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How Bad Is The 2024 NBA Draft Class?

There’s been much talk of the 2024 NBA draft class being one of the worst we’ve seen in recent memory. Granted, always remember that none of these athletes have even gotten the chance to step on an NBA floor. Yet, there still seems to be a consensus on the issue of this class’s inherent ‘weakness.’

The main reason for this lies within questions about this draft that most people are used to having answered at this point in the cycle. If not answered, people are at least used to being more certain of prospects’ draft range and abilities.

Honestly, how someone feels about this class may come down to whether they think their team needs to draft a superstar.

How Bad Is The 2024 NBA Draft Class

No True No.1:

As hinted at, the main issue personnel have with the 2024 draft class lies at the top of the board. To date, there’s probably been a legitimate five to seven different guys in consideration for the number one pick. We’re ten games into college basketball, and the race for number one is still wide open.

Of course, this issue becomes highlighted even more through the lens of recent top picks. The three previous number-one picks were Victor Wembanyama, Paolo Banchero, and Cade Cunningham. All three are considered franchise cornerstones even this early in their careers.

The top players in the 2024 draft class don’t seem to have that same upside. Currently, the big names in contention for number one are Alex Sarr, Ron Holland, and Nikola Topic. With the volatility of this class, there are other names in the conversation, but those are the current three. It seems fair to say at this point though that all players wouldn’t have been in contention for even a top-three pick in the previous classes mentioned. Some would argue not even a top-five pick.

An opinion can be had, however, that the success of previous drafts alleviates the concern for the 2024 draft class. As mentioned, Cunningham and Wembanyama are already considered to be franchise cornerstones for the Pistons and Spurs respectively. With those cornerstones in place, the pressure for the top prospects in the 2024 draft class to become superstars should be considerably less. If they can just complement the current roster’s players at a high level, they may prove to be a valuable pick no matter how high they’re drafted.

2013 All Over Again

This lack of a seemingly franchise-altering player however has made for comparisons to the dreaded 2013 NBA draft class. This class featured what most people historically consider to be the worst number-one pick of all time in Anthony Bennett. Only three players in that entire class have currently made an All-Star team. Even with this historically bleak draft class though, time and development still gave the NBA some great players.

This thought is of course highlighted by the 15th pick, superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Don’t forget though that even Antetokounmpo was very much considered a developmental prospect at the time of the draft. Granted, it’s unfair to expect anyone in the 2024 draft class to be Giannis, but there are other solid players from the class to look at as well. Rudy Gobert, CJ McCollum, Victor Oladipo, Dennis Schroder, Steven Adams, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Tim Hardaway Jr. have all enjoyed good careers.

The value in these prominent role players may actually be where this class shines. The 2024 draft class seems well-suited to producing a ton of valuable role players. While there may not be franchise-altering talent at the top, this doesn’t mean the class can’t be considered deep.

Talents such as Ryan Dunn and Donovan Clingan perfectly exemplify this archetype of an easily projected role player. They may not be top-five picks due to a lack of upside, but teams will still want them because they have an easily defined path to success. Even high-upside prospects like Sarr and Topic have a baseline, translatable traits you feel some certainty betting on. Sarr’s being his defensive ability as a rim-protector, and Topic’s being his paint pressure and playmaking. When looked at through this ‘role-centric’ focus, the 2024 draft class seems a lot brighter.

Final Thoughts:

To summarize, this class is not void of talent as some would lead you to believe. There may not be the glamorous high-end talent similar to a Wembanyama, but there are good players who should make a positive impact on the teams that draft them. In a league where even the worst teams now have stars, a class comprised of more role-centric players could be just what teams need. This can be true even at the very top of the draft board.


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