the Trail Blazers need as much talent as they can get. Tyler Smith from G-League Ignite is one of the more unheralded prospects, given that he left high school early in 2021 to play in the Overtime Elite league before joining Ignite in 2023. Despite being a raw prospect, his outside shot and his physical tools are the most intriguing part of his game. However, he could improve his effort as a defender, which should improve with more experience.

NBA Comparison: Michael Porter Jr.

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