This Draft Class Is Loaded…With Story-Lines

While the 2024 draft class has been panned as being weak it’s also one of the most interesting and intriguing drafts in recent memory. There are a handful of fascinating story-lines that will play out on the two days of the draft, this Wednesday and Thursday.

A French Connection In D.C.

We often think of the Spurs as the most likely team to draft another Frenchman (and they very well might) but it’s looking likely that the Wizards will add Alexandre Sarr to play alongside last year’s lottery pick Bilal Coulibaly. Sarr has so far refused to workout for the Hawks and so probably won’t be the first pick in the draft, meaning he’ll be there for the Wizards to select at no.2.

If this does play out that Wizards will have an intriguing defensive French duo, both multi-positional defenders who can guard all over the court – and both have offensive upside as well. Add in the emerging Deni Avdija and sharp-shooting Cory Kispert and suddenly things are starting to look up for the downtrodden team.

The Wizards aren’t going to win a lot of games next season, no matter who they draft, and should be in range to draft another star French player in point guard Nolan Traore in 2025. That could really get things cooking in D.C.

Coming Back Up From Down Under

AJ Johnson, Trentyn Flowers and Bobi Klintman spurned college basketball (Texas, Louisville and Wake Forest) to play in the NBL in Australia this past year, with mixed results. But all three have good long term NBA outlooks. I have all three ranked in the same range, late first to mid second round and I think all three will play in the NBA.

AJ Johnson probably has the most upside. He’s a long and rangy guard with good athleticism and a nice shooting stroke. He’ll probably play/develop in the G League next season but over the long term I think he has starter potential.

And there’s an Aussie in the mix as well, with Johnny Furphy likely to be selected in the mid to late first round. After a nice freshman season at Kansas Furphy had a tough choice, which came down to the wire, but ultimately chose to stay in the draft.

And of course there’s Alexandre Sarr, a likely top 2 pick, who played one year at Perth after a stint in the OTE.

Terrence Shannon In The Clear

After facing serious charges Illinois wing Terrence Shannon has been cleared on all accounts and NBA teams can go ahead and draft him with confidence. He had a great senior season at Illinois and is one of the more NBA-ready wings in the draft class. He could go as high as mid first round but most likely will come off the board in late first to early second.

And Then There’s Bronny

Of course no discussion of NBA Draft storylines would be complete without the biggest media story of them all; the potential drafting of the son of the second greatest basketball player of all time. Bronny James will be the talk of the draft, even though he’s far from the best player in the class. It just comes with the territory.

A Buffalo Stampede

I’m not a draft historian but I’d guess the Colorado Buffalos have never had three players selected in one draft. That is likely to change this week, with Cody Williams, Tristan da Silva and KJ Simpson all projected to be selected on Wednesday and Thursday. Williams and da Silva are locks and Simpson is a likely second round pick.

Zach Edey, Center Of Attention

I’ve written plenty about Zach Edey but it bears repeating: the massive, mostly mild-mannered Canadian is one of the most fascinating prospects of the past few years and it’s going to be really interesting to see where he lands on draft day and how his game translates to the NBA. He’ll be a fan favorite from day one, will help sell tickets and is going to be really fun to watch in the league.

How Do NBA Teams View Carlton Carrington?

After a red-hot start to the season Carrington came out of nowhere to land in the lottery of many mock drafts. Then he cooled off and fell down boards. He entered the draft process unsure about staying in the draft this year but reportedly he received very quick feedback about his draft stock, which made his decision easy. I’ve been mocking Carrington in the low 20’s but there’s a chance NBA teams value his intriguing upside a lot higher than that. Could Carrington crash the lottery or at least go top 20? It’s definitely a possibility. This story will be one of the most fascinating to watch Wednesday night.

The Final Year Of G League Ignite Prospects

Matas Buzelis, Ron Holland and Tyler Smith are all impressive prospects but the year they had with the Ignite this past season was so woeful that the Ignite team got cancelled.

From a prospect development standpoint it was both good and bad; the good being that they each got to play expanded roles, try out new things on the court, gain professional experience and play against pros. The bad was the lack of consequences for poor shot selection or decision making, lack of defensive effort at times and playing in mostly blow-out games that often devolved into up-and-down, pick-up style basketball.

Two other Ignite players, London Johnson and Babacar Sane are both in the draft as well, but most likely will go undrafted.

The Spurs Adding Talent Next To Wembanyama

The Spurs got their superstar and now have two lottery picks to build around him. And they have tons of good options. If they stay pat at no.4 and no.8 they could add two high level talents. Or they could package those picks (or future picks) to trade up for Risacher. Options at no.4 include Stephon Castle, Reed Sheppard, or even Donovan Clingan. At no.8 they could swing for upside with Tadjane Salaun or Cody Williams, or go with a NBA ready player like Dalton Knecht or Devin Carter. This is an important draft for the team; one that could set them up to be a force in the Western Conference for the next decade+

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