Home » NBA Mock Draft 2024: Predicting where Dalton Knecht, Zach Edey, other March Madness stars will go | Sporting News United Kingdom

NBA Mock Draft 2024: Predicting where Dalton Knecht, Zach Edey, other March Madness stars will go | Sporting News United Kingdom

March Madness is here.

As the NBA season winds down and teams at the bottom of the standings look toward the future, the NCAA Tournament offers college basketball’s largest platform for prospects to perform.

The 2024 NBA Draft class might not have a crown jewel like Victor Wembanyama, but there are plenty of intriguing players worth monitoring over the next two weeks.

Even though top prospects like Alexandre Sarr (Australia), Zaccharie Risacher (France), Nikola Topic (Serbia), Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis (G League Ignite) will not participate in the madness, that shouldn’t deter NBA fans from tuning in.

Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard have become must-see-TV. Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht is as NBA-ready as any player in this class, making a massive impact after landing in Knoxville via the transfer portal. Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter will put his prolific shooting on display. UConn’s Stephon Castle and Donovan Clingan will look to boost their draft stock while trying to lead the Huskies to back-to-back national championships. And that’s just to name a few.

As the next big tentpole event of the draft cycle tips off, The Sporting News has you covered with an updated 2024 NBA Mock Draft below.

MORE 2024 NBA DRAFT: Top 60 big board | Best prospects in March Madness

NBA Mock Draft 2024

1. Wizards: Alexandre Sarr, Perth (Australia)

Age: 18

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-0, 216 lbs.

The Wizards own the worst defense in the NBA and could use an anchor in the middle. Sarr is the perfect fit to give Washington a high-energy rim protector. The 7-foot center is a long, athletic and powerful shot-blocking big with budding offensive skills who held his own playing professionally in Australia’s NBL overseas.

2. Pistons: Zaccharie Risacher, JL Bourg (France)

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 210 lbs.

The Pistons are building a promising young core that features Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson and Jalen Duren. The only thing missing is an offensive-minded wing, and Risacher fits that bill. The French sharpshooter is scorching the net for JL Bourg this season, knocking down 46.1 percent of his 3s in the same league that Wembanyama played in last year.

3. Spurs: Nikola Topic, Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)

Age: 18

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 201 lbs.

It’s no secret that the Spurs need a proper playmaker to create easier looks for Wembanyama. Topic is the best pure point guard in this class as a 6-5 pick-and-roll maestro. He doesn’t offer the perimeter shooting needed to space the floor for Wembanyama, but San Antonio will be hard-pressed to pass on a floor general with professional experience like Topic.

4. Hornets: Reed Sheppard, Kentucky

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-3, 187 lbs.

Sheppard has become a draft darling as one of the most reliable two-way players in the country. As the Hornets look to expand their core around LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller and Mark Williams, Sheppard offers the perfect blend of ball-handling, playmaking, perimeter shooting and hard-nosed defense to give Charlotte another building block in its backcourt.

5. Trail Blazers: Ron Holland, G League Ignite

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 206 lbs.

The Trail Blazers should look to add a two-way forward to their rebuilding core of Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons and Deandre Ayton. Holland brings the versatility Portland needs to both sides of the ball as a relentless defender and growing scorer with unlimited energy. He is one of the best defenders in this class and averaged 20.6 points for the Ignite even without a reliable jump shot or polished shot-creation skills.

6. Grizzlies: Cody Williams, Colorado

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 190 lbs.

The Grizzlies were mauled by injuries during the 2023-24 season. The silver lining is that after finishing No. 2 in the West last season, Memphis now has a top-10 pick to continue to put talent around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane.

Williams, the brother of Thunder star Jalen Williams, would be a great fit with that young core as a long, versatile and athletic wing who can defend at a high level, rebound and score off the ball. Going to a team like the Grizzlies would give Williams the time necessary to develop his offensive game.

7. Spurs (via TOR): Rob Dillingham, Kentucky

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-3, 176 lbs.

In this scenario, the Spurs filled their biggest void in a trusty floor general by taking Topic second. If they’re lucky enough to convey the Raptors’ top-six protected first-rounder, San Antonio should take Dillingham, the most dangerous scorer in this class.

The Kentucky star freshman is a gifted shot creator, confident shooter and tough-shot maker. Wembanyama would appreciate the attention Dillingham draws from opposing defenses.

8. Rockets (via BKN): Dalton Knecht, Tennessee

Age: 22, Senior

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-6, 213 lbs.

The Rockets made it clear they want to contend sooner rather than later. Knecht fits their timeline as a 22-year-old sharpshooting senior with an NBA-ready frame and skill set. Knecht established himself as one of the nation’s most consistent three-level scorers, averaging 21.1 points per game on 39.7 percent shooting from 3.

9. Jazz: Matas Buzelis, G League Ignite

Age: 19

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-10, 209 lbs.

The Jazz are retooling their roster with high-upside pieces, and Buzelis falls in line with that mold. The 6-10 forward is a versatile floor spacer who has shown improvement on the defensive end in his lone season with the Ignite.

Still a work-in-progress, Buzelis would benefit from learning under a similar archetype like All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen.

10. Hawks: Isaiah Collier, USC

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 210 lbs.

The Hawks could be heading toward a rebuild that might involve trading Trae Young and/or Dejounte Murray. In which case, why not target some guard insurance, bringing Collier, a Georgia native, home to Atlanta?

A hand injury derailed the USC star’s freshman season but he still showed flashes as to why he was the No. 1 recruit in the country. Built like a running back, Collier is a bulldozer when he gets downhill to the rim. He’s consistently improved as a passer and defender, and he’ll be a well-rounded threat if he can develop his jump shot.

UConn's Donovan Clingan

11. Thunder (via HOU): Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-5, 195 lbs.

The Thunder are ahead of schedule but don’t expect that to alter their draft approach. They could target a backup big behind Chet Holmgren with this pick