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2024 NBA Mock Draft: Final projections

Julian Catalfo / theScore

With the new two-day draft set to kick off Wednesday, we look at how we expect Day 1's first round to play out.

Sarr makes the most sense out of all the players connected to Atlanta. The 7-footer's shot-blocking and mobility on the perimeter would be a welcome addition to the defensively inept Hawks. While Sarr's offensive game is currently limited, his potential as a rim-runner meshes well with Trae Young and the team's up-tempo system. If his jumper can develop into a weapon, Sarr could be Atlanta's long-term solution at the five or act as a stretch-four alongside Clint Capela or Onyeka Okongwu.

Risacher has intriguing tools that should be invaluable for a Wizards team lacking talent at every position. The JL Bourg wing combines a fluid 6-foot-9 frame with flashes of knock-down shooting and shotmaking. The winner of the EuroCup's Rising Star award, Risacher impresses most in the open floor, where he can grab and go off defensive rebounds. An improved handle will unlock his athletic tools.

At 6-foot-9 with elite speed and burgeoning on-ball skills, Buzelis is a consistent 3-point jumper away from being one of the most well-rounded prospects in the draft. The Rockets may trade this pick with so many recent first-rounders under contract already, but Buzelis represents a slightly different style of player than the rest of Houston's young guns.

The Spurs landed the centerpiece of their rebuild in Victor Wembanyama last season. Now, they must surround the French phenom with the right pieces. Castle is one of the more well-rounded prospects available and has been linked to San Antonio. His excellent size, on-ball defense, and secondary playmaking will boost a club looking to improve on both ends of the floor. Castle's versatility also gives the front office more flexibility with its roster construction.

The Pistons already have several interesting prospects, all of whom would benefit greatly from improved spacing. Detroit was abysmal from three last season, shooting 34.9% from downtown. Sheppard was a historically good shooter in his freshman year, knocking down 52.1% of his 3-pointers. Despite his height, Sheppard can be a disruptor on the defensive end, racking up 23 blocked shots in his lone season, an absurd number for someone measured at 6-foot-1 at the NBA combine.

Few players in the draft have an offensive profile as diverse as Knecht's. He's an elite off-ball shooter and vastly improved his off-the-dribble scoring package as the clear lead option on a great Tennessee team. While Knecht isn't an outstanding defender, his 6-foot-9 wingspan will allow him to guard up a position, depending on the matchup. He'll help space the floor for a Hornets squad welcoming back LaMelo Ball into the fold.

The presence of Deandre Ayton and the oft-injured Robert Williams shouldn't stop the Blazers from taking Clingan. The UConn product has the potential to anchor an NBA defense for years to come with his massive size and length. He's shown great touch around the rim while flashing some playmaking ability. Portland allowed opponents to make a league-high 68% of their shots within five feet of the basket last season.

At nearly 6-foot-6, Topic puts constant pressure on the rim with his change of pace and craftiness. He's one of the most gifted passers in this class and would immediately unlock Wembanyama on offense. Although inconsistent, Topic's jumper is good enough to be a threat. His partially torn ACL should scare enough teams away that the Serbian will be available at No. 8.

A productive yet inefficient player for the now-defunct G League Ignite, Holland's prospects became muddied after he entered as ESPN's No. 2 high school prospect last summer. Holland's an undersized four-man without a consistent jumper, but his elite motor, top-tier athleticism, and impressive ball skills make him a prime candidate to outplay his draft spot if he hits threes in the future.

Following Keyonte George's promising rookie campaign, the Jazz may invest another first-round pick on a Baylor player. Walter's 3-and-D skill set should help a Utah squad that finished 22nd in 3-point percentage and 30th in defensive efficiency last season. Walter certainly has an opportunity to carve out a role, especially with the team lacking a true perimeter stopper.

Williams is a 6-foot-7 wing with a 7-foot-1 wingspan who should finally give the Bulls the 3-and-D they've been looking to add for years. The younger brother of Oklahoma City's Jaylen Williams, Cody shot 41.5% in his lone season at Colorado. An ankle injury hampered him throughout the year, but Williams can get to the rim and create for himself or others when healthy.

Pause if you've heard this before: Thunder general manager Sam Presti takes a chance on a young, raw prospect with elite length and physical tools. That would be the case if OKC takes Salaun, one of the youngest players in the draft whose 9-foot-2 wingspan matches Sarr's. He also hit more 3-pointers in the French league than projected No. 2 pick Risacher. Salaun oozes potential as a prototypical 3-and-D wing.

Despite retaining Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Malik Monk, the Kings could still use a dynamic offensive threat in Dillingham to vault them back to their 2022-23 scoring tally. The former five-star recruit shined in a reserve role for Kentucky, finishing in the SEC's top 10 in both points (15.2 per game) and assists (3.9) last season. Dillingham's elite shot-creating ability and burst off the bounce should translate well at the next level.

Da Silva is the Swiss Army knife type who makes winning plays on both ends. He isn't the flashiest player, but he's a smart cutter who can guard multiple positions, rebound out of his area, hit open shots, and make good passes. Portland has a ton of young scorers who don't do the little things that contribute to winning - da Silva can be that guy.

