7 Underrated Prospects and 3 Deep Sleepers For The 2024 NBA Draft - NBA Draft Room

7 Underrated Prospects and 3 Deep Sleepers For The 2024 NBA Draft

Here’s a look at seven players from major conferences, who are well known by college basketball fans but who aren’t getting the NBA Draft attention they deserve. All seven are upperclassmen who are more NBA ready than most of the one and done, high upside but risky prospects. NBA teams will always draft for potential but we’ve seen a marked shift in recent years towards valuing the more solid and predictable outcome of the upperclassmen.

In addition I’m listing three deep sleepers who realistically are probably not going to get drafted but who will likely get a chance to prove themselves in Summer League and/or with some more development in the G League. 

Seven Well-Known But Underrated Prospects

Payton Sandfort – SF – Iowa – Almost like a poor man’s Dalton Knecht, Sandfort is an elite 3pt shooter with a well-defined NBA role. He’s got solid size at 6-7 and enough athleticism to get by. But the thing that has peaked NBA team’s interest is the outside shot. Sandfort has a beautiful release, gets his shot off quickly and lets it fly with confidence. When you watch him shoot the ball you’re surprised when he misses. I would draft Sandfort in the top 45.

Kam Jones – SG – Marquette – Jones should be getting a lot more draft buzz (and this March Madness is helping with that). He’s consistently been a lights out shooter and has taken his scoring to a new level this year, showing better finishing at the rim and touch on his floater. He doesn’t get the draft attention that his teammates Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro get but he should be in the mix in the mid second round.

Norchad Omier – PF/C – Miami – Only a junior in terms of eligibility, Omier could be back for another season at Miami but should at least explore the draft process and get feedback. I’m high on him and think there’s a role for him in the league. He’s a powerful rebounder who can control the paint, despite not having ideal height, has great hands on defense and has expanded his offensive game. I trust that his mid range and 3pt shot will continue to develop and he’ll become a capable floor spacer in time. It’s easy to picture him in a Miami Heat jersey.

Jamir Watkins – SF – Florida State – After transferring from VCU Watkins had an efficient and productive season for the Seminoles putting his name solidly in the NBA draft discussion. He’s a do-it-all player who can score inside and out, pass the rock, defend multiple positions and even bring the ball up the court. He projects as a solid role player at the NBA level and should be drafted accordingly, in the late first to mid second round.

RJ Davis – PG – North Carolina – Davis is a big name college player but in terms of NBA draft hype or attention, he’s being slept on. He’s undersized and doesn’t project as a starter but he’s got a combination of shot-making prowess and ability to run the show, that could make him a valuable back up in the league. I’ve been impressed with his off-the-dribble shooting and ability to pull up from deep.

Jalen Bridges – SF – Baylor – Bridges is kind of boring, not having an elite skill or standing out in any one area. But he’s super effective, efficient, has NBA size on the wing and doesn’t need the ball to impact the game. I have a draft-able grade on him and would take him in the mid second round. We’ll see what happens on draft night.

Jamal Shead – PG Houston – Shead is tough as nails. He’s a nasty defender, is physical on both ends of the floor and plays with a ton of energy, passion and intensity. That alone should make him valuable to a NBA team, as a back up guard. If his outside shot was better he’d be a lock to get drafted but hitting just about 31% from 3 the past two season doesn’t inspire much confidence. Still, players with his mix of strength, defensive force and leadership qualities have a history of making it in the league.

3 Deep Sleepers

Braxton Meah – C – Washington – Meah is more of a deep sleeper who is very unlikely to be drafted but could find a home in the G League… and perhaps play a role off the bench in the NBA…eventually. He’s a massive 7-1 player with surprising agility, who dunks everything around the rim. He’s pretty one-dimensional on offense but he’s really good at that one dimension.

Malique Lewis –  PF – Mexico City Capitanes – Lewis, a 6-8 combo forward, was the no.1 pick in last year’s G League International Draft, coming over from the Spanish club Fuenlabrada. The Trinidad and Tobago-born Lewis is an intriguing open court athlete, cutter and play-finisher with a NBA level frame. He’s got a lot of development left to do but his upside could be worth a look in the second round – or at least on a two-way contract or exhibit 10 contract.

Zyon Pullin – PG – Florida – After one of my supporters on Patreon (shootout G.L) brought up Pullin with me, I’ve been taking a closer look at the well built 6-4 steady lead guard. While he’s not the most exciting prospect in terms of explosive offensive ability he’s a great decision maker with the ball, knows how to run the show and projects as a low maintenance back up point guard who could provide depth to a NBA roster – not the most ringing endorsement but still, a player who has a shot to make it.

2024 NBA Mock Draft