The NBA Draft’s 60 best prospects in 2024, ranked

The 2024 NBA Draft feels like the weakest class to enter the league in a decade. You have to go back to 2013 for the last time a draft had such a distinct lack of starpower at the top, but that class also offers offers some valuable lessons for this one. Anthony Bennett was a shocking No. 1 overall pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers back then, and he turned into a monumental bust. At the same time, there were still two future Hall of Famers lurking after the lottery (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert) and plenty of solid pros scattered throughout.

Even bad drafts have good players, and this one will, too. It’s just going to be extremely difficult to identify the eventual best player in the class with the No. 1 overall pick, because no one can agree on who that player is this year. Before we delve into our final rankings, here are a few notes about my draft philosophy as someone who has been on the beat since about 2013.

I put the most value into how good a player can be in his prime years. I don’t really care if I’m wrong, because unlike NBA GMs, I face no consequences for it. For that reason, I tend to prefer players with higher ceilings than more certain floors. I typically go for players with elite physical tools, because it gives them more outs for success … but I have a habit of falling for super-skilled smaller guards, too. I put more value into shot creation than any other skill. I try to give the benefit of the doubt to players with a strong feel for the game. I value off-ball defensive impact greatly. I always look at advanced metrics like BPM and enjoy checking out different draft models, but typically rely more on my own eye test and gut check.

I released my first big board for this class the day after the 2023 draft. So much has changed since then. Here are our final top-60 player ranking for the 2024 NBA Draft.

2024 NBA Draft board

Rank Tier Player From Position Age
Rank Tier Player From Position Age
1 1 Nikola Topic Serbia G Born 2005
2 1 Alex Sarr France C/F Born 2005
3 1 Ron Holland G League Ignite F Born 2005
4 2 Reed Sheppard Kentucky G Freshman
5 2 Rob Dillingham Kentucky G Freshman
6 2 Matas Buzelis G League Ignite F Born 2004
7 2 Isaiah Collier USC G Freshman
8 2 Donovan Clingan UConn C Sophomore
9 2 Devin Carter Providence G Junior
10 2 Zaccharie Risacher France F Born 2005
11 2 Stephon Castle UConn G Freshman
12 3 Tyler Smith G League Ignite F Born 2004
13 3 Kel’el Ware Indiana C Sophomore
14 3 Cody Williams Colorado F Freshman
15 3 Tidjane Salaun France F Born 2005
16 3 Kyle Filipowski Duke C Sophomore
17 3 Yves Missi Baylor C Freshman
18 3 Dalton Knecht Tennessee F Senior
19 3 Zach Edey Purdue C Senior
20 3 Jared McCain Duke G Freshman
21 3 DaRon Holmes II Dayton F/C Junior
22 3 Ja’Kobe Walter Baylor F Freshman
23 3 Jaylon Tyson Cal G Junior
24 3 Bub Carrington Pitt G Freshman
25 4 Tristan da Silva Colorado F Senior
26 4 Pacome Dadiet France F Born 2005
27 4 Kevin McCullar Kansas G/F Senior
28 4 KJ Simpson Colorado G Junior
29 4 Johnny Furphy Kansas F Freshman
30 4 Ryan Dunn Virginia F Sophomore
31 4 Terrence Shannon Jr. Illinois G/F Senior
32 4 Jamal Shead Houston G Senior
33 4 Adem Bona UCLA C Sophomore
34 4 Ajay Mitchell UC Santa Barbara G Junior
35 5 Tyler Kolek Marquette G Senior
36 5 Kyshawn George Miami F Freshman
37 5 N’Faly Dante Oregon C Senior
38 5 Bobi Klintman Sweden F Born 2003
39 5 Judah Mintz Syracuse G Sophomore
40 5 Juan Nunez Spain G Born 2004
41 5 Keshad Johnson Arizona F Senior
42 5 Dillon Jones Weber State G Junior
43 5 Melvin Ajinca France G Born 2004
44 5 Jaylen Wells Washington State F Junior
45 5 Nikola Djurisic Serbia F Born 2004
46 5 Isaiah Crawford Louisiana Tech F Senior
47 5 Jonathan Mogbo San Francisco F Senior
48 5 Cam Christie Minnesota G Freshman
49 5 Harrison Ingram North Carolina F Junior
50 5 Baylor Scheierman Creighton F Senior
51 5 Ulrich Chomche Cameroon C/F Born 2005
52 6 Oso Ighodaro Marquette C Senior
53 6 Anton Watson Gonzaga C/F Senior
54 6 Tristen Newton UConn G Senior
55 6 Reece Beekman Virginia G Senior
56 6 Bronny James USC G Freshman
57 6 Antonio Reeves Kentucky G Senior
58 6 Justin Edwards Kentucky F Freshman
59 6 AJ Johnson Illawarra Hawks G Born 2005
60 6 Jalen Bridges Baylor F Senior

