Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

NBA Draft 2024: Top 30 Big Board

Stephon Castle, UConn
 1. Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: The latest John Calipari product, Reed Sheppard is the best of a weak draft class. He's a bit different than past Calipari guards, a well-rounded prospect who wasn't considered by most to be a future lottery pick coming out of high school before dazzling in his lone season of college. As a three-point sniper with a tremendous feel for the game and elite perimeter defense, he's going to find a role in the pros and don't discount his athleticism - Sheppard tied at the Combine for the top max vertical of this class. Of the prospects set to go likely in the Top 5 this Wednesday night, he's the one I'm most confident will have a long, productive NBA career.

2. Zaccharie Risacher, F, France

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: It's hard to distinguish the international prospects set to dominate the top of the draft board come Wednesday night, but Zaccharie Risacher seems to be trending up at the right time. The main selling point here is the versatility - at 6'9", 200 pounds with the ability to play and defend multiple positions, he could contribute to just about any NBA team and fill in any role. Sure Risacher is raw, but at 19 years of age, his jump shot is farther along than most, and he seems to have the most ready game of the international group.

3. Stephon Castle, G, UConn

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: Stephon Castle came on to the reigning National Champion as a true freshman and played a critical role, and now looks to be a likely Top 5 selection in this draft. As a combo guard, Castle has proven to be an elite complementary piece, finding ways to contribute both as an off-ball scorer and defender, but I'm curious to see whether he can take on more of a leading role. Where he ends up landing could have a major impact on his eventual ceiling, but his skillset is perfect for the modern NBA.

4. Alexandre Sarr, F, France

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: Once primed to be the No. 1 overall pick, Alexandre Sarr has been pushed out of that position in most mock drafts by Risacher. It's clear there are concerns about his offensive skillset, but with his blend of size and footwork, Sarr should be an impact defender from Day One in the pros. You simply don't see too many seven footers who can move the way he can, and if his offensive game can become even mediocre, he has a chance to be a quality NBA starter in short order.

5. Dalton Knecht, G/F, Tennessee

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: Potentially my favorite prospect in this class, somebody is going to get a steal in Dalton Knecht. Rising from the junior college ranks to Northern Colorado and then finishing up at Tennessee, Knecht has defied the odds at every stop in his basketball journey and built an impressive offensive repertoire. He's a three-level scorer who can be so much more than a complementary piece, even if his overall upside may not be at the level of others set to hear their names called early at the Barclays Center.

6. Donovan Clingan, F/C, UConn

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: A decade or two ago, Donovan Clingan would have been the surefire No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. He's a legit seven-footer with a throwback offensive game and elite shot-blocking abilities who could have once been considered an automatic 20 and 10 guy in the pros. With the way the NBA has changed over the years, the value of traditional bigs like him has been reduced, although I still think his defensive impact and activity around the rim make him worthy of a high selection.

7. Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: Rob Dillingham's stock has cratered in recent weeks as he's dealt with an ankle injury throughout the pre-Draft process, but I still love the value he offers in the mid-lottery. Sure, he's undersized, but Dillingham is an explosive scorer who plays the game without fear. Whichever team he lands will have to rein him in a bit offensively, but there's so much Tyrese Maxey in his game to me, another one-time Kentucky product who has worked out just fine in the pros.

8. Devin Carter, G/F, Providence

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: I've said it in countless mock drafts up to this point, but I remain a huge fan of Providence wing Devin Carter. Another player who is a bit undersized for the pros, Carter makes up for it with a savvy, well-rounded offensive game and the type of toughness that should help him stick around in the NBA for some time. It's no surprise to me that he's scooting up draft boards late, and could end up somewhere in the lottery.

9. Nikola Topic, G, Serbia

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: A torn ACL has hurt the draft stock of Nikola Topic at the worst time - once considered a consensus Top 5 pick, there's some thought he drops out of the lottery. If he does, somebody will be getting a steal in the Serbian guard, a savvy, well-built ball-handler with a high basketball IQ. Topic isn't going to go out and wow you with his scoring ability, but he's the type of player that instantly makes everyone around him better and plays with a pace you simply can't teach. This may end up being far too low a ranking for him.

10. Matas Buzelis, F, Lithuania

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: High

The McGowanMania Take: Lithuanian forward Matas Buzelis is a complete mystery at this point. On one hand, you love a 6'10" combo forward with ample offensive potential, but I'm just not sure this is the type of prospect that is going to hold up in the pros. He's going to need to add significant muscle to his frame right away and he's not very quick, which limits what he can do offensively. Your best hope is that he turns into a Danilo Gallinari, and there's certainly plenty of opportunities for him available if he can develop in that direction, but there's a lot of risk here.

