NBA Mock Draft 2024: Ron Holland to Wizards at No. 1; Spurs pick Tyrese Proctor to pair with Victor Wembanyama

College basketball returned last week, but it always feels like the season is officially underway when the Champions Classic and other annual preseason tournaments tip-off.

The return of college hoops also means it is the start of NBA Mock Draft season.

The first Mock Draft of the year is always the toughest because it involves trying to project how incoming freshmen will make an impact at the collegiate level, how returning players have improved and will adjust to bigger roles, and where the newest crop of international and G League Ignite prospects fit into the mix of it all.

In an attempt to balance all of those evaluations, The Sporting News has you covered with its first NBA Mock Draft of the year, using Las Vegas’ preseason NBA over/under win totals to project the draft order. Since the draft order is bound to change between now and the end of the season, a prospect’s fit with the team was barely considered.

It is also worth noting that USC freshman Bronny James is not currently listed, solely because of his unclear timetable to return from cardiac arrest suffered over the summer. Future Mock Drafts will be updated accordingly when more information becomes available.

So without further ado, with the first pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Wizards select…

MORE: Sporting News’ College basketball rankings 2023-24: Duke, UConn, Kansas lead the way

NBA Mock Draft 2024

1. Wizards: Ron Holland, G League Ignite

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-6, 204 lbs.

One year after Victor Wembanyama held down the No. 1 spot for an entire draft cycle, the top pick in the 2024 NBA Draft is sure to be a revolving door.

For now, G League Ignite star Holland owns that title.

The 18-year-old is a high-energy forward who projects to be the best and most versatile defender in this draft class. If he can continue to grow his offensive game as a shot creator and knock down the 3-ball more consistently, he might not surrender this spot.

MORE: Once a dream, Ron Holland believes he can be the No. 1 pick in 2024 NBA Draft

2. Pistons: Isaiah Collier, USC

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 210 lbs.

Collier was the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2023. Don’t be surprised if he’s the first guard to hear his name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver in 2024.

The 19-year-old is built like a running back, utilizing his strong frame, elite body control and quick burst of speed to get downhill and finish through contact at the rim. He’s an impressive passer, a physical defender and he loves to push the pace in transition. He’ll thrive as a playmaker on a talented USC team and could easily work his way into the No. 1 pick conversation come June.

3. Trail Blazers: Alexandre Sarr, Perth (Australia)

Age: 18

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-0, 216 lbs.

Sarr burst onto the scene in a pair of showcase games against the G League Ignite back in September, averaging 21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.0 blocks and 2.0 assists in front of a mob of NBA scouts and talent evaluators.

At 7-0 with a reported 7-5 wingspan, Sarr is a fluid and mobile athlete with the instincts and elite shot blocking of a defensive anchor. He’s already showing signs of improvement as a scorer, capable of doing more than just throw down dunks off of lobs and cuts. He elected to take his talents to Australia’s NBL Next Stars program after a year with Overtime Elite, allowing him to grow his game against pros before making the leap to the NBA.

4. Spurs: Tyrese Proctor, Duke

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 183 lbs.

I’m admittedly higher on Proctor than most, but how could you not be encouraged by what you saw from the Aussie at the end of his freshman season at Duke?

The 19-year-old reclassified to attend college a year early and you could tell it took him some time to settle into his role with the Blue Devils. By the end of the season, he started to gain confidence in his jump shot and floater, and he was defending with a purpose, rounding out his prospect profile as a natural playmaker.

After a wise decision to return to Duke, Proctor’s stock should be on the rise as he looks to elevate the Blue Devils as a national championship contender.

5. Hornets: Matas Buzelis, G League Ignite

Age: 19

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 209 lbs.

Buzelis was originally billed as the projected No. 1 pick in this draft class and he is certainly still in that mix. Versatility is the name of the game for the 19-year-old, who plays more like a small forward than a big.

He’s a confident 3-point shooter, a smooth shot creator, and he has the footwork and touch to score out of the post. He’ll need to put on size to maximize his potential on the defensive end, but Buzelis is the type of prospect who fits today’s positionless style of NBA basketball.

6. Thunder (via HOU): Justin Edwards, Kentucky

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 203 lbs.

Edwards has the build and skill set of a prototypical small forward in today’s NBA.

At 6-8, 203 lbs., Edwards is a three-level scorer who can put his head down and get to the rim, knockdown midrange jumpers and spot-up 3s, and score with or without the ball in his hands. He’s a competitive defender and has the size and speed to guard multiple positions.

As one of the stars on a talented Kentucky team, Edwards will be in the spotlight all season with the opportunity to crack the top five in this draft.

7. Jazz: Stephon Castle, UConn

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-6, 215 lbs.

Castle falls in line with the “big guard” movement in the NBA as a 6-6 playmaker.

The 19-year-old plays at his own pace, changing gears with a confident handle and advanced court vision to make the most out of every possession. His size, length and frame project him to be a suffocating perimeter defender, and his jump shot will be his swing skill to watch when he operates UConn’s offense this season.

