NBA Mock Draft: What are the Hawks up to? That mystery hovers over this week (2024)

Table of Contents
1.Atlanta Hawks Zaccharie Risacher | 6-8 wing/forward | 19 years old | JL Bourg 2.Washington Wizards Alex Sarr | 7-0 big | 19 years old | Perth Wildcats 3.Houston Rockets(fromBrooklyn Nets) Reed Sheppard | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Kentucky 4.San Antonio Spurs Stephon Castle| 6-6 wing | 19 years old | Connecticut 5. TRADE: Detroit Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis Grizzlies Donovan Clingan| 7-2 center | 20 years old | Connecticut 6. Charlotte Hornets Dalton Knecht| 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Tennessee 7.Portland Trail Blazers Cody Williams| 6-7 wing | 19 years old |Colorado 8. San Antonio Spurs (viaRaptors) Matas Buzelis | 6-9 wing/forward | 19 years old | G League Ignite 9. TRADE: Memphis Grizzlies trade No. 9 to Detroit Pistons Tidjane Salaun | 6-9 wing/forward | 18 years old | Cholet 10.Utah Jazz Nikola Topić | 6-6 lead guard | 18 years old | Crvena zvezda 11.Chicago Bulls Ron Holland | 6-7 wing | 18 years old | G League Ignite 12. Oklahoma City Thunder(via Rockets) Bub Carrington | 6-4 guard | 18 years old |Pittsburgh 13.Sacramento Kings Devin Carter| 6-2 guard | 22 years old |Providence 14. Portland Trail Blazers (via Warriors) Zach Edey| 7-4 center | 22 years old | Purdue 15.Miami Heat Jared McCain| 6-2 guard | 20 years old |Duke 16.Philadelphia 76ers Rob Dillingham| 6-1 guard | 19 years old |Kentucky 17.Los Angeles Lakers Tristan da Silva| 6-8 forward | 23 years old |Colorado 18.Orlando Magic Johnny Furphy| 6-8 wing | 19 years old |Kansas 19.Toronto Raptors(viaPacers) Ja’Kobe Walter| 6-4 wing | 19 years old |Baylor 20. Cleveland Cavaliers Kyshawn George| 6-7 wing | 20 years old | Miami (Fla.) 21. New Orleans Pelicans (via Bucks) Yves Missi| 6-11 big | 20 years old |Baylor 22.TRADE: Phoenix Suns trade pick to New York Knicks Tyler Kolek| 6-1 guard | 23 years old | Marquette 23. Milwaukee Bucks(via NOP) Kel’el Ware| 20 years old | 7-0 big | Indiana 24.New York Knicks(viaMavericks) Ryan Dunn| 6-6 wing | 21 years old |Virginia 25. TRADE: Phoenix Suns trade pick (via Knicks) to Portland for No. 34, No. 40, and a future second round pick Kyle Filipowski | 6-11 big | 20 years old | Duke 26. Washington Wizards (viaClippers) Isaiah Collier| 6-3 guard | 19 years old |USC 27.Minnesota Timberwolves Baylor Scheierman | 6-6 wing | 23 years old | Creighton 28.Denver Nuggets DaRon Holmes | 6-9 big | 21 years old |Dayton 29. Utah Jazz (via Thunder) Terrence Shannon Jr.| 6-6 wing | 23 years old |Illinois 30.Boston Celtics Tyler Smith | 6-9 big | 19 years old | G League Ignite Second Round Required Reading

Click here for our final 2024 NBA mock draft, published Wednesday morning.

It’s officially 2024 NBA Draft week.

TheAtlanta Hawkshold all the cards with the No. 1 pick, and league sources are still unsure of their plans. The Hawks seem to have several potential options as they sort through adraft class that does not have typical quality at the top.

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As oneNBA executive told me recently, this class, unlike most, has an inordinate number of eye-of-the-beholder talents. Do you believe Zaccharie Risacher has significant athletic upside? Do you think Donovan Clingan can stay on the court in the playoffs? Do you believe Alexandre Sarr’s offensive game will keep developing? Do you think Stephon Castlewill become at least a competent perimeter shooter? Do you thinkReed Sheppard’s size is a significant hindrance? These are the top five players on my board, yet questions like these have dominated front-office discussions. How key decision-makers answer them — as well as several others regarding the players I rank below those top five — will determine the outcome of this draft.

NBA Mock Draft: What are the Hawks up to? That mystery hovers over this week (1)

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NBA teams largely agree this is a down class through the top 10. Many, however, believe the middle of the first round, going to the No. 20-25 range, features intriguing options before the class levels out again in the second round. Most of the intriguing wings are likely to be taken near the top of the class, with that middle portion of the first round littered with big men and guard depth that could yield several long-term NBA players. I anticipate fewer All-Stars this season than the six or so that come from a normal draft class, but the number of players who stick in the NBA may be about the same.

One other note: If the board breaks right Wednesday, we could see a solid number of draft-night trades as teams look to lock in the players they want. Some teams see value in trading back. Others see potential diamonds in the rough, especially in that aforementioned No. 10 to No. 25 range, in which some interesting players are projected to slip on draft night. In that vein, I’ve added a few trades to this mock. This was a necessary adjustment to account for the Clingan effect, where a number of teams below the No. 3 to No. 6 range will be looking to trade into that area to acquire him if he’s still on the board.

