Our initial 2024 NBA mock draft has dropped with the 2023 iteration having finished up. While it’s way too early to give reliable projections about where some of these players might go, it’s all about getting a feel about some of the top prospects.
Bronny James will be the most talked about freshman in college ball this season. However, there are high-end prospects such as Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland who will make waves in the NBA’s G-League. Without further ado, here’s our 2024 NBA mock draft. The order is based on Sportsnaut’s most-recent power rankings.
1. Detroit Pistons: Matas Buzelis, wing, G-League Ignite
This 6-foot-11 wing was offered by big-time programs such as Kentucky and Duke. Instead, Buzelis opted to go the G-League route. He’s considered the consensus No. 1 prospect in what looks to be a weak 2024 NBA Draft class. The Lithuanian-American has an impressive mix of playmaking ability and athleticism that will entice teams such as the Detroit Pistons.
2. San Antonio Spurs: Zaccharie Risacher, wing, France
Even with the Spurs having added a generational prospect in that of Victor Wembanyama this year, we wouldn’t be surprised if Gregg Popovich and Co. doubled down on the international pool in the 2024 NBA Draft. Risacher is someone who could complement Wembanyama’s game well. He has solid size for a wing (6-foot-8) and is already a fluid shooter. Add in solid passing ability, and he could be an impact player on Day 1.
3. Houston Rockets: Aaron Bradshaw, center, Kentucky
A top-five recruit in 2023, Bradshaw has the size to entice teams leading up to the 2024 NBA Draft. It will be all about how the 7-foot-1 big man holds up with Kentucky as a freshman. He already has a solid mid-range game and boasts elite athleticism inside. With Jabari Smith and Jalen Green as building blocks in Houston, he would make a ton of sense.
4. Charlotte Hornets: Aday Mara, center, Spain
It remains to be seen if Mara will be allowed to play at UCLA this winter and spring. Thus far, his Liga ACB team in Spain has not let him out of his contract. The 7-foot-3 big plays as big as his size suggests with a tremendous low-post ability and solid defense. While Charlotte does have a young center in Mark Williams, this would be a no-brainer at four.
5. Portland Trail Blazers: Ron Holland, wing, G-League Ignite
The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2023, Holland joined Buzelis in opting for the G-League. The 6-foot-8 wing has a chance to be a great two-way player at the next level given his open-floor ability, versatility and enhanced game. Size obviously doesn’t hurt when it comes to playing the three-and-D role at the next level.
6. Orlando Magic: Isaiah Collier, guard, USC
The top recruit to actually head to college this fall, Collier was just named the Co-MVP of the McDonald’s High School game. The 6-foot-3 youngster is considered a pass-first lead guard with an ability to run an offense at a professional level. He already has an advanced feel for the game. It’s something Orlando could use with Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz having questionable future with the Magic.
Related: Top 50 NBA players of 2023
7. Indiana Pacers: Donovan Clingan, center, Connecticut
The expectation in our 2024 NBA mock draft is that Clingan is going to improve from his freshman season with Connecticut. The 7-foot-2 big man came off the bench in 2022-23, averaging 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds. He has the size and defensive ability to continue improving. A team like Indiana would make sense depending on the future of Myles Turner.
8. Washington Wizards: Tyrese Proctor, guard, Duke
Another early 2024 NBA mock draft projection is Proctor improving off his 38% shooting as a freshman for Duke a season ago. The 6-foot-5 guard has already proven he can be a floor general and has shown solid on-ball defense. The rebuilding Wizards could use someone of that ilk.
9. Utah Jazz: Justin Edwards, forward, Kentucky
The No. 3 recruit in the Class of 2023, this 6-foot-7 wing might be one of the most-athletic to enter the Association in some time. Edward also has a solid mid-range game and has shown flashes on the defensive end of the court. In rebuilding mode, Utah could use someone with that upside.
10. Dallas Mavericks: Bobi Klintman, forward, Wake Forest
Klintman surprised many by pulling out of the 2023 draft. He was seen as a likely first-round pick with an ability to hit the outside shot (38% from three-point range as a freshman) and solid rebounding capabilities (4.5 in 20.5 minutes of action). In our initial 2024 NBA mock draft, we’re projecting the 6-foot-10 forward to improve even more as a sophomore.
11. San Antonio Spurs (from Raptors): Ja’Kobe Walter, guard, Baylor
Who doesn’t want a high-scoring two-guard who stands at a traditional 6-foot-5 and can create his own shot off the dribble? Walker is already a pro-level three-point shooter, too. He’ll just need to improve more in other aspects of the game to jump up the draft boards during his freshman season with Baylor.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Stephon Castle, wing, Connecticut
Castle should be able to take on a lead role for the defending champion Huskies as a freshman. The 6-foot-8 wing is dynamic in that he can not only create his own shot, but also run an offense from that spot. He’s dynamic in nearly every aspect of the game outside of a consistent perimeter shot.
13. Chicago Bulls: Bronny James, guard, USC
Are we overvaluing Bronny in our first NBA mock draft of 2024 because of his father? It’s possible. Most have the 6-foot-3 guard as a late first-round pick heading into his freshman season with USC. On his own merits, James projects as an intriguing prospect. The 6-foot-3 combo guard already has pro-level instincts on the court, can get teammates involved off the dribble, has elite bounce and has shown an ability to hit the outside shot. A solid freshman season for Bronny with the Trojans could have him ascending the draft board in a big way.
14. New Orleans Pelicans: Jared McCain, guard, Duke
The 6-foot-3 McCain will likely play the two-guard for Duke as a freshman with Proctor handling point. But he also has an ability to run an offense. Outside of that, McCain has the skills necessary to become a lottery pick due to his sweet mid-range game and ability off the dribble.
Related: Updated 2023 NBA power rankings
2024 NBA mock draft: Non-lottery picks
15. Minnesota Timberwolves: Mackenzie Mgbako, wing, Indiana
16. Houston Rockets (from Nets): Alexandros Samodurav, forward, Greece
17. Atlanta Hawks: D.J. Wagner, guard, Kentucky
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Clippers): Kyle Filipowski, forward, Duke
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Omaha Biliew, forward, Iowa State
20. Memphis Grizzlies: Cody Williams, forward, Colorado
21. Milwaukee Bucks: Xavier Booker, center, Michigan State
22. Atlanta Hawks (from Kings): Mark Williams, forward, Duke
23. Memphis Grizzlies (from Warriors): Elmarko Jackson, guard, Kansas
24. Phoenix Suns: Dillon Mitchell, forward, Texas
25. New York Knicks: DaRon Holmes, forward, Dayton
26. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers): Thierry Darlan, guard, G-League Ignite
27. Philadelphia 76ers: Adem Bona, forward, UCLA
28. Boston Celtics: Izan Almansa, forward, Overtime Elite
29. Miami Heat: Trevon Brazile, forward, Arkansas
30. Denver Nuggets: Riley Kugel, guard, Florida
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.