Tier 1: All-Star upside if things break right

1. Nikola Topic, G, Red Stars (Serbia)

Topic first emerged as the top player in our board in Dec. during a torrid start to the season for Mega in the Adriatic League. Since then, he changed teams and suffered two knee injuries, the latest of which resulted in a torn ACL. This is the least confident I’ve ever felt about ranking a player No. 1 overall in a draft class, but ultimately Topic’s polish at an extremely young age (he turns 19 years in August) and upside as a potential on-ball engine won out.

The main appeal for Topic is his shot creation potential, his positional size as a 6’6 point guard, and his undeniable production going against grown men. Topic is a downhill attacking guard who can burn defenders off the dribble with his tremendous burst going to the basket. While he lacks vertical explosion (he finished with zero dunks this season), he’s an extremely crafty finisher who used long strides and extension finishes to convert his rim opportunities efficiently all season. He’s at his best operating out of the pick-and-roll, where he can leverage the threat of his own scoring to open up passing lanes to teammates.

In 13 games with Mega, Topic averaged 18.6 points, 6.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds per game on terrific 62.9 percent true shooting. He got to the foul line a lot (and made 87.8 percent of his free throws), posted an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio, and finished with an “excellent” grade on pick-and-roll ball handling, isolations, and transition opportunities, according to Synergy Sports.

There’s still considerable downside here. Topic is not a good three-point shooter at the moment, and will face teams going under every screen early in his career. He tends to drift a bit when he doesn’t have the ball in the halfcourt. He shows poor technique and effectiveness defensively. It’s fair to wonder how a player so reliant on his burst will look coming off a torn ACL.

Still, Topic put up fantastic numbers as an 18-year-old in a solid pro league, and has a rare ability to generate easy baskets with his speed as a ball handler. His combination of scoring and playmaking as a downhill guard feels like the clearest pathway in this class to All-Star potential if everything breaks right.

2. Alex Sarr, C/F, Perth Wildcats (France)

Sarr has the best physical tools in this class as an athletic 7’1 big man with a 7’4 wingspan. He has the potential for elite defensive versatility as a big man who can protect the rim from the backline, or switch screens and stick with smaller perimeter players. Sarr can fly in the open floor, or soar above the rim to finish plays on both sides of the ball. While his offense remains a work in progress, he’s shown some tantalizing flashes as a ball handler and shooter. Sarr can be frustrating to watch at times because he doesn’t play with much force offensively, he’s not a plus passer, and he tends to give up opportunities on the glass. Will he shoot it well enough long-term to be an NBA four? Will he rebound it well enough to play center? The offensive upside here comes if Sarr’s three-point shot develops, or his body blows up and he’s able to start running over guys. Even with questions about his offensive role, Sarr’s ground coverage and explosion is a rare combination at 7’1 and gives him real star equity long-term as a play finisher.

3. Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite

Read my profile on Holland here. I’m betting on Holland’s ability to make winning plays when he’s not overmatched in a primary creation role like he was for the Ignite. His athleticism, slashing, defensive motor, passing touch, and transition scoring should all translate well to the league. He will obviously have to improve his jump shot, and I wish he was a little bigger to play the four. While his G League numbers were underwhelming, the fact that he was able to learn what it’s like to carry such a huge usage rate at a young age should be beneficial for his long-term development. Still only 18 years old on draft day, Holland is one of the few players in this class to have star upside with his physical tools, pedigree, and hustle.

Tier 2: Potential high-end complementary players

4. Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky: Sheppard is tiny and doesn’t offer a ton of on-ball creation upside, but he’s such a good shooter and has a special ability to force turnovers defensively. He’d be at this best filling in the cracks for a team with length and athleticism around him, allowing him to tap into his shot versatility and maximize spacing. Sheppard will get physically overpowered defensively in certain matchups, but he has incredible hands to generate turnovers and is excellent kickstarting the break with outlet passes. He’s going to be below the size and athleticism thresholds for most NBA guards, but if he can continue the elite three-point stroke he showed at Kentucky (52.1 percent from deep on 144 attempts), he should bring enough to the table to be an elite complementary piece.

5. Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky: Dillingham is dangerously small at 6’1 barefoot with a 6’3 wingspan, and will be the lightest player in the NBA next season after weighing in at 164 pounds at the combine. You need to be enormously skilled to thrive in the NBA at that size, and I believe Dillingham meets the criteria. The Kentucky freshman is one of the great shooters in this draft class, able to rip deep pull-ups off the dribble or relocate off-the-ball for backbreaking catch-and-shoot threes. He hit 44.4 percent of his 144 attempts this season, and knocked them down on every action possible. Dillingham also has a case as the best ball handler in this class, able to link together moves to keep his defender off balance while attacking. He has awesome vision as a passer, and looks comfortable throwing everything from lobs to skips to pocket passes to the roll man. His inability to play through any contact is a big concern, but the shot-making and playmaking here is too thrilling to discount.

6. Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite: Buzelis is simply going to have to shoot it better from three than he did with the G League Ignite (26.1 percent from three on 115 attempts in 34 games) to be successful in the NBA, but track record as a shooter at lower levels inspires some confidence that could happen. Having a reliable spot-up jumper would unlock the rest of Buzelis’ offensive game. It’s rare to find forwards this big (6’8.75 with a 6’10 wingspan) who can attack off the bounce with creativity and make plays for themselves and others. Buzelis also showed a surprising amount of defensive toughness at the rim (64 blocks in 34 games) despite a skinny frame. This ranking could look bad if the shot doesn’t come around, but the ideal version of Buzelis is type of well-rounded forward every team covets.

7. Isaiah Collier, G, USC: Collier entered the cycle as a potential top-3 pick, but quickly lost momentum during a slow start for USC. There was less attention on his hot close to the season, but it deserves the same consideration. Collier is simply one of the best shot-creation bets in this class as a strong and fast downhill guard with the requisite passing vision. At 6’2.5 barefoot, Collier has a burly 205-pound frame which he uses to put consistent pressure on the rim. He finished well at the rim (61.7 percent) with nearly 74 percent of those looks being self-created (without an assist). He got himself in trouble with turnovers for much of the season, partially because his passes too ambitious, partially because USC didn’t have the spacing or lob threats to maximize his vision. Collier’s biggest swing skill is definitely his jump shot: he made 33.8 percent of his 80 attempts on the year. For a player who gets to the line a ton, he should probably start working on his free throws, too, because he only hit 67 percent from the charity stripe. If Collier can develop any kind of shot — even from mid-range — his speedy, bully ball game could still have serious pro upside.

8. Donovan Clingan, C, UConn: It’s hard to grasp just how huge Clingan is. At 7’1.75 barefoot with a 7’6.75 wingspan and 280 pound frame, he would have been one of the NBA’s tallest, longest, and heaviest players last season. Clingan was the rock on back-to-back national championship teams at UConn, and his game has an easy translation to the NBA as a rim protector. While he’ll mostly have to play drop coverage, his length and shot-blocking instincts give him a chance to be one of the league’s top paint deterrents. The offense could be a bit worrisome to me, despite the impressive playmaking chops and sparkling 63.7 true shooting percentage he posted this year. Clingan just doesn’t get much pop off the ground as a leaper, and his finishes will get much tougher against more athletic NBA defenders. I also find it concerning that Clingan played less than half the available minutes for UConn on the season, and only played over 30 minutes four times in his sophomore year. Clingan feels safer than other prospects for his size and easy role translation, but his scoring and conditioning issues give me some pause with a top pick.

9. Devin Carter, G, Providence: Carter took a superstar leap in his junior season at Providence by adding improved three-point shooting and paint finishing to his already tenacious defensive ability. Carter Carter went from hitting 29.9 percent of his threes as a sophomore to 37.7 this past season while nearly doubling his number of attempts. He confidently stepped into pull-ups when the defense went under screens, and quickly relocated for spot-ups when he was off-the-ball. Carter’s improved stroke opened up the rest of his offense, and his added craft as a driver (he noted he started playing off two-feet more to model his game after Jalen Brunson after a suggestion from the coaching staff) helped him finish an impressive 65 percent of his shots at the rim. Carter’s best attribute is his defense. Carter has length (6’8.75 wingspan) and explosive leaping ability (42-inch max vertical) that helps him play so much bigger than his size. His 26 dunks this season are a shocking number for a guard who measured 6’2 barefoot. The catch with Carter is he’ll turn 23 years old during his rookie season, and is already the same age as someone like Jalen Green who has three NBA seasons already under his belt. Still, Carter’s fantastic defense and improved shooting stroke earmarks him as a disruptive guard who would thrive next to a bigger initiator.