Here’s where we stand a couple of days before the draft. (Ages listed are as of draft night; heights listed are NBA Draft Combine or G League Elite Camp measurements without shoes, when available):

LAST UPDATE:June 25, 10:15 a.m. ET.

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1.Atlanta Hawks

Zaccharie Risacher | 6-8 wing/forward | 19 years old | JL Bourg

The conversation around the Hawks has been fascinating to track. Despite general manager Landry Fields saying the team is comfortable selecting at No. 1, league sources continue to get the impression Atlanta is open to offers for the right deal.

None of the league sources The Athletichas consulted has a good feel on the direction they’ll take. Clingan was the name linked with the Hawks most often last week, with many league sources noting he might fit better as a potential trade-down target. However, since Risacher’s workout in Atlanta last week, his name has been raised increasingly often in conversations around the league. Sarr’s name occasionally comes up as well, but that could be an attempt to convince a trade up from Washington, the team most often linked with Sarr. Of course, that same logic could apply to any prospect; if other teams sense some doubt the player they want will be available — be it Risacher, Clingan or Sarr — they may be more apt to reach out to gauge Atlanta’s price for dealing the No. 1 pick.

I have Risacher for now if Atlanta keeps No. 1, but buckle up for a wild ride. If the Hawks do trade down in some fashion, Clingan would be a potential target, and they couldn’t move down all that far to secure him. At the same time, league sources tell The Athletic it may be difficult for Atlanta to move off the pick, if only because the talent differential among the top six or so picks is considered to be minimal.

2.Washington Wizards

Alex Sarr | 7-0 big | 19 years old | Perth Wildcats

League sources continue to connect Sarr to Washington if he falls to No. 2. The Wizards, under Monumental Basketball president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins, are in the market for upside swings, according to league sources. Dawkins comes from the Oklahoma City Thunder tree, where positional size, skill and on-court intelligence reign supreme. The Thunder selected another perimeter 7-footer at No. 2 (Chet Holmgren) during Dawkins’ tenure there, and it’s possible Dawkins sees Sarr as a different, yet stylistically similar player. At 7-feet tall with long arms and remarkable athleticism, Sarr fits that bill if his development comes together.

Sarr is a defensive difference-maker who covers a ton of ground with his arms and quick feet, much like Memphis’Jaren Jackson Jr.,Cleveland’sEvan Mobleyand Brooklyn’sNic Claxton. Sarr flies around off the ball and can thrive in a variety of ball-screen coverages, ranging from switching to drop. If he’s waiting at the rim and opponents challenge him, odds are he’ll contest the shot, if not outright block it.

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The other end of the floor is the question. Sarr has shown potential as a rim runner in ball screens, but for the most part, his offensive game involves pick-and-pops, and he doesn’t make great screen contact. He’s not a high-impact defensive rebounder, which has led to some questioning if he can consistently play center in the NBA. If Sarr indeed requires a more physical center alongside him, his limited offensive game might be exposed. He’s best served playing next to a floor-spacing five, unless he can become a dangerous perimeter shooter himself.

3.Houston Rockets(fromBrooklyn Nets)

Reed Sheppard | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Kentucky

The Rockets don’t have a “need” among their young core positionally, which allows them to explore several avenues. Unsurprisingly, league sources continue to believe the Rockets will explore trading it with a goal of adding assets to their cache of draft picks to further facilitate a potential star trade down the road. With all of their young talent, in addition to this pick and control of the Nets’ picks in 2025 (swap), 2026 (outright) and 2027 (swap), there might be no team better positioned to make a star trade already. However, acquiring additional assets in a trade-down scenario may allow the Rockets to facilitate further deals without surrendering what they already have or even potentially acquire more win-now talent this summer.

For now, I’ve gone with Sheppard. His stock is polarizing, with more analytically inclined organizations seeing him as a No. 1 pick contender and others viewing him as a late lottery pick due to his lack of size. At this point, it seems likely he’ll be drafted somewhere within the top half of the lottery. The Rockets can afford to take a chance on him because he is an ideal connective piece for their young talent. He’s an elite shooter, which is the one skill this young core lacks. While Jabari Smith Jr. can hit from the perimeter, Jalen Green has had stretches of great shot making and Cam Whitmore has the potential to fill it up, teams don’t guard Tari Eason, and neither Alperen Şengün nor Amen Thompson is a proficient marksman.

Sheppard also thinks the game at an elite level and quickly moves the ball to get everyone involved. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting an absurd 53.6 percent from the field and 52.1 percent from 3 last season. He also blocked nearly a shot per game and grabbed 2.5 steals.

4.San Antonio Spurs

Stephon Castle| 6-6 wing | 19 years old | Connecticut

League sources have connected Castle to the Spurs for a couple months now, and it seems clear that the organization, in some capacity, likes the 6-foot-6 guard from Connecticut. The Spurs are interested in Risacher, according to league sources, and Sheppard’s name has come up in recent days as well.

Castle is likely to come off the board somewhere between the No. 4 and No. 8 picks. He’s a tremendous defender with size and attributes that help teams win games. He got publicity at the NBA Draft Combine for saying he views himself as a point guard, but NBA teams largely classify him as a secondary playmaker who could grow into more on-ball reps in time.

Sources connected to the Connecticut program rave about Castle’s character and competitiveness; many loved his willingness to do whatever it took for theHuskies. He took on the defensive stopper role at times on players such asAlabama’sMark Searsat the Final Four orCreighton’sBaylor Scheiermanduring the season. He shared responsibilities for initiating the offense, showcasing passing skill and an ability to get to the rim. He moved the ball well across the perimeter and was a high-impact player on both ends despite making only 27 percent of his 3s. He stepped up in almost all of their big games, including a 21-point Final Four performance and a 15-point national title game showing.

