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2024 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1 Picks & Predictions

2024 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1 Picks & Predictions

Playing in the NBA Finals and winning the championship is the goal of every team. But the two teams that make the Finals are at a disadvantage. Why? Every other team has already focused on making it to the NBA Finals and winning the Championship next year. Step one of the offseason includes reviewing our 2024 NBA Mock Draft projections and, of course, nailing the 2024 NBA Draft.

So, the teams in the Finals are behind.

The Atlanta Hawks had a 3% chance of getting the No. 1 pick. However, sometimes the NBA Draft lottery gods smile down upon a team and give them a gift. For the Hawks, the gift may be one of two Frenchmen, according to our 2024 NBA Mock Draft, forward Zaccharie Risacher or center Alexandre Sarr.

But as draft lovers know, it is not uncommon for teams to come up with a pick from the cheap seats that shocks us all. With that, let’s take a look at my first-round 2024 NBA mock draft.

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2024 NBA Mock Draft

1. Atlanta Hawks: Alexandre Sarr (C – France)

There are so many directions the Hawks could go. But one thing is clear, when you have the No. 1 pick in the draft, you take the best player available. Another Victor Wembanyama is not on the horizon. So Atlanta will likely go with Zaccharie Risacher or Alexandre Sarr.

There isn’t a definitive favorite amongst experts. Risacher may be the more athletic and versatile of the two. But I like the defensive presence a 7-foot-1 center can bring to a team in dire need of a better defense.

2. Washington Wizards: Zaccharie Risacher (F – France)

This pick is easy. The Wizards will take the Frenchman that the Hawks do not select. Since I think the Hawks will go with Sarr, Washington will take Zaccharie Risacher.

3. Houston Rockets (via BKN): Stephon Castle (G – Connecticut)

Houston has a relatively young roster of talented players returning. That could mean the team can afford to go with someone they don’t need to shove into the starting lineup immediately. A shooter like Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard would be a solid choice. But I think Stephon Castle is a better fit and could contribute immediately.

4. San Antonio Spurs: Reed Sheppard (G – Kentucky)

The Spurs took a big step forward with the selection of Victor Wembanyama last year. However, now they need to get their big man some help. They can use everything, which makes it hard for them to go wrong.

I like Reed Sheppard for the Spurs at No. 4. He can give the offense the injection of life it needs. Serbian guard Nikola Topic may tempt the Spurs. His injury history should scare them off.

5. Detroit Pistons: Matas Buzelis (F – G-League) 

A versatile defender, Matas Buzelis will give the Pistons someone who knows how to get creative when moving the ball around and has good instincts. However, if they expect a lot of scoring, they’ll be disappointed.

6. Charlotte Hornets: Nikola Topic (G – Serbia)

Nikola Topic’s knee issues will cause teams to pause, but the Hornets will not pass up the chance to add such a talented guard to the roster.

7. Portland Trail Blazers: Donovan Clingan (C – Connecticut)

The struggle is real in Portland as the rebuild continues. This roster is in good shape as far as guards are concerned, so I think they’ll look for some much-needed defensive help here.

8. San Antonio Spurs (via TOR): Rob Dillingham (G – Kentucky)

The Spurs need someone who can generate offense, and they will get that in Rob Dillingham. His lack of size may be a concern on the defensive end, but his impact on the offense will make up for it.

9. Memphis Grizzlies: Dalton Knecht (G – Tennessee)

How can the Grizzlies best help Ja Morant? Select another knockdown shooter that will force defenses to respond, resulting in more open looks for Morant.

10. Utah Jazz: Tidjane Salaun (F – France)

Tidjane Salaun’s versatile skill set and NBA-ready frame make him a welcome addition to any roster, but as icing on the cake, he turns 19 in August. In him, the Jazz could get someone who can be a cornerstone for the franchise for years to come.

11. Chicago Bulls: Cody Williams (G – Colorado)

Since it is not clear what the Bulls intend to do going forward, I feel like they may take the best player available at this point — someone who has a solid, well-rounded game and can contribute right away.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Devin Carter (G – Providence)

Devin Carter’s age would scare many teams away (22), but the Thunder will see a player with the frame and a skill set that can contribute immediately and help them get to the Finals next season.

13. Sacramento Kings: Ron Holland (F – G-League) 

Ron Holland will need some polishing, but his defensive versatility is something the Kings needed last season.

14. Portland Trail Blazers (via GS): KyShawn George (F – Miami)

Like with their first pick, the Trail Blazers will prioritize defense and take the big, strong defender from Miami.