8. Spurs (via TOR): Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 195 lbs.

Walter only needed one game to put his tough shotmaking prowess on display, exploding for 28 points on just 13 field goal attempts in his Baylor debut. The 6-5 shooting guard is more than comfortable creating his own shot off the dribble, already using stepbacks and side steps to get a look at the rim. His catch-and-shoot mechanics are strong, and he can fire away off of screens and handoffs. He’s a professional scorer.

9. Bulls: Donovan Clingan, UConn

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-2, 280 lbs.

Clingan was impressive in limited playing time as a freshman during UConn’s national championship run, but the 19-year-old should have a Big East Defensive Player of the Year-caliber season ahead of him.

The 7-2 sophomore will be one of the best rim protectors and lob threats in the country. He hardly has to leave his feet to block shots with a towering 7-7 wingspan. How his post game, footwork and mobility improve will determine his ceiling as a prospect, and he should get plenty of practice as a roll-man alongside Castle.

It will be interesting to see what Clingan is capable of on both ends of the floor in a larger role this year.

10. Rockets (via BKN): Zaccharie Risacher, JL Bourg (France)

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-9, 204 lbs.

Risacher was originally tabbed as a top-five pick in this draft class because of his two-way potential as a 6-9 wing. He’s a raw offensive product who has shown flashes of being able to create his own shot, score as a slasher and make simple reads as a passer. His defensive versatility raises his floor.

At 18 years old, playing in the best league in France (the same league that Wembanyama came from last year), Risacher could raise his stock with an impactful season.

11. Magic: Nikola Topic, Mega MIS (Serbia)

Age: 18

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-6, 201 lbs.

Topic made his name known after taking home MVP honors for Serbia at the U18 European Championship in July.

The 6-6 guard is a savvy playmaker who can make every type of read and pass. He’s patient with the ball in his hands and you can’t speed him up. He’s a pick-and-roll maestro with an incredible feel for the game. Even though he’s not a superb athlete, he plays physically to give him an edge.

He’ll be put to the test as a prospect all season competing in the renowned Adriatic League.

12. Pacers: Izan Almansa, G League Ignite

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-10, 216 lbs.

Almansa is a skilled, mobile and coordinated big man who plays with an attitude. His offensive game is unpolished but he has shown potential as a roll-man and post scorer with a developing perimeter shot. He’s an active rebounder and energetic defender who should benefit from a full year in the G League to grow his game before he takes the leap to the next level.

13. Hawks: Kyle Filipowski, Duke

Age: 20, Sophomore

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 7-0, 248 lbs.

Filipowski would have been a first-round pick in 2023, but the Duke star elected to return for a potential ACC Player of the Year-caliber season. The decision should result in Filipowski becoming a sure-fire lottery pick.

The skilled 7-footer can wear multiple hats on offense. He has smooth footwork and shooting touch with his back to the basket, he can space the floor as a 3-point shooter, he’s physical on the glass and he even showed some playmaking chops as a freshman. His defense will be tested as Duke’s anchor this season, but his offensive versatility gives his potential a high floor.

MORE: ACC college basketball odds, betting preview: Everyone is chasing Duke

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14. Knicks (via DAL): DJ Wagner, Kentucky

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 192 lbs.

Wagner is a shifty 6-3 combo guard who is lethal off the dribble. He has a quick first step with a tight handle to create separation on jumpers or blow by his defenders for layups and floaters. He’s a tenacious and disruptive on-ball defender and budding playmaker who should thrive with the talent around him at Kentucky.

Wagner will look to become the first third-generation player in NBA history, following the footsteps of his father, DaJuan, and grandfather, Milt.

MORE: DJ Wagner’s got next: Meet the third-generation NBA prospect set to make history

15. Kings: Aday Mara, UCLA

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-3, 240 lbs.

Mara is an intriguing big-man prospect with keen passing instincts. He’s a skilled offensive player who can score out of the post or make plays as a roll-man. His physicality and defense will be put under a microscope at UCLA this season, but his feel for the game at 7-3 is hard to come by.

16. Knicks: Cody Williams, Colorado

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 190 lbs.

Williams is the brother of Thunder standout lottery pick Jalen Williams. He brings a similar versatility to his game on both ends of the floor, but he’s not the offensive weapon his brother is. Cody does most of his scoring in transition or on downhill drives.

His 6-8 frame and 7-1 wingspan should help him maximize his potential on defense.

17. Pelicans: Kel’el Ware, Indiana

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-0, 242 lbs.

Ware was a projected top-10 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft prior to the start of last season, but a disappointing freshman year at Oregon saw him return to school.

Ware landed at Indiana after entering the transfer portal, where he’ll have the chance to once again prove his ability as a shot-blocking rim protector and lob finisher with flashes of a perimeter jumper. He’ll need to get more physical on the glass and on the defensive end to succeed at the next level.

18. Thunder: Bobi Klintman, Cairns (Australia)

Age: 20

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 224 lbs.