5. TRADE: Detroit Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis Grizzlies

Donovan Clingan| 7-2 center | 20 years old | Connecticut

(Projected trade details: Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis for No. 9 and a future lightly protected first-round pick.)

This pick is a key swing spot in the draft. League sources are struggling to determine the preferences of new Pistons president of basketball operations Trajan Langdon, since he wasn’t running the show in New Orleans. Matas Buzelis is the most consistent name that comes up with the Pistons. The team has a need at the four, and Buzelis’ agent, Michael Tellem, is the son of Pistons’ vice chairman Arn Tellem. However, Langdon has made it clear, both publicly and privately in conversations with league executives, that the team wants to add more assets to its cache. In regard to No. 5, Langdon opened the door to moving the pick if it meant adding value to its asset cache.

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“We’re looking for the guy we feel has the best upside out of this draft,” Langdon said during his introductory news conference last week. “And if that guy’s not there at No. 5, and there’s a team that’s willing to give us an asset value to flip back, then maybe that’s an opportunity as well. But as of right now, our vision is not to be out of this draft. We want to draft a player, and if we do flip back, it’s not going to be that far.”

The team is down one first-round pick following the Isaiah Stewart trade in the 2020 draft, so dealing No. 5 this season to gain more draft capital would provide Detroit more flexibility in the future. In this hypothetical trade, Detroit accomplishes that goal by moving down four spots.

Memphis, meanwhile, replenishes its center position with a terrific prospect. Clingan is a drop-coverage big man who would partner with Jackson to potentially create the best defensive frontcourt in the NBA in a couple of years.

If Clingan dropped into the No. 3 to No. 6 range, a number of teams picking below that range would have serious interest in moving up to acquire Connecticut’s star 7-footer, league sources tell The Athletic.

6. Charlotte Hornets

Dalton Knecht| 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Tennessee

The Hornets’ pick is seen as another inflection point, as teams around the league are unclear on the direction new head of basketball operations Jeff Peterson will take. Peterson was an assistant GM in Brooklyn and Atlanta, and his teams made varied picks during his time there.

Charlotte seems to have interest, to varying degrees, in Sheppard, Castle, Knecht and potentially others, league sources tell The Athletic. In Knecht, the Hornets would be selecting a player to help space the court for young stars Brandon Miller and LaMelo Ball. Knecht scored at a dizzying pace in college, averaging 25.5 points in 18 SEC games while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3. His season averages were 21.7 points per game on 46 percent from the field, but those stats were dragged down by a stretch where he played at less than 100 percent following an ankle injury. His offense should translate to NBA settings. Not only is he a terrific shooter, especially off movement, but he’s also a higher-end athlete than most shooters. He can sky in transition and finish inside with hang time.

If Detroit used its pick on anyone but Clingan, there would be a significant bidding war from teams trying to jump ahead of Portland at No. 7 to acquire him. Charlotte could be in asset-accumulation mode under its new head of basketball operations.

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7.Portland Trail Blazers

Cody Williams| 6-7 wing | 19 years old |Colorado

Williams is another player who has been linked to this pick. The younger brother of blossoming Thunder wingJalen Williams, Cody profiles as the kind of prized high-end prospect who can pressure the rim, pass, make plays and potentially defend multiple positions. Standing 6-7 with a 7-1 wingspan, Williams showed the ability to play some point guard this past season in addition to attacking in transition and slashing from the wing in a straight line. He struggled to finish after an ankle injury sapped some of his explosiveness, but in his 14 games before the injury, he averaged 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

The Blazers should take another bite at filling their bigger wing role, and evaluators largely believe Williams’ upside is quite high. However, Portland is another team league sources are connecting with a lot of players following massive groups of workouts. The consensus is they have interest in Clingan, but he’s already off the board in this mock.

8. San Antonio Spurs (viaRaptors)

Matas Buzelis | 6-9 wing/forward | 19 years old | G League Ignite

The Spurs’ No. 8 selection is the one to which league sources have connected the widest range of players.Devin Carterhad a tremendous workout in San Antonio. Tidjane Salaun is still seen as an option. Throughout the year, the Spurs were connected with Nikola Topić as a potential long-term answer at lead guard, though Topić’spartially torn ACL has thrown that impression for a loop. Williams has certainly come up, too, if he were to get to No. 8. Knecht has also been connected here (pun intended) due to his standout shooting ability for a team that was among the worst in the league in that respect last season. This also appears to be Castle’s floor if he falls. Whenever a team is connected with this many players, it indicates to league sources (and me) that the Spurs have done a tremendous job of setting smoke screens. It’s difficult to gauge their plans.

Players with somewhat similar profiles to Buzelis in last year’s class, such as Miller, Memphis’ G.G. Jackson, Washington’s Bilal Coulibalyand Whitmore, put together promising rookie seasons while flashing skills they didn’t consistently display in their pre-draft seasons. Perhaps that will happen with Buzelis, too, after a G League Ignite season in which he averaged 14.1 points per game but only shot 45.5 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from 3. (He upped those numbers to 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks over his last 13 games.)

