Instant grades on every 2024 NBA Draft pick

The 2024 NBA Draft is hardly the most anticipated in league history, but it’s important to remember that even weak drafts have plenty of good players. Take 2013, for instance: Anthony Bennett was an all-time bust at No. 1 overall, but there was a future two-time league MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo and four-time Defensive Player of the Year in Rudy Gobert taken outside of the lottery.

What makes this draft a fun and challenging evaluation is that there’s no consensus top player available. I’ve seen more than 10 players be listed as No. 1 overall on various boards. We won’t really know how this draft shakes out for at least five years, but that won’t stop us from assigning instant grades for 2024 draft picks as they happen.

These grades will mostly be based on my final top-60 big board for this draft class, but will also consider team fit and value based on consensus mocks. The fireworks have already started in the NBA with the Knicks’ bold trade for Mikal Bridges, the Trail Blazers’ deal for Deni Avdija, and the fascinating pick swap between the Rockets and Nets.

Let’s grade every first round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

1. Atlanta Hawks – Zaccharie Risacher, F, France

Grade: B-

Risacher looks nothing like a typical No. 1 overall pick. He doesn’t create much with the ball in his hands, doesn’t have takeover scoring ability, and isn’t an elite athlete. The main appeal of Risacher is his combination of size and shooting. At 6’9, he knocked down 39 percent of his threes while playing a big role at a young age in the top French pro league. His defense looked good, particularly when smothering smaller guards with his length, but he’ll have to bulk up to be a true wing stopper. Risacher is a high floor pick who can fit into team structure, and there’s value in that in a weak draft. I didn’t view him as one of the top talents available because of his lack of creation ability, but he’s still the type of player ever team wants as the wing complementing their stars.

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

Grade: A

Sarr is a super athletic big man with a terrifying combination of length and mobility. At 7’1 with a 7’4+ wingspan, Sarr projects as a switchable defender who can also put on a lid on the rim as a shot blocker. Sarr’s offensive impact is less certain, but he’s shown some tantilizing flashes as a shooter and ball handler in the open floor. Sarr will need to learn to play with more force around the rim to reach his ceiling as a play finisher. His physical tools give him a tremendous long-term ceiling, and he’ll get every opportunity to push the boundaries of his game on a rebuilding Wizards team.

3. Houston Rockets – Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

Grade: A

Sheppard might be the best shooter in the draft after hitting 52 percent of his threes as a freshman at Kentucky. He has incredibly strong hands defensively, able to rip the ball away from opponents with steals and blocks. Sheppard is only an average athlete and he’s very small — measuring under 6’2 barefoot with a 6’3 wingspan — but he found a perfect landing place in Houston. Sheppard can space the floor for Amen Thompson and Alperen Sengun, and help players like Jalen Green, Tari Eason, and Cam Whitmore get out in transition. This is a great fit for the player and team.

4. San Antonio Spurs – Stephon Castle, G, UConn

Grade: B+

Castle isn’t a traditional point guard, and he struggles to shoot from the perimeter, but there is still so much to like about his game. He’s one of the best perimeter defenders in this class, using his strong 6’6 frame to matchup with bigger wings and his quickness to blanket smaller guards. He’s such a physical player on both ends of the floor, fighting for loose balls, hitting the glass, and finishing through contact at the rim. San Antonio’s defensive potential with Castle and Wembanyama will be through the roof, but the Spurs will need to find some shooting and playmaking soon.

5. Detroit Pistons – Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite

Grade: A

A year ago, Holland was the leading candidate to go No. 1 overall. A week ago, he was supposed to slip out of the lottery. Holland struggled with his efficiency as a member of the G League Ignite, but he still scored nearly 20 points per game and showed impressive rebounding and better playmaking than expected. He can’t shoot at all from the outside, and that makes him an especially strange pick for the Pistons. Detroit drafted another super athletic wing who can’t shoot last year in Ausar Thompson. The Pistons have badly needed spacing around Cade Cunningham, and they keep going the other way, although it’s worth noting that the team has a brand new front office led by Trajan Langdon. Still, I believe Holland is one of the best players in this draft for his athleticism, slashing, transition scoring, and defensive motor. Playing hard is a skill, and no one plays harder in this class than Holland. Weird fit, but the player is undeniably talented. Read my feature on Holland here.

6. Charlotte Hornets – Tidjane Salaun, F, Cholet (France)

Grade: B-

It’s easy to see why the Hornets find the long-term potential of Salaun appealing. He’s a huge forward with a strong frame who has a projectable three-point shot on spot-ups. He can be a more physical forward next to Brandon Miller, and still help space the floor for LaMelo Ball. The issue is that Salaun is the youngest first round pick in this draft. As his skill level develops, he’ll have to be an energy player off the bench who can grab rebounds and make plays defensively. He may be a few years away from making a real impact, but his ceiling is there.

7. Portland Trail Blazers – Donovan Clingan, C, UConn

Grade: A

Clingan was in the mix to go No. 1 overall, so this is a great value for Portland at No. 7. Clingan will be one of the tallest, longest, and heaviest players in the NBA from the minute he plays his first game. He has an easy NBA translation as a rim protector on defense, and could evenetually become one of the NBA’s best shot blockers. Clingan seemed a little quicker last season than he was as a freshman, but he’s still mostly a drop coverage big man. Offensively, the 7’2 center doesn’t shoot from the outside and is limited as a run-and-jump athlete, but he’s a very good passer who should help set up Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe for scoring opportunities. Clingan was super productive at the college level while winning back-to-back national championships at UConn.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top