Klintman started to see some first-round buzz following his freshman season at Wake Forest before he pulled his name from the 2023 NBA Draft and joined Australia’s NBL Next Stars program. He’s a switchy defender who has shown flashes as a shot-creator, and he has the tools to play on the wing.

Klintman has already had some eye-catching games in the NBL this season and his stock could be on the rise.

19. Timberwolves: Elmarko Jackson, Kansas

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-3, 195 lbs.

Jackson is an explosive athlete who uses his speed and physicality to barrel through opponents and score at the rim. He’s a tenacious and disruptive on-ball defender who should take on some tough perimeter assignments at Kansas this season. If he can develop his playmaking and shot-creation skills, Jackson could be a lottery-type talent.

MORE: Big 12 college basketball odds, betting preview: Can anyone challenge Kansas?

20. Grizzlies: Baba Miller, Florida State

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-11, 204 lbs.

Miller’s freshman season at Florida State was derailed by a 16-game suspension from the NCAA, taking away from a prospect who had first-round potential last year.

Returning to school for his sophomore season, Miller should better be able to display his unique perimeter skill set as a 6-11 wing. He’s an energetic and versatile defender and a budding offensive talent who can score off the dribble, with his back to the basket or facing up as a shooter.

21. Heat: Trevon Brazile, Arkansas

Age: 20, Redshirt Sophomore

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-10, 220 lbs.

Brazile got off to a strong start to his sophomore season at Arkansas before a torn ACL sidelined him for the remainder of the year after nine games. The long and athletic wing dunks everything and plays with a motor on the defensive end — a type of high-energy athlete who could plug and play at the NBA level.

22. Pacers (via OKC): Riley Kugel, Florida

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 207 lbs.

Kugel was inconsistent to start his freshman season but turned a corner once the calendar flipped to February. Over his final 10 games (including the SEC Tournament and NIT), Kugel averaged 17.3 points while shooting 39.6 percent from 3 on 4.8 attempts.

The high-volume scorer will now get a full season as the Gators’ No. 1 option, giving himself a chance to show his entire offensive arsenal.

23. Pelicans (via LAL): Jared McCain, Duke

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-3, 197 lbs.

McCain is a knockdown perimeter shooter and connective passer off the dribble whose skill set should shine on a loaded Duke team. As a combo guard who can play with or without the ball in his hands, McCain is the type of unselfish playmaker and scorer who could mesh with anyone in a backcourt. 

24. Trail Blazers (via GSW): Elliot Cadeau, North Carolina

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-1, 180 lbs.

Cadeau was the top-ranked point guard in the Class of 2024 before he decided to reclassify and attend UNC a year early. Undersized at 6-1, Cadeau is still an NBA prospect because of his flashy playmaking, cerebral court vision and shot-creation skills. He may not end up as a one-and-done prospect because of all the upperclassman talent North Carolina has on its roster, but Cadeau is still a player to watch nonetheless.

25. 76ers: Adem Bona, UCLA

Age: 20, Sophomore

Position: Center

Height and weight: 6-10, 245 lbs.

Bona was a physical and intimidating interior presence for UCLA last season, but he elected to return to school to polish the rest of his game. He’ll be a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year candidate. If he can grow his offensive game beyond putbacks and lobs, Bona could slide up in the first round as the year goes on.

26. Cavaliers: Trey Alexander, Creighton

Age: 20, Junior

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 190 lbs.

Alexander was a potential first-round pick last season before deciding to return to Creighton for his junior year. Alexander is a growing offensive weapon who has three-level scoring potential. He’s a knockdown shooter and a hard-working defender who would be a great get for teams looking for an NBA-ready upperclassman.

27. Suns: Terrance Arceneaux, Houston

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-6, 205 lbs.

Arceneaux didn’t get much of an opportunity to showcase his two-way potential last season but should play a larger role for Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars this year. Arceneaux is an energetic and athletic wing who projects as a 3-and-D prospect at the NBA level if he can knock down the 3-ball with more consistency.

28. Nuggets: Tidjane Salaun, Cholet (France)

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-9, 203 lbs.

Salaun is another French prospect to monitor coming out of LNB Pro A — a long and athletic power forward who plays above the rim with unlimited energy. He’s quick and mobile for his size, he’s a smart cutter and he’s not afraid to shoot from the perimeter. Playing against the toughest competition France has to offer will only help his draft stock as the season goes on.

29. Bucks: Rob Dillingham, Kentucky

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-3, 176 lbs.

Cam Thomas’ explosion as a professional bucket-getter could inspire some depth-needy teams to target a pure scorer of Dillingham’s caliber for their second unit in the late first round. Dillingham is a tough shotmaker with a ton of shake off the dribble. He’ll surely have some breakout games that will catch some eyes this season.

30. Celtics: Mark Mitchell, Duke

Age: 20, Sophomore

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-9, 232 lbs.

Mitchell is a long and physical defensive-minded wing. His limitations on the offensive end will put a ceiling on his potential, but any NBA team could use an athlete of Mitchell’s caliber who takes pride in coming up with stops.

Source : ESPN.com

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