11. Cody Williams, F, Colorado

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: The younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams, Cody Williams checks a lot of boxes on paper. He's 6'8" and can play both forward spots, and with a 7'1" wingspan, you can imagine him being a tough, hard-nosed defender in the pros. But, beyond the work he does in transition, which is impressive, Williams doesn't bring a lot to the table offensively, unless he can develop a more consistent jump shot. At 19 years old there's clearly potential, but he will have to figure out how to carve out a consistent role at the next level.

12. Ja'Kobe Walter, G, Baylor

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: After one up-and-down season at Baylor, Ja'Kobe Walter is making the unsurprising jump to the pros, and should end up going somewhere in the late lottery to mid-first. A 6'5" wing who can be a real pest as an on-ball defender, I like what Walter can bring to the table, but he has to round out his offensive game. He has potentially to be a really tough isolation scorer, but he's so incredibly streaky there will be real growing up he needs to do in the pros to warrant this ranking.

13. Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: High

The McGowanMania Take: A year ago, Ron Holland looked like the future No. 1 pick in this Draft, but he had an underwhelming showing in his one year of G League Ignite basketball. The athleticism is off the charts, that's obvious, but can he be anything more than a flashy dunker? Holland has to get better at finding ways to impact the game off-ball and although his defense has potential, it's not where it needs to be at this point in his development. Somebody will take a flier on him in the lottery, but this is the ultimate boom-or-bust of a strange draft class.

14. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Illinois

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: At nearly 24 years old, Terrence Shannon Jr. is going to take a hit because of it, but he has real potential to end up being a steal. Shannon is a joy to watch offensively, incredibly fast downhill with a jump shot that has improved dramatically over his time in college. At 6'7", he should be able to find a spot in the pros, but learning how to contribute when he doesn't have the ball in his hands consistently is going to be a challenge.

15. Tidjane Salaun, F, France

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: You can see why NBA teams are intrigued by the potential of French forward Tidjane Salaun. At 6'9" with a 7'1" wingspan, the combo forward brings versatility, and although it needs refinement, the jump shot has been effective. You can envision him being a stretch forward with a high motor, but just 18 years old and with limited basketball experience under his belt, Salaun is just so incredibly raw. You are drafting solely based on potential here, because the body of work isn't large enough to justify him going lottery.

16. Kel'el Ware, F/C, Indiana

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: One of the most underrated prospects this cycle is Indiana's Kel'el Ware. A former blue-chip prospect who began his career at Oregon, you saw the upside with Ware during his time at Indiana. He's a powerful force around the rim at 7'1" and runs the floor incredibly well for his size - I have little doubt he can become an effective two-way rim-runner in the NBA. He'll probably never average 20 points a night, but I like his chances to carve out a nice role in the pros.

17. Jared McCain, G, Duke

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: A 6'3" combo guard, you wonder if Jared McCain has the size to survive in the NBA, but there's little denying his offensive ability. He can score at all three levels and can take over games when he's on. Whether he will be able to translate that to the next level remains to be seen, and he needs to grow as a distributor if he does want to stick around in the NBA. Combined with the stuff he does off the court, this is the type of player who will be a fan favorite on his team, but despised by opponents.

18. Carlton Carrington, G, Pittsburgh

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: Blessed with ideal size for an NBA guard (6'5") and with elite athleticism, Carlton Carrington has the physical gifts to be an impact player in the pros. And, you saw his potential during his time at Pittsburgh with what he can do getting others involved. However, the offensive game is still far away from where it needs to be to make a difference in the professional ranks, and his shot has always been streaky. Carrington seems to be rising at the right time, and somebody could get superb value here in the mid-to-late first round.

19. Ryan Dunn, G/F, Virginia

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: Ryan Dunn may be the best pure athlete in this Draft - some of the plays he makes on the court seem to defy logic. Add in his perimeter defensive ability, honed under Tony Bennett at Virginia, Dunn is going to find his niche in the NBA. With that being said, he has plenty of room to grow on offense and will need to become at least respectable on that end to stick around. Even so, he's one of the prospects in this Draft who I'm buying stock on, especially if he lasts until the second night.

20. Tristan da Silva, F, Colorado

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: Originally from Germany, Tristan da Silva got better each year in Boulder and now looks to land somewhere in the first round, potentially as high as the lottery. He'll be knocked for being 23, but he's one of the most NBA-ready prospects available as a stretch forward who can score from anywhere on the court. He also seemed to help himself at the Combine, putting together much stronger numbers than expected.