9. TRADE: Memphis Grizzlies trade No. 9 to Detroit Pistons

Tidjane Salaun | 6-9 wing/forward | 18 years old | Cholet

(Projected trade details: Pistons trade No. 5 to Memphis for No. 9 and a future lightly protected first round pick.)

Since taking the Pistons’ job, Langdon has been publicly clear he wants to take an upside swing with the Pistons’ pick, be it at No. 5 or elsewhere. Salaun would be that. At 6-foot-9 with a long 7-foot-2 wingspan, Salaun improved drastically over the course of his season in France. He is a big forward with some perimeter skill who has been productive for his age in the French League and Basketball Champions League this season, averaging 9.5 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 32 percent from behind the 3-point line. He has a smooth stroke and also shows some upside handling the ball in transition. Defensively, he improved a ton throughout the season.

More importantly, Salaun plays hard and has terrific basketball character. He is aggressive and willing to play physically in the paint despite a still-developing frame. He fills a long-term positional need at the four for the Pistons, who could sign a bigger forward in free agency and let Salaun develop at his own pace into the long-term answer at the position.

10.Utah Jazz

Nikola Topić | 6-6 lead guard | 18 years old | Crvena zvezda

Topić’s draft range is one of the biggest talking points around the league now. There seems to be uncertainty about when he’s picked. That has a lot to do with his knee injury, which was diagnosed asa partially torn ACLearlier this month.

It also has to do with teams’ attempts to get a handle on his game. In 13 Adriatic League games for Mega Basket before his transfer to Crvena zvezda, Topić averaged 18.6 points and 6.9 assists while shooting 52.4 percent from the field. He’s a dynamic ball-screen distributor and consistently lived in the paint in the Adriatic League, which consists of the top teams from the six countries that once made up Yugoslavia. He can execute nearly every pass in the book once he gets a downhill advantage and hits teammates with flair and creativity. Topić also scores proficiently at the rim, using inventive touch to finish high off the glass and around rim protectors.

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However, after moving over to Crvena zvezda (also known as Red Star) for the second half of the season, he wasn’t quite as impactful, even before getting hurt.

The Jazz could certainly use a point guard and should be willing to play the long game in regard to his injury given their current organizational direction. Topić’s passing and playmaking would blend nicely with Keyonte George, last year’s first-round pick.

11.Chicago Bulls

Ron Holland | 6-7 wing | 18 years old | G League Ignite

Holland was the Ignite’s most productive player last season, averaging 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while being one of the team’s few offensive creators. Most of those points, however, came in transition or inefficiently in halfcourt settings. He had a below-average true shooting percentage and more turnovers than assists as he struggled with his decision-making. Those issues are somewhat to be expected from an 18-year-old playing professionally for the first time, but they also have made it tricky for evaluators to slot him. He also missed the end of the G League season with a thumb injury that occurred as he was beginning to improve.

Holland’s motor excites NBA teams the most. He constantly plays hard, getting the most out of his athleticism. His energy can sometimes cause him to be overaggressive and overly physical on defense, but amid the Ignite’s poor season, Holland showed a capacity for growth that impressed many scouts.

His range is seen as quite wide right now. He hasn’t had a strong pre-draft process; he did not impress teams during visits or at his pro day, according to league sources. However, Holland isn’t the type of player who typically shines in those situations, so teams would be wise not to over-index on that portion of the process.

The Bulls should be in the market for a long-term answer at center; league sources have connected them with Clingan if they can trade up into his range. If the Bulls miss on him, Zach Edey could make sense as a backup option. They’re an extremely difficult team to project right now due to the sheer number of moving parts with their roster, including DeMar DeRozan,Lonzo Ball’s contract and health status, and their potential interest in tradingZach LaVine. Other names I’ve heard connected with Chicago include Devin Carter and Rob Dillingham. One other surprising name to watch is Terrence Shannon Jr., as multiple league sources indicated a level of interest from Chicago.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder(via Rockets)

Bub Carrington | 6-4 guard | 18 years old |Pittsburgh

The Thunder have a loaded core with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren, as well as a ton of effective role players. But they also could use another backcourt scorer, even after moving Josh Giddey for Alex Caruso. Cason Wallace, last year’s first-round pick, had a terrific rookie season and could develop into that kind of player. In today’s game, though, you can’t have enough players with real dribble/pass/shoot attributes.

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Carrington was the talk of the scouting community afterNCAAconference championship week, when he put together several monster games as Pittsburgh made a late bid for the NCAA Tournament. He’s also had a strong start to his pre-draft process, with several teams noting his impressive pro day. There is an expectation he will be selected somewhere within the first 20 picks.

Carrington is a monster pull-up shooter and sharp passer and became an improved defender throughout the season. He was productive in averaging 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, though he shot 41.2 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from 3. He’s also the youngest high-level college player in the class, not turning 19 until July. Despite that youth, he processes the game exceptionally well.

13.Sacramento Kings

Devin Carter| 6-2 guard | 22 years old |Providence

League sources believe the Kings want to accentuate their readymade core with other players who can help them win now. They fell to 46 wins this season after winning 48 and establishing themselves as a team to reckon with in 2022-23. However, the Western Conference got better around them, and the Kings don’t want to stay in the play-in position they found themselves in following that breakout season. That thought process could result in this pick being available for the right veteran.

No potential lottery selection has helped themselves more throughout the pre-draft process than Carter. He’s taken an “anywhere, anytime” approach to workouts, feeling confident he can measure up to the best players in the class. Like Jaime Jaquez Jr. last season, Carter is an older prospect who has shown up in front of teams and given anyone he’s faced difficulty with his athleticism, elite defense and work rate. League sources have also touted him as leaving one of the strongest impressions in pre-draft interviews.

