My Favorite Non-Lottery Picks From Round 1 Of The 2024 NBA Draft

There were many good picks made in the first round of the NBA Draft last night but among the 30 selections there were a few that really stood out to me. These non-lottery players have a chance to out-play their draft positions and could look like steals a few years down the line.

These are all players with a lot of development left to do, it’ll take some time, but I think these are all good values/upside swings and just made sense from a fit/team building perspective.

Jared McCain To The 76ers At No.16

McCain brings his elite shooting to a 76ers team that will be looking to win now and is looking for immediate help. I think McCain compares well to no.3 overall pick Reed Sheppard (maybe a half tier below him, in my book) and so getting a player like that at no.16 is great value.

He’ll provide improved spacing for Embiid and will be a really interesting player to put in the line-up next to Maxey. McCain is a bit undersized but has a very strong frame, which should allow him to guard his position. He’s a good ball mover, a heady player and a great locker room guy.

I’m very confident his 3pt shooting will translate and he could become one of the better 3pt shooters in the league. He’s also a hard worker who should round out the rest of his game in time. A great value and a great fit.

The Knicks Take Pacome Dadiet No.25

The Knicks are going all-in on winning this year so it was expected that they would target an older, NBA-ready type of player that could help them win games in the short term. Instead they traded away one of their first rounders and selected an 18yo forward from France with the other.

Dadiet didn’t get the attention that Risacher or Salaun got (the other French forwards in the first round) but he’s a very intriguing prospect with an impressive level of polish for such a young 6-9 player. He moves and plays more like a guard than a big, has a really nice looking outside shot that he gets off with ease and shows a nice feel for the game. He played a supporting role on a solid Ulm team this past season but showed flashes that get you excited for his future.

The Knicks don’t need him to do anything this year outside of developing, and he’ll likely spend a lot of time with the Westchester Knicks, getting plenty of touches. After trading away many first round picks to acquire Mikal Bridges the Knicks did well to take a high upside player who can come in in a year or two and provide depth. In this draft, which lacked high end talent, the Knicks got one of the better upside swings.

Pelicans Go For Upside With Yves Missi At No.21

Regular readers of my site know how I feel about Yves Missi. I’m so enamored with his elite movement skills for his size and think he’s nowhere remotely close to his ultimate upside potential. He’s hyper-mobile, plays with a ton of hustle and heart and flashes serious upside skill. If he had stayed in school another year we’d be looking at a likely lottery pick in the 2025 draft.

He’s only been playing organized basketball for about four years and his rate of improvement has been off the charts. With that said, it’ll likely still be a year or two before he really comes into his own at the NBA level. I think the wait will be well worth it.

Kyshawn George Brings Shooting To The Young Wizards

The Wizards move up two spots to secure George with the no.24 pick, bringing in one of the better shooters in the draft who also happens to be a sturdy 6-8 with court vision and great basketball instincts. After selecting Sarr at no.2 and Bub Carrington at no.14 the Wizards go with a wing in the late first round, giving them a well rounded and high upside trio of young players.

George was not a well known prospect before this year. He’s a late growth spurt guy who was under 6-0 a few years ago, before shooting up to at least 6-8. He brought his point guard skills with him and is a capable play-maker. He’s not an explosive athlete but makes up for that with his instincts and feel for the game

AJ Johnson To The Bucks At No.23

The Bucks are another team that were projected to take a NBA-ready player but instead went with a high upside developmental guy. Johnson is very unlikely to contribute to the team this year and we’ll have to wait and see how his development goes but I like the aggressive move to swing for a player who could be really good a few years down the line.

I would have liked this pick even more at the end of round 1 but if they traded down they might have missed out on their guy. He’ll spend time with the Wisconsin Herd this season but will hopefully get called up to play a meaningful number of games with the big boys. Good upside swing for the Bucks.

Baylor Scheierman To The Celtics At No.30

This pick just seems so obvious (which is why I mocked him there) and makes so much sense. The Celtics have a ton of depth at guard/wing but it’s a long season and for a team looking to make consistent deep playoff runs it pays to have depth,.

Scheierman is a junkyard dawg type of player who is also a good 3pt shooter, a standout FT shooter and one of the best guard rebounders you’ll ever see. He’ll fit right in and will likely see minutes his rookie season. Very solid pick at the end of round one.

Here’s a look at the best players available heading into the second round.

> 2024 NBA Draft Results and Instant Analysis