10. Zaccharie Risacher, F, JL Bourg (France): Risacher just doesn’t have enough shot creation upside to go higher than this to me, but it does feel like he has a high floor as an off-ball wing who can space the floor. At 6’8.5 barefoot with a 6’9.5 wingspan, Risacher played a big role in the top French pro league, and had some of his best games of the year deep in the playoffs. He hit 38.7 percent of his threes on 238 attempts this season, usually getting up three or four attempts per game. In addition to the shooting, Risacher looks like a good defensive forward, but it feels like he defends guards better than wings. Is he capable of defending someone like Jayson Tatum a few years from now in a playoff series? If not, it’s hard to see why he’s in the mix for No. 1 overall given that he’s not someone you ask to take the ball and create offense.

11. Stephon Castle, G, UConn: Forget the noise about Castle viewing himself as a long-term point guard: right now, he’s perfectly suited as a defensive stopper who is more of a connective wing offensively. At 6’5.5 barefoot with a 6’9 wingspan and strong 210-pound frame, Castle is a physical guard who wins loose balls and rebounds and can play through contact on both ends. His three-point shot is just very bad right now (26.7 percent on 75 attempts), so a team will have to get creative how to use him offensively (as a short-roll playmaker, in the dunker’s spot, etc.) early in his career. Castle’s size and physicality stands out even with a broken jumper, and if he ever fixes it, this could be one of the better players in this class.

Tier 3: Players with a pathway to success, but with more risk

12. Tyler Smith, F, G League Ignite: Smith was just about the only player on the Ignite who surpassed expectations this year. A 6’9 forward with a 7’1 wingspan, Smith is a classic stretch four whose biggest value will come from his shooting and spacing. He hit 36 percent of his threes on 161 attempts for the year. Smith also gets off the floor pretty quickly for a big man, and had 58 dunks as a powerful inside finisher. His ball handling is too limited to create off the dribble, and his defense is an adventure at this point. He’ll need to shoot it at a high level to return this type of a value, but he’s worth a chance as a tall, athletic marksman with deep range.

13. Kel’el Ware, C, Indiana: Ware is oozing with talent, and it’s something of a gift and a curse for him. At 6’11.75 barefoot with a 7’4.5 wingspan, Ware is a huge center with tantalizing athleticism and a nice shooting stroke. He has an easy translation as a rim roller who can slam home dunks on offense (he had 63 dunks this season) and block shots in drop coverage defensively. The upside here comes if Ware’s shot continues to develop after he hit 42 percent of his threes on low volume (40 attempts in 30 games) this year. So what’s the catch? Ware is so talented that he often leaves you wanting more. He’s long been a player said to have a low motor dating back to his freshman year Oregon, and there are times on tape when it feels like he could have grabbed a rebound or blocked a shot but didn’t. He’s not a plus passer, and isn’t someone who should be tasked with decision-making on offense. Ware’s combination of physical tools and shooting potential is still so rare that teams are going to be kicking themselves for passing on him if it all comes together.

16. Kyle Filipowski, C, Duke: Filipowski isn’t the biggest or most explosive center, but he has a case as the most skilled big in the class offensively. The Duke sophomore is a pick-and-pop threat who can also act as a passing hub in the halfcourt. He made 34.8 percent of his threes on 112 attempts this season, and finished with an impressive 18.4 percent assist rate. His defense is likely going to be a problem because he’s not very long (6’10.50’ wingspan) and he can’t really jump, but his playmaking and shot-making is valuable in a league always looking for stretch bigs.

18. Dalton Knecht, F, Tennessee: Knecht is the best story in the draft, emerging as a potential lottery pick after a winding journey that included two seasons of JUCO ball and two years at Northern Colorado before his superstar turn at Tennessee this past season. He has an easy translation to the NBA as an off-ball shooter and scorer who can stroke it from deep and attack the rim with some athleticism. I’m lower on Knecht because I’m highly skeptical of his defense, and can’t get over the fact that he turns 24 years old at the end of his rookie year. Still, a team that needs a wing with real shooting versatility and enough juice to finish above the rim when he gets a clear lane will probably take him much higher than this.