Carter was one of the best players in college basketball this past season. The son of former NBA point guard Anthony Carter, Devin improved in each of his last five seasons. However, Carter’s biggest jump this past campaign came on offense. After years of being a questionable shooter, Carter hit 37.7 percent of his nearly seven 3-point attempts per game. His shot is something of a moon ball that arcs high in the air, but it went in consistently this season. Several teams in the No. 8 to 15 range are excited by Carter.

14. Portland Trail Blazers (via Warriors)

Zach Edey| 7-4 center | 22 years old | Purdue

Edey was the best player in college basketball, averaging 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and more than two blocks per game on his way to back-to-back National Player of the Year awards. He establishes position anywhere and everywhere on the court because of his size and strength, yet possesses remarkable touch around the rim. One could make the case he was the best screen-setter in the country with the way he crushed guards trying to get through and rolled to the rim for deep post-ups or easy buckets. Edey improved defensively over his time in college, becoming an impactful drop-coverage pick-and-roll defender who took up enough space to dissuade guards from driving and finishing around the basket.

The issue with his fit in the NBA is obvious: He’s 7-4 and doesn’t move particularly well laterally. Can he stop ballhandlers from turning the corner on him? Can he get back in transition in the up-and-down NBA?

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Despite those concerns, Edey appears to be rising right now. It would be a surprise to see him get outside of the top 19. I have Portland selecting him with the final pick of the lottery, as the Blazers are exploring frontcourt options. In particular, Edey’s screening would be a godsend for guards like Scoot HendersonandAnfernee Simonsafter last season’s Portland group struggled to gain any sort of separation.

15.Miami Heat

Jared McCain| 6-2 guard | 20 years old |Duke

McCain was seen as a potential one-and-done lottery prospect entering the season before a slow start made evaluators pause. However, over the last two-thirds of the season, McCain was one of the best freshman scorers in high-major college basketball. Starting with Duke’s Dec. 9 game against Charlotte, McCain averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists over his last 28 games. He made 41.6 percent of his 6.4 3-point attempts per game during that span and consistently got into the lane in transition or when driving closeouts. I also thought he improved drastically on defense over his final 15 or so games.

Miami has a tendency to take whichever highly ranked player falls to them on draft night. McCain would be an awesome weapon as a shooter within Erik Spoelstra’s offense. Other names I’ve heard for this pick from league sources include Zach Edey, Tristan da Silva and even Rob Dillingham if he were to fall. Carter is unlikely to get here, but this is seen as his floor if he did.

16.Philadelphia 76ers

Rob Dillingham| 6-1 guard | 19 years old |Kentucky

Many league sources believe the76erscould move their first-round pick to get immediate help. Philadelphia has cleared significant cap space to go star-hunting, so, if the right deal becomes available, this pick could be used to further that goal. Even if the Sixers believe they could potentially sign a star in free agency, filling out the roster with ready-made veterans aroundJoel EmbiidandTyrese Maxeywill be critical.

It’s hard to find the landing spot for Dillingham on draft night with the present order. Portland, Sacramento, Memphis and Chicago all have backcourts of the future in some respect, and Dillingham doesn’t fit Oklahoma City’s model of selecting players with at least average (if not well above-average) positional size. All of this has led to league sources wondering if a team will trade up to take Dillingham if he slides into this area.

The 76ers will likely take a “best player available” approach under Daryl Morey if they keep the pick. Dillingham averaged 15.2 points and 3.9 assists per game this past season while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from 3. He maintains control well despite playing at a fast pace, using a bevy of crossovers and well-timed hesitation moves to maximize his speed. Evaluators are confident he’ll be able to separate from his man in the NBA.

17.Los Angeles Lakers

Tristan da Silva| 6-8 forward | 23 years old |Colorado

The Pelicans had an option to take the Lakers’ No. 17 pick this year or defer the pick to 2025. They decided to do the latter, which allowed the Lakers to retain this selection. This is another pick many believe is ripe to be moved as the Lakers scour the trade market for immediate upgrades around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

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If they keep it, da Silva is an oft-mentioned option. Other scouts have finally come around following his strong finish to the year and play in the NCAA Tournament. Over his final 14 games, da Silva averaged 17.1 points while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from 3. He grabbed 4.6 rebounds, dished out 2.2 assists and grabbed 1.3 steals. He’s made nearly 40 percent from 3 over the last two seasons.

Da Silva moves well without the ball but can also handle it himself and make good passing decisions. He processes the game quickly and plays at a high speed, even if he doesn’t have great athletic tools. He isn’t an elite defender, but he’s smart, adequate against other forwards and sharp off the ball. He ticks a lot of boxes that make him profile well as a solid rotation player in today’s NBA.

18.Orlando Magic

Johnny Furphy| 6-8 wing | 19 years old |Kansas

Furphy decided to stay in the draft after flirting with a return to Kansas and will likely be rewarded by being one of the top 20 picks. It’s easy to see why scouts are excited about his game. He has many of the attributes NBA teams seek when identifying projects worth a long-term investment. It’s hard to find wings with Furphy’s physical profile.