In a draft perceived as weaker than most, it seems surprising that a former No. 1 high school prospect who averaged 16.3 points and 4.3 assists on 49% shooting in his lone collegiate season would fall out of the lottery. And yet, Collier's shaky campaign from long range and turnover problems on an underwhelming USC squad raised questions about whether he can be a productive team player. If any club can fully unlock his potential, it's the Heat.

Surrounding Joel Embiid with enough outside shooting has been a problem for years. Philadelphia has just one top-10 finish for threes made since his rookie campaign. McCain drained over 40% of his attempts from deep last season. He also drilled eight triples in the Round of 32 versus James Madison, breaking a Duke freshman record for threes in an NCAA Tournament game.

The two-time National Player of the Year averaged an astonishing 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks in his final year with Purdue. The Canadian is also the best screen-setter in this draft class, an extremely valuable skill when paired with one of the best downhill drivers of all time: LeBron James. How Edey deals with defenders in space will determine his future at the next level.

Filipowski spurned the NBA following a solid freshman season at Duke before breaking out in his second campaign to earn an All-American bid. At 6-foot-11 with a real jumper, ball skills, and rim protection, Filipowski is the ideal candidate as a stretch-five. With Orlando trotting out a high-usage forward in Paolo Banchero, Filipowski's spacing will allow for much cleaner offensive sets when he's out there.

Toronto needs better floor spacing around Scottie Barnes. The Raptors have finished each of the last three seasons in the NBA's bottom five for 3-point percentage. George knocked down 40.8% of his triples during his only collegiate season, and he boasts the size and length the club's front office has previously coveted in its wing players.

If the Cavaliers want to move forward with the duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, they'll need to unearth some shooting at the wing position. At a shade under 6-foot-8, Furphy is a fluid athlete who's shown some ability from deep, knocking down 35% from three in his lone season at Kansas. Ultimately, Furphy is a project, but he's one of the most intriguing prospects still left in the draft due to his size, fluidity, and shooting.

Missi is a limited player without much shooting or passing skill. Still, his excellent mobility and leaping ability make him a prime candidate to be a lob threat at the next level. With star Zion Williamson improving his passing, the pair could become a great high-low duo, while Missi's length could help New Orleans' suspect interior defense.

The Suns felt Chris Paul's absence last season with no true point guard running the offense. Kolek won't start from Day 1, but he's arguably the best pass-first guard in this year's class. The Marquette product should contribute immediately as a clinical playmaker out of the pick-and-roll and be a capable 3-point shooter when playing off the ball.

The scrappy guard out of Providence is the prototype the Bucks want playing next to Damian Lillard. Measuring at 6-foot-2 but with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, Carter is an aggressive point-of-attack defender who should be able to handle bigger players on defense. The Friars asked Carter to carry the load offensively for a team that often struggled on that end. In Milwaukee, his 37% 3-point shooting will get him early minutes.

Ware dominated the combine's athletic testing and measured 7-foot with a 7-foot-5 wingspan. The Knicks love to value size and offensive rebounding in their big men. With Isaiah Hartenstein potentially leaving in free agency following a breakout postseason, Ware could be the next athletically gifted big to suit up at Madison Square Garden.

New York can afford to take a swing on Carrington's upside with its extra first-round pick. The 18-year-old has elite size at the point and shotmaking ability. Carrington's improvement as a playmaker and defender throughout his freshman year bodes well and could pay dividends down the line for the Knicks. In the meantime, his instant offense should bolster a second unit that tied for 27th in scoring last season.

Given their dearth of talent, the Wizards might as well take a couple of swings in this draft. Klintman had an up-and-down season while playing for Cairns in Australia's NBL. He often showed his youth by driving into traffic and having careless turnovers, which is why he recorded twice as many turnovers as assists last campaign. That said, there aren't many 6-foot-9 athletes who've shown his sort of shooting touch from deep.

Though his superb outside stroke with unlimited range is his greatest strength, Scheierman's underrated rebounding and passing make him one of the premier offensive options at the end of the first round. He'd be able to space the floor next to Anthony Edwards in Minnesota, and the team's excellent defensive unit can help hide his lack of speed and length on that end.

The Nuggets' bench was a weakness during the regular season and ranked second-last in postseason production (14.8 points per game). Holmes led the A-10 with 20.4 points per contest last campaign, showcasing an improved outside stroke and finishing ability above the rim. The Dayton standout fills a need in Denver's frontcourt, and his versatility gives the club some lineup flexibility.

It took a couple of years, but Ingram showed why he was such a highly sought-after recruit out of high school after transferring to UNC. Standing at 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan and 233-pound frame, Ingram's a physical specimen who averaged 8.8 rebounds a game last season despite playing next to Armando Bacot. He has the prototypical 3-and-D player profile that NBA teams always look for. The caveat is Ingram only shot the ball well in one of his three collegiate campaigns.

What does Boston need after winning the NBA title with one of the most dominant playoff runs in recent seasons? Why not someone who embodies the Celtics' identity of prioritizing "do-it-all" players? Case in point, Tyson was one of two power conference players to average at least 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while hitting 50 threes this season, joining projected No. 23 pick Carter.

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