19. Zach Edey, C, Purdue: Read my big breakdown of Edey’s pro potential here. His unprecedented size, scoring touch, offensive rebounding, and motor gives him a sliver of star upside at this point in the draft. I just don’t know how he defends an opposing big who can shoot, or a speedy guard on a spaced floor. I’d have him higher if I felt better about him as a processor and passer.

Tier 4 bets

21. DaRon Holmes II, C/F, Dayton: Holmes was one of the very best players in college basketball as a junior for Dayton, unleashing a new dimension of his game by adding offensive skills on the perimeter. Holmes has always an impressive roll man, dunker’s spot finisher, and rim protector with the Flyers. This past season, he improved as a shooter (38.6 percent from three on 83 attempts), ball handler, and passer. Teams will wonder if Holmes is big enough to play the five in the NBA (he measured 6’8.75 barefoot with a 7’1 wingspan) or skilled enough to play the four. That might be overthinking it. He’s just a really good player with legit size who can find a way to make an impact regardless of his role.

25. Bub Carrington, G, Pittsburgh: Carington is a tall (6’3.75 barefoot with a 6’8 wingspan), extremely young (turns 19 a month after the draft) guard with an innate ability to take and make pull-up jumpers. He wasn’t always an efficient scorer (53 percent true shooting), but Carrington’s ability to create his own shot and cash difficult pull-ups is trait that defines star guards. It might take some time, but Carrington’s upside is worth betting on in a weak class.

26. Pacome Dadiet, F, Ulm (France): Dadiet is a super young French young (turns 19 in late July) with an intriguing combination of positional size, athleticism, and shooting touch. Measuring at 6’7.5 barefoot with a 6’9 wingspan, Dadiet hit 39 percent of his threes, a high percentage of two-pointers, and showed a good motor to get rebounds and steals. It might take a few years before he’s ready for the NBA, but the tools are there.

4 NBA Draft sleepers worth targeting

28. KJ Simpson, G, Colorado: Simpson was one of the best guards in college basketball by any measure as a junior for Colorado. He’s a quick and dynamic lead ball handler who can blow past his defender off the dribble, hit a tough floater or mid-range pull-up, or generate free throw attempts at the rim. Best of all, Simpson is a high-volume three-point sniper, hitting 43 percent of 181 attempts on the season. Simpson plays bigger than his size and posted impressive defensive rebound rates and steal rates this season. It’s hard to make it in the league as a guard who measured 6’0.25 barefoot, but Simpson is skilled enough to have a chance.

32. Jamal Shead, G, Houston: Shead an absolute menace defensively. The Houston senior consistently makes multiple efforts on possessions to get over screens, break up passing lanes, and press up on opposing ball handlers with tight, physical coverage. His 4.3 percent steal rate and 2 percent block rate this season are impressive numbers for a guard who measured 6-foot without shoes. Shead also took on the biggest offensive load of his career this season, and answered the challenge by becoming a fantastic college distributor and capable volume scorer. His jump shot and his size are major questions, but Shead’s motor and IQ are too impressive to bet against.

33. Adem Bona, C, UCLA: Bona is an explosive athlete with length who makes plays above the rim on both ends of the floor. The UCLA sophomore was a monster finisher at the rim this year (76 percent) by running the floor hard and getting off the ground quickly as a leaper. He posted the highest standing vertical leap at the combine (35 inches), and was among the top performers in max vertical (40 inches), too. Putting up those numbers at 243 pounds with a 7’3.5 wingspan is undeniably impressive. Bona is definitely short for an NBA center (6’8.5 barefoot) and he doesn’t have any perimeter skill offensively, but his length, strength, hustle, and elite leaping are worth consideration as an energy big off the bench.

37. N’Faly Dante, C, Oregon: Dante has the size and strength to fit on an NBA court as a play finisher right now. He measured at 6’ 10 barefoot with a 7’6 wingspan at 260 pounds. He made 69.5 percent of his field goals exclusively hammering home inside feeds created by his teammates. He has to play a relatively narrow role and will turn 23 years old at the start of the season, Dante’s tools, touch, and production shouldn’t be discounted.

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