He’s come a long way in 18 months to get to this point. While his athleticism and shooting ability always made him an intriguing upside swing, he didn’t seem to know how to impact the game when he played at the Center of Excellence in Australia. He was up and down this past season at Kansas but earned Bill Self’s trust, which is not easy for freshmen to do. He averaged nine points and five rebounds while finishing well at the rim and shooting 35 percent from 3.

He ticks a lot of the boxes Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman tends to seek: positional size, a strong work ethic and character. His ability to shoot at his size would also be a nice wrinkle, and maybe the Magic can bring back fellow Australian Joe Ingles (who has a $11 million team option) to help ease Furphy’s rookie transition.

19.Toronto Raptors(viaPacers)

Ja’Kobe Walter| 6-4 wing | 19 years old |Baylor

Walter had an up-and-down season, averaging 14.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He was an inconsistent shooter, although teams have few concerns about his long-term upside because his motion looks clean and he can make shots from a variety of situations. Teams, however, worry about everything else. Walter isn’t a lead guard because he doesn’t see the floor well as a passer. Defensively, Walter struggled at times to stay in front of players.

Scouts are split on Walter’s upside. Most don’t see him as a star, but they disagree on whether he’s a long-term NBA starter or merely a rotation player. Those who believe he will be a high-level shooter despite making 34.1 percent from 3 last season tend to be believers, but his range is quite wide. Some teams near the end of the lottery are considering him, while others feel he could drop into the 20s.

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The Raptors are a difficult team to gauge. Their No. 31 pick is seen as a valuable one league-wide, as the addition of a second night of the draft enables Toronto to have an overnight bidding war for the selection.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyshawn George| 6-7 wing | 20 years old | Miami (Fla.)

I’m not this high on George, but he was invited to the NBA Draft green room and is seen as a potential option to be selected in the top 20 somewhere, with even a couple of lottery teams doing due diligence to learn more about him. George is a big wing who can shoot, dribble for his size and pass. However, he’s not particularly explosive athletically and has never been productive at any stage of his journey. He scored less than three points per game in the French second division in 2022-23 and averaged fewer than double-figures for a Miami team that was one of the worst high-major teams in the country by the end of the season.

Still, George is a late bloomer who grew to his current 6-7 size over the last 18 months. He is seen as an upside swing who could be worthwhile for teams who like wings with size and shooting ability. The Cavaliers are doing due diligence on a number of wings and guards in this class, with the main goal being to continue to find shooting around their core of players who made progress last season by reaching the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

21. New Orleans Pelicans (via Bucks)

Yves Missi| 6-11 big | 20 years old |Baylor

Missi is a project, but with elite tools that project to a clear NBA role. As a 7-footer with a 7-5 wingspan, Missi might have the best frame of any low-usage center prospect in the class. He’s a terrific athlete who moves his feet fluidly in space given his size. He can sky for impressive lob finishes in transition and from the dunker spot. He blocks shots well and has potential to stick with guards for multiple slides on defense. He made the Big 12 All-Defense team as a freshman while averaging 10.7 points per game on 61 percent from the field.

He profiles as aClint Capela-style big man once he picks up the nuances of ball-screen coverage. He needs to put on weight and get stronger through his base, as he often gets moved on the block and can struggle on the defensive glass. But he has the look of a competent defensive starting center if he can reach his ceiling.

22.TRADE: Phoenix Suns trade pick to New York Knicks

Tyler Kolek| 6-1 guard | 23 years old | Marquette

(Projected trade details: Phoenix trades No. 22 to New York for No. 25 and No. 38 in 2024 NBA Draft.)

The Knicks have been interested in Kolek throughout the season, league sources tell The Athletic, and it makes sense why. Even with the emergence of Miles McBride as a tremendous backup guard on a bargain deal, the Knicks were often one shot creator short in the playoffs and forced to rely on Jalen Brunson to do everything at all times. In Kolek, the team could envision a long-term backup point guard who might be able to reduce the wear and tear on Brunson.

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Kolek was an All-American this season but suffered an oblique injury that held him out of the Big East tournament. From Jan. 15 to Feb. 25, Marquette went 10-1 as Kolek averaged 16.9 points and 9.6 assists per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3. He won All-American honors on his way to season averages of 15.3 points and 7.7 assists per game.

Kolek is a crafty guard. I’m not convinced he can even dunk, but he knows how to play off two feet and is an elite distributor in ball screens. He made a big leap as a shooter this season, drilling 38.8 percent from 3 while looking more confident pulling up when opportunities arose. Kolek must prove he has the foot speed to hold up on defense, and he’ll need to prove he can create separation with the ball in his hands against better defenders. But any team looking for a backup guard could plug Kolek in early.

Phoenix’s goal, assuming a player it loves isn’t on the board at No. 22, should be to accumulate as many pick assets as possible. Do not be surprised to see them try to trade down and pick up additional picks to re-stock their cupboard. In the next six drafts (including this one), the Suns are only able to trade No. 22 this year and their 2028 second-round pick. Even just for more maneuverability, the Suns need to find ways to add more picks. More on that at No. 25.

23. Milwaukee Bucks(via NOP)

Kel’el Ware| 20 years old | 7-0 big | Indiana

The Bucks need depth across the board, especially in the form of younger players who can fit specific long-term needs around Giannis AntetokounmpoandDamian Lillard.Brook Lopez only has one year left on his contract before hitting free agency again, and it’s hard to find players like him for a bargain on the open market, which is the pool the Bucks will need to swim in given their contractual obligations to Antetokounmpo, Lillard and Khris Middleton.

