2024 NBA Mock Draft: Thunder load up on Kentucky stars; Bronny James goes to the Knicks

1 Matas Buzelis | SF | G League Ignite — In a class that lacks projected star power, Buzelis presents arguably the highest ceiling of anyone with a nearly 7-foot-tall frame to pack inside a small forward’s body. He’s what you’d have if you built a modern wing in a lab, and his inside-out game is polished beyond his years. 2 Ron Holland | SF | G League Ignite G League Ignite products go 1-2 in this mock as Holland, the No. 1 player in the 247Sports recruiting rankings and a former Texas commit, comes off the board for the Wizards here. The 6-8 combination forward brings a mix of power and explosiveness to the table and has a real chance to go No. 1 next summer. 3 Isaiah Collier | PG | USC With Orlando’s frontcourt all but solidified, pairing top-10 guard pick Anthony Black alongside another facilitator here with Collier looks to be the case. Collier was briefly the No. 1 player in the 2023 class before finishing No. 2. He should be the star attraction for a talented 2023 Trojans team. 4 Zaccharie Risacher | SF | JL Bourg — Risacher’s development seems to have slowed down a bit, and his steam to go No. 1 in 2024 has cooled as a result. But the French product has the physical tools and skills to still push for a top-five pick given the flashes he’s shown as a defender and shooter. 5 DJ Wagner | SG | Kentucky (plug acquired via trade with Houston) The son of Dajuan Wagner, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2002 draft, Wagner has a chance to be an even higher pick in the 2024 draft as he enters a potential one-and-done season at Kentucky. DJ is a combo guard who profiles more as a scorer than a facilitator, but his always-attacking mentality makes him an easy projection for the NBA. 6 Tyrese Proctor | PG | Duke (pick acquired via trade with Brooklyn) Proctor profiles as a potential breakout candidate in his sophomore year at Duke, where in 2022-23 he was one of the youngest players in college basketball after reclassification. He has a big frame and great playmaking skills that should be on full display in 2023-24 as he takes over as the primary facilitator for the Blue Devils. 7 Stephen Castle | PG | UConn — After drafting Victor Wembanyama No. 1 overall, this cycle the Spurs look to pair him with a promising guard prospect in Castle, someone who I think will emerge as a potential top-10 talent at this point next year. He’s more of a combo guard than a true lead guard, but his do-it-all ability with his 6-6 frame could be a nice building block next to Wemby in San Antonio. 8 Donovan Clingan | C| UConn — Clingan’s decision not to enter the 2023 draft process was among the more surprising developments of the cycle, as some in the scouting community saw him as a mid-to-late first-round pick. However, in a weaker 2024 draft, Clingan could parlay what is expected to be a breakout sophomore season into a top-10 selection in the draft. He’s an elite center prospect who should see a big role with Adama Sanogo moving on from UConn. 9 Cody Williams | SF | Colorado (pick acquired via trade with Toronto) The younger brother of OKC star Jalen Williams, Cody Williams is similar to his brother in that he is a long wing with good defensive upside and playmaking ability. Williams emerged as a top-25 player in his class bordering on a top-five ranked player, and his trajectory suggests he should be in the lottery. 10 Justin Edwards | SF | Kentucky — OKC goes back to drafting Kentucky products in the lottery, this time selecting Edwards after grabbing DJ Wagner earlier. Edwards is a big wing scorer who is a tenacious defender with great upside. 11 Thierry Darlan | SG | G League Ignite Yes, that’s right, another G League Ignite product is coming off the board in this lottery. Darlan is an NBA Academy product who had major offers from colleges but ultimately chose the G League Ignite to kick-start his pro career. 12 Aaron Bradshaw | C| Kentucky (pick acquired via trade with Utah) You want to get weird, OKC? Let’s get weird and pair a 7-footer in Chet Holmgren next to another 7-footer in Kentucky product Aaron Bradshaw. For those keeping track at home: that’s three UK players taken by OKC in this mock drill. 13 Bronny James | SG | USC (pick acquired via trade with Dallas) There are few more polarizing players in the 2024 class than James, son of LeBron James, but his feel for the game and unselfish style of play help to win basketball. He will be one of the most intriguing prospects to watch on a USC team that also features another five-star lottery talent in Isaiah Collier. 14 Ja’Kobe Walter | SG | Baylor — Baylor has made a habit of producing NBA talent lately under Scott Drew, and Walter figures to be next in line for the Bears. A top-10 talent in the 2023 recruiting class, he’s a power wing who can create and score, though his outside shot still needs improvement. 15 Kyle Filipowski | PF | duke — Filipowski is a former five-star recruit who surprisingly returned to school for a second season to build off a spectacular freshman campaign. After leading Duke in points and rebounds, he could be in line to play his way into the back half of the 2024 lottery. 