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Don’t Call The 2024 NBA Draft Weak

Stephon Castle and Donovan Clingan are projected top-ten picks in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Over the past season when discussing the 2024 NBA Draft the word weak has frequently been used. However, this is an unfair conclusion for several reasons. One week away from draft day let’s examine what makes this draft underrated and quite solid overall.

Don’t Call The 2024 NBA Draft Weak

No True Star

One of the major pieces of criticism against this draft has been the lack of a clear star. This is partly true as this draft doesn’t feature a clear top prospect like Victor Wembanyama in 2023 or Zion Williamson in 2019. One week away from draft day Zaccharie Risacher, Alex Sarr, and Donovan Clingan are all in the mix for the top pick. All these players are seen as relatively safe prospects without superstar upside. Sarr has the most potential out of this group but it hinges on his offense catching up to his elite defense. Outside of the projected top three the lottery features several players with star upside.

High Upside Players Throughout The Draft

Rob Dillingham‘s combination of elite shot creation and playmaking gives plenty of upside. Stephon Castle and Nikola Topic are big guards who could be true stars if their jump shoots develop. Especially Castle with his defensive prowess. Dillingham’s teammate Reed Sheppard is a well-rounded guard with prolific three-point shooting. While not many are considering it, Sheppard’s combination of shooting, playmaking, perimeter defense, and 42-inch vertical gives him a chance at stardom.

Matas Buzelis is a well-rounded forward who could have been the No. 1 pick if it weren’t for a shaky shooting season in the G League. If Buzelis’ all-around game translates and his shooting improves he has a strong chance to become a star. Cody Williams offers plenty of intrigue as an elite wing defender with three-point shooting upside.

Ron Holland has tons of potential he can expand his offensive game and especially figure out his jumper. Freshmen guards such as Isaiah Collier, Kyshawn George, and Carlton Carrington offer upside in the late lottery to mid-first-round range. Additionally, the talent of international talents throughout the draft such as Tidjane Salaun, Nikola Djurisic, and Pacome Dadiet can not be ignored. 

The list of players with high upside can go on. While each top prospect has clear weaknesses the potential is still there for several of them to blossom into stars. Ultimately it’s fair to say there is no clear star however, it’s unfair to say there is no player with star upside.

Elite Role Players 

We’ve seen the importance of role players countless times, especially in recent years. Furthermore, the NBA’s new CBA incentivizes teams to build around fewer stars increasing the value of role players. This draft is filled with high-floor prospects who project to be excellent role players. The flip side of “low upside” prospects is most of these players have high floors and can make an immediate impact. Sure, this draft isn’t ideal for teams such as the Wizards who are looking for a franchise cornerstone. But for teams that already have an established core and are looking for another piece, it’s perfect. 


Many top lottery teams fall into this category including the Hawks, Rockets, Spurs, and Pistons. Many projected lottery picks are either specialists or jack-of-trade-type players. Sarr, Clingan, and Williams are defensive specialists. Yves Missi, Kel’el Ware, and Ryan Dunn offer high-level defense later in the draft. Risacher, Knecht, and Jared McCain are shooting specialists. Dillingham is a scoring specialist.

Well-rounded Talents

Castle, Sheppard, Topic, and Carter are all well-rounded guards with different selling points. For Castle and Carter, it’s their defense. Sheppard is known for his shooting and Topic for his passing. Crucially, this combination allows for both a high floor and a high ceiling. That’s another part that gets lost about this draft: there are several elite guards. The four guards mentioned along with Dillingham and McCain are all potential lottery picks; their skill sets offer some of the best value and upside of the draft.

Circling back to well-rounded players Buzelis and Holland are do-it-all forwards. However, neither has a clear selling point. Similar players later in this draft include Jaylon Tyson, Tristan Da Silva, DaRon Holmes, and Ja’Kobe Walter. The 2024 draft is littered with players ready to make an immediate impact. Tyler KolekTerrence Shannon, Harrison Ingram, Zach Edey, and Baylor Scheierman are seasoned college players who can make an impact from day one.  Sure, it doesn’t feature a clear star but its depth is a massive plus. 

There’s No Such a Thing as a Bad Draft

Some classes are certainly more star power or better depth. Ultimately though, there’s no such thing as a bad draft. Every draft class in league history has produced at least one All-Star. With the average number being 5.4 All-Stars per draft and the fewest being three over the past 20 years. Those two drafts are the 2019 draft and the 2013 neither draft is widely discussed today as weak.

Both drafts highlight different things that crucially relate to the 2024 draft. 2019 shows us that even when there is a consensus No.1 pick it doesn’t guarantee that the class will be an all-time great one. The 2013 draft has garnered several comparisons to the 2024 draft mostly due to both classes not having a clear top pick. This draft class didn’t have a ton of stars at the top but produced two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and four-time DPOY Rudy Gobert later in the draft.

With the depth of this year’s draft, a future MVP or DPOY outside of the lottery can not be ruled out. Furthermore, this year’s draft offers safer talent at the top than 2013 did. This ideal combination may lead to future stars at various parts of the draft. Ultimately nothing is guaranteed in this year’s draft that’s the case with many drafts throughout history in the end they always produce some stars and this year’s class will be no different. 


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