Ware ticks the box of a drop-coverage big they could develop under Lopez’s tutelage for a year before hopefully giving him more playing time to become an effective NBA player. He needs to work on bringing the same defensive intensity on every possession, but his tools are elite at 7-foot with a near 7-5 wingspan. If he hit under Doc Rivers, it would be an enormous win for the organization to solve a potential problem down the road at the center spot.

24.New York Knicks(viaMavericks)

Ryan Dunn| 6-6 wing | 21 years old |Virginia

Dunn is one of the best defensive players I’ve ever evaluated.He is a genuine All-Defense candidate long-term if his offense becomes sufficient to stay on the court. Along with Houston’s Jamal Shead, Dunn was one of the two most disruptive defenders in the country this past season. He averaged 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game while playing for a slow-paced Virginia team. Hecovers an exceptional amount of ground defensively and is a monster help-side defender. On top of that, he’s incredibly switchable.

Offense is the big question. Dunn did not play confidently on that end of the court by the end of the season and seemed to get rid of the ball quickly. He also struggled to shoot, making 23.5 percent of his 3s while attempting less than one per game. However, Dunn has performed well in workouts with multiple teams, according to league sources, and might go even higher.

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The Knicks are another team that could trade at least one of their three picks in the top 40. In the past, the Knicks have tried to add future draft picks to create more potential avenues to complete trades. Don’t be surprised to see them try to extend these assets further out into the future again or try to consolidate them to get players they want. I’ve done that in this hypothetical, with them ending the night with Dunn and Kolek.

25. TRADE: Phoenix Suns trade pick (via Knicks) to Portland for No. 34, No. 40, and a future second round pick

Kyle Filipowski | 6-11 big | 20 years old | Duke

(Potential trade details: New York trades No. 25 and No. 38 to Phoenix for No. 22; Phoenix then trades No. 25 to Portland for No. 34, No. 40 and a future second-round pick.)

In this scenario, in exchange for No. 22, the Suns add pick Nos. 34, 38 and 40, on top of one additional future second-rounder. The Suns could then try to push one or two of those picks in the second round out into future draft capital again from teams looking to move into the top 40, of which there are expected to be plenty on Thursday. They could end this process with five or six second-rounders if they play their cards right and find the right partners.

If this all seems complicated, it is, but it has happened recently. Boston executed this strategy last season, trading down multiple times from No. 25 and receiving what amounted to five second-rounders in the process. That process included trading the No. 25 pick for No. 31 and two future seconds; essentially, the same price point as this hypothetical deal. Given Phoenix’s asset situation, this is the smartest strategy for the Suns to employ Wednesday.

As a big man who can shoot, Filipowski could pair well with a starting center or serve as a third big. The Duke product averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting about 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3 this past season. He carried the Blue Devilsthrough long stretches of games with his ability to catch the ball on the block and score, but pro scouts are more intrigued by his well-rounded perimeter game. Filipowski can shoot from 3, attack heavy closeouts and bring the ball up the court in grab-and-go situations. His passing took a leap this past season, and he was more comfortable reading the court.

Filipowski’s defense is better than its reputation. Duke had a top-16 defense this past season, and he usually positions himself well, contests enough shots and can slide his feet a couple of times on an island to stay with wings and even some guards. It’s difficult to find 7-footers who can dribble, pass and shoot. Filipowski can do all three.

Portland is seeking big men in this draft class, and Filipowski would make a nice long-term complement at the four and the five to what they already have, particularly off the bench.

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26. Washington Wizards (viaClippers)

Isaiah Collier| 6-3 guard | 19 years old |USC

This would represent a long slide for Collier, but league sources are having trouble finding his floor. Even as he started the season on fire and looked like a candidate to be the No. 1 pick, scouts worried about his style of play. He then tailed off as USC’s season fell apart, struggling with turnovers and defense, and missed time after hurting his hand. Once he returned in February, he took the Pac-12 by storm, averaging 18.7 points and 4.3 assists over his final seven games while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3. He was the bruising, powerful driver we saw early in college and throughout his high school career, generating seven free-throw attempts per night. Collier is an impressive downhill threat who lives in the paint and has the wherewithal to hit kickout passes and dump-offs.

However, Collier did not test or measure well at the combine, and evaluators wonder if his finishing and power-based game will translate to the NBA. At just under 6-3 without shoes and lacking elite length or a consistent jumper, can he consistently be the downhill, power-based player we saw at lower levels? The Wizards would be thrilled with this result, as they could use a high-upside option at the lead guard spot.

27.Minnesota Timberwolves

Baylor Scheierman | 6-6 wing | 23 years old | Creighton

I’ve maintained a first-round grade on Scheierman since the end of the college basketball season. He averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists while drilling several 3s off significant movement. He’s one of the best shooters in the class, with a versatile motion that allows him to fire from distance off any kind of footwork. He’s a quick ball-mover and passer, and his defense is better than most believe. Go back and watch the team’s Sweet 16 game againstTennessee, where he held Knecht to 6-of-17 shooting from the field as the primary defender.

Scheierman is also having one of the better pre-draft processes of any prospect. He was the best player in the five-on-five portion of the draft combine, impressing teams with his ability to fill multiple roles. I think he hears his name called in the first round at this point, as NBA teams generally see him as a player who can help sooner rather than later.