15. Miami Heat: Ja’Kobe Walter (G – Baylor)

Although he is not a strong defensive player, the 19-year-old Ja’Kobe Walter is an electric playmaker with excellent footwork and a nice shot.

16. Philadelphia 76ers: Jared McCain (G – Duke)

A top-notch movement shooter who can be deadly from three-point range, Jared McCain adds an offensive playmaker that can give the 76ers some much-needed offense off the bench.

17. Los Angeles Lakers: Tristan da Silva (F – Colorado)

It isn’t easy for a rookie to step into a lineup and contribute immediately, but the 23-year-old Tristan da Silva can do that. With LeBron James not getting any younger, the Lakers need all the playmakers they can get.

18. Orlando Magic: Isaiah Collier (G – USC)

He didn’t do himself any favors in his only season in college, but that means Isaiah Collier could end up being the steal of the draft. Certain aspects of his game need work, so he may not see time immediately, but the talent is there. It just needs to be nurtured and developed.

19. Toronto Raptors (via IND): Kel’el Ware (C – Indiana)

It is almost surprising that a 7-foot-0 center with a 7-5 wingspan is available this deep in the draft. If he is, the Raptors will snatch Kel’el Ware up and add him to their group of talented young players.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers: Tyler Smith (F – G-League) 

With the potential for upheaval in Cleveland this offseason, the Cavs will go for an all-around good player. Tyler Smith’s length, shooting and mobility have the potential to make him an immediate asset for the Cavs.

21. New Orleans Pelicans (via MIL): Carlton Carrington (G – Pittsburgh)

Another team that could be in transition when the offseason gets underway, I expect the Pelicans to take the best playmaker on the board at this stage of the draft in Carlton Carrington. The young guard has a deadly pull-up jumper and has enough size to play point if needed.

22. Phoenix Suns: Baylor Scheierman (G – Creighton) 

In Baylor Scheierman, the Suns will get a guard with a deadly shot. He is a solid shooter, whether it’s off the catch or dribble that can stretch the court and create shots for other players. It shouldn’t take him too long to adjust to the NBA game.

23. Milwaukee Bucks (via NO): Zach Edey (C – Purdue) 

An absolute stud during his college career, there have been some concerns about Zach Edey’s fit in the NBA. But he’ll have a stellar tutor in Brook Lopez. It will take some time for him to develop, but he’ll be in a great situation where he’ll have time to do so.

24. New York Knicks (via DAL): Johnny Furphy (G – Kansas)

Jonny Furphy could add a few pounds to his 189-pound, 6-foot-8 frame. But if the Knicks intend to remain one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league next season, Furphy would be a great addition this late in the draft. As luck would have it, he’s a decent defensive player as well, but he’ll need to improve if he’s going to get more than a few minutes at a time.

25. New York Knicks: DaRon Holmes II (F – Dayton)

A little older and more mature than most rookies, DaRon Holmes has already developed enough that the Knicks could inject him into the rotation immediately. He’s solid off the roll, athletic and capable of popping out to three-point range to knock a clutch three-pointer down.

26. Washington Wizards (via LAC): Yves Missi (C – Baylor)

Yves Missi will give the Wizards a player who knows his role and is among the best at what he does. They will not have to worry about improving his poor shot because he will not pull up and try to hit a three (zero attempts last year at Baylor). But he’s one of the best rim-running bigs with a high motor that could help him get on the court sooner.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin McCullar Jr. (G/F – Kansas)

The Timberwolves already have a solid group of forwards in Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels and Karl-Anthony Towns. Adding Kevin McCullar to the roster will give them someone who can step in and contribute if one goes down.

28. Denver Nuggets: Jaylon Tyson (F – Cal)

The Nuggets learned the hard way during the playoffs that they need to improve their bench if they want to return to the NBA Finals. Jaylon Tyson can do that right away. His size, athleticism and jump shot are impressive, and he is one of the more coachable players in the draft.

29. Utah Jazz (via OKC): Kyle Filipowski (C – Duke)

At this stage in the draft, teams do not necessarily look to draft guys who can contribute right away. It’s ok to take someone with potential who needs the right coaching. Everyone loves a seven-footer who can play, and Kyle Filipowski has shown a lot of promise. However, he’ll need to get better across the board if he is going to contribute next season.

30. Boston Celtics: Bronny James (G – USC)

If there is a team that can afford to take on a prospect that needs a lot of work, it’s the Celtics. Their roster is already loaded and in championship shape, allowing them to take their time grooming Bronny James. If his dad happens to follow him for a season…

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