16 Mackenzie Calculator | PF | Indiana — Few prospects in this class have the combination of size, scoring and physical maturity that Mgbako brings to the table. He should be a big producer right away in Indiana as he looks to help fill the production lost by Trayce Jackson-Davis in the frontcourt. 17 Ugonna Onyenso PF | Kentucky (selection acquired via trade with Los Angeles Clippers) OKC leans all the way into this mock draft and takes a fourth UK player in its fourth pick. Onyenso is a bit of a projection in this mock – he only played 6.9 minutes per game. game as a freshman at Kentucky – but behind the scenes, there is optimism that he could be in line for a big season with the Wildcats in an expanded role . He has ideal length and defensive instincts for a modern day. There is a clog in the frontcourt here in OKC, but this front office has always prioritized the best player over the best fit. 18 Omaha Biliew | PF | Iowa State — Biliew is a utility talent who has long been on the draft radar due to his physical stature and defensive tools. He will be at Iowa State next season, where the Cyclones could highlight him as an on-and-off ball threat who can score and attack as a combo forward. 19 Trey Alexander | PG | Creighton — Alexander tested the NBA Draft waters and showed well at the combine before returning to Creighton. With Ryan Nembhard off to Gonzaga, he could be in line to see an expanded role on the ball that showcases his do-it-all skills. 20 Also Bona | C| UCLA Bona suffered a burre injury late in the season for UCLA that likely hurt his 2023 draft prospects, but at full strength, the big man could play his way into the Round 1 picture. He was terrific as a freshman, where his defense immediately translated, leading him to finish top-20 nationally in block rate. 21 Dillon Mitchell | SF | Texas (pick acquired via trade with Sacramento) On a veteran Texas team last season, Mitchell played mostly in a part-time rotation role and didn’t make the impact some expected as a former five-star recruit. That could change this season. He tweaked his shot in the offseason and projects as a key piece for a 2023-24 Texas team that could challenge for the Big 12 crown. 22 Bobi Klintman | PF | NBL — Klintman was believed to be in the first-round mix this past draft cycle after a promising season at Wake Forest before decommitting to play in the Australian NBL. He’ll be 21 by the time of the next draft, but his tools as a combo forward and 3-point shooter will likely impress teams, even if his counting stats don’t jump off the page. 23 Kel’el Ware | C| Indiana — A one-season stint at Oregon didn’t work out for Ware after the McDonald’s All-American and former five-star didn’t live up to one-and-done expectations. A fresh start in Indiana could help him rebuild his options as he plays next to Mackenzie Mgbako and will likely step in as a starter right away. 24 Baba Miller | PF | Florida State — The draft community fell head over heels for Miller last season because of his 6-11 frame and combo-forward abilities, only to mostly flounder as a freshman averaging just 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in Florida State. I’m not ready to give up on him yet though. If he improves his feel and develops as a shooter, there’s a chance he’ll regain interest around the league. 25 Ryan Kalkbrenner | C| Creighton — Kalkbrenner is a two-time East Defensive Player of the Year winner who can defend at a high level and step up to hit shots beyond the arc. He was one of the most impactful bigs in college last season and could be in line for an All-American season with Creighton in 2023-24. 26 Elmarco Jackson | PG | Kansas (pick acquired via trade with Golden State) Freshman guards rarely get major runs at Kansas under Bill Self, but given the talent and roster construction for this upcoming season, Jackson could be an exception. Alongside Dajuan Harris and Arterio Morris, he could be in line to play a large portion of the minutes on a KU team that could (and should) contend for the Big 12 title again. 27 Alex Karaban | PF | UConn — After a redshirt season at UConn, Karaban was an unheralded, underrated – but nonetheless important – piece of UConn’s title team. The Huskies will be looking to reboot their roster after a magical run through March, and Karaban looks to be a big piece of that puzzle. 28 Dillon Jones | SF | Weber state — Jones averaged a double-double at Weber State last season and turned that into meaningful production at the NBA Draft Combine. He could be a sneaky All-American candidate next season in college hoops, where his always-hot motor could make him a first-round candidate in 2024. 29 Judah Mintz | PG | Syracuse — Mintz flashed big-time scoring ability as a freshman at Syracuse, where he averaged 16.3 points to lead all freshmen in the ACC. He’s not a flashy athlete, but he’s a nimble operator who can play and score from all three levels. 30 Zach Edey | C| Purdue — After Purdue bowed out early in the NCAA Tournament, the narrative — somewhat unfairly — surrounding Edey cast a negative light on his NBA prospects. But he attracted a lot of interest from NBA teams during the draft before ultimately deciding to return to school. He will be the favorite to repeat as National Player of the Year next season and could enter Round 1 at this time next year.

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