28.Denver Nuggets

DaRon Holmes | 6-9 big | 21 years old |Dayton

Holmes had an outstanding season at Dayton, winning All-American honors by averaging 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 blocks while hitting 54.4 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from 3. He’s a versatile big who has a lot of answers for opponents’ ball-screen coverages. He can pick-and-pop, short roll to pass, short roll to finish himself or dive to the rim to catch a lob. Defensively, he’s a good shot blocker and has shown the potential to stay with guards for a couple of slides on the perimeter.

The Nuggets tend to draft older players under general manager Calvin Booth, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they viewed Holmes as the kind of player who could help them when Nikola Jokić is on the bench — or potentially even in minutes with Jokić alongside him.

29. Utah Jazz (via Thunder)

Terrence Shannon Jr.| 6-6 wing | 23 years old |Illinois

Shannon’s draft range is exceptionally wide right now following his acquittal earlier in June on charges of rape and sexual battery. I’ve heard him in the mix as high as No. 11 all the way into the early portion of the second round. It’s very unlikely he’d get past there, and I do think Shannon feels more likely than not to be selected in the first round at this stage. He’s performed well in a number of workouts in front of teams, with his athletic tools and effort playing up in those settings.

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The Jazz have several different ways they could go with this selection. They have multiple selections here within four picks at No. 29 and No. 32, along with several roster slots available to be able to house rookies. Any number of consolidation moves with these two picks or potential to just simply use them all could be viable here.

30.Boston Celtics

Tyler Smith | 6-9 big | 19 years old | G League Ignite

Smith averaged 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds this season while drilling 36 percent from 3 and measured at 6-9 without shoes to pair with a 7-1 wingspan. He was effective within a limited role where he pick-and-popped, cut to the rim and dove to the hoop out of ball screens. His jumper is silky smooth; it looks like he could become one of the better shooters in the league at this size.

The Celtics could use further depth in the frontcourt, and Smith’s sweet shooting stroke could really play up at the NBA level in a situation that will develop and a scheme that would accentuate his skill set well.

Second Round

31. Toronto Raptors (via Pistons):Cam Christie| 6-5 wing | 18 years old |Minnesota

32. Utah Jazz (via Wizards): Jaylon Tyson| 6-6 wing | 21 years old | California

33. Milwaukee Bucks (via Trail Blazers):A.J. Johnson | 6-4 guard | 19 years old | Illawarra

34. TRADE: Phoenix Suns (via Hornets and Trail Blazers):Ajay Mitchell| 6-3 guard | 22 years old |UC Santa Barbara

35. San Antonio Spurs:Pacôme Dadiet | 6-8 wing | 18 years old | Ratiopharm Ulm

36. Indiana Pacers (via Raptors): Jonathan Mogbo| 6-6 big | 22 years old |San Francisco

37. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies):Juan Núñez | 6-3 guard | 20 years old Ratiopharm Ulm

38. TRADE: Phoenix Suns (via Jazz and Knicks):Adem Bona| 6-8 big | 21 years old |UCLA

39. Memphis Grizzlies (via Nets):Nikola Djurišić | 6-7 wing | 20 years old | Mega

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40. TRADE: Phoenix Suns (via Hawks and Trail Blazers):Pelle Larsson| 6-5 wing | 23 years old |Arizona

41. Philadelphia 76ers (via Bulls): Bobi Klintman| 6-9 wing/forward | 20 years old | Cairns Taipans

42. Charlotte Hornets (via Rockets): Enrique Freeman| 6-7 forward | 23 years old |Akron

43. Miami Heat:Cam Spencer| 6-3 guard | 24 years old | Connecticut

44. Houston Rockets (via Warriors):Jamal Shead|6-0 guard | 21 years old | Houston

45. Sacramento Kings:Jaylen Wells| 6-7 wing | 20 years old |Washington State

46.LA Clippers(via Pacers):Oso Ighodaro| 6-10 big | 21 years old |Marquette

47. Orlando Magic:Harrison Ingram| 6-5 wing | 21 years old |North Carolina

48. San Antonio Spurs (via Lakers):Melvin Ajinca | 6-6 wing | 20 years old | Saint-Quentin

49. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers):Trey Alexander| 6-3 guard | 21 years old | Creighton

50. Indiana Pacers (via Pelicans):P.J. Hall | 6-8 big | 22 years old |Clemson

51. Washington Wizards (via Suns):Tristen Newton| 6-3 guard | 23 years old | Connecticut

52. Golden State Warriors (via Bucks):Dillon Jones | 6-4 guard | 22 years old | Weber State

53. Detroit Pistons (via Knicks):Antonio Reeves| 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Kentucky

54. Boston Celtics (viaMavericks):Jalen Bridges | 6-7 wing | 23 years old |Baylor

55. Los Angeles Lakers (viaClippers):Bronny James| 6-1 guard | 19 years old | USC

56. Denver Nuggets (via Timberwolves):Justin Edwards| 6-6 wing | 20 years old Kentucky

57. Memphis Grizzlies (via Thunder):Ariel Hukporti | 6-11 big | 22 years old | Melbourne United

58. Dallas Mavericks (via Celtics):K.J. Simpson | 6-0 guard | 21 years old | Colorado

Required Reading

  • Sam Vecenie’s 2024 NBA Draft Guide: Top 100, tiers and more
  • Is this year’s NBA Draft as bad as everyone says?
  • David Aldridge’s Draft Confidential: Guards | Forwards

(Top photo: Kena Krutsinger / NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA Mock Draft: What are the Hawks up to? That mystery hovers over this week (2024)
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