21. Kyle Filipowski, F/C, Duke

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: Kyle Filipowski made a somewhat surprising decision to return to Duke for a second season, a move that doesn't seem to have hurt his draft stock, but didn't help it either. A seven-footer with who can score from anywhere, Filipowski is an ideal big for the modern NBA, but he was to become more consistent in the low post and as a defender. This feels like the type of prospect who won't bust, but whose limited ceiling could threaten to drop him down the boards in the first round.

22. Yves Missi, F/C, Baylor

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: This may end up being far too low for Yves Missi, a former five-star recruit who reclassified and played a year early at Baylor. The powerful big is a force to be reckoned with in the paint and eats up boards, but there were plenty of freshman mistakes in his time in Waco, which was to be expected considering his age. He's also too much of a back-to-the-basket big man at this point in his career - can he grow a mid range shot, or other part of his game?

23. Isaiah Collier, G, USC

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: An instant playmaker, Isaiah Collier could be the type of spark off the bench NBA teams are always looking for. However, he went through his fair share of ups-and-downs during the one season at USC, and his jump shot hasn't developed the way you would have hoped. He does offer good size at 6'4" and is built to play even larger, so he should be able to feed off mismatches. But, NBA teams may be able to pick on him going the other way, as he doesn't have the quickness to match up with some of the other top-flight guards the pros will have to offer.

24. Zach Edey, C, Purdue

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: A college basketball legend through and through, anyone who believes Zach Edey's success at Purdue was purely a result of his height have to be kidding themselves. Sure, it often felt like Edey got a favorable whistle, but he is also one of the most polished interior scorers we've ever seen at the collegiate level and he got better each and every season in West Lafayette. Whether he's able to handle the physicality of the NBA will be a test, but this is the type of proven winner who ends up going far lower in the Draft than they should.

25. Johnny Furphy, G/F, Kansas

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: There were understandable growing pains for Johnny Furphy as he played a much larger role with the Jayhawks than originally expected, but the 6'9" wing grew up quite a bit over the course of one college basketball season. He probably could have benefitted from another year in Lawrence, but instead took his chances and with his size and offensive potential, he certainly could land in the first. 

26. Cam Christie, G/F, Minnesota

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: Selfishly, I would have loved to see Cam Christie stick around for the Gophers, but it shouldn't come as a huge shock he wants to go pro. He shot the ball incredibly well during his one season in college and teams will be enamored by his potential. The key for Christie will be improving as a defender - he has the tools to be a force on that end, but was often lost at times during his one year with Minnesota. If he can grow on that end, he becomes the prototype "3-and-D" NBA teams love, and usually end up paying a lot of money for.

27. Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Low

The McGowanMania Take: He may not have the ceiling of others in this class, but Marquette product Tyler Kolek is one of my favorite players coming out this year. The crafty lead guard is one of the best passers I've ever seen at the collegiate level, with a natural feel for the game that simply cannot be taught. Kolek won't be leaned on as a scorer and defensively you wonder whether he has the athleticism to keep up with the best the NBA has to offer, but he's well worth it in the late first round.

28. Jaylon Tyson, G/F, California

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: You can understand why Jaylon Tyson is getting first round interest as a prototypical "3-and-D" talent you put together a strong 2023-24 with the Cal Golden Bears. At 6'7", Tyson can play on the wing and brings perimeter defense to the table, but it's his offensive game that should have NBA teams intrigued. He's a versatile three-level scorer who should be able to thrive in just about any role he lands in at the next level.

29. Tyler Smith, F, G League Ignite

Ceiling: NBA All-Star

Bust Potential: High

The McGowanMania Take: Tyler Smith has been shifting up and down draft boards throughout the process, but still looks to land somewhere in the late first round. He's a difficult player to get a read on - the athleticism and offensive potential is certainly there, and you can envision him being a very effective stretch forward in the NBA. But, Smith is just so raw in so many areas and it's difficult to gauge G League Ignite prospects. I think he has upside to be a major steal, but landing in the perfect situation will make all the difference.

30. Baylor Scheierman, G/F, Creighton

Ceiling: NBA Starter

Bust Potential: Moderate

The McGowanMania Take: At both South Dakota State and Creighton, Baylor Scheierman proved to be a multifaceted scorer with a skillset well-suited to the modern NBA. And, at 6'7", you can imagine him playing multiple roles at the next level. He will be dinged for his age, as he's 23, and he's another guy whose ceiling certainly is not at the level of others in this class. But, the value he'll offer to an NBA team in the late first or early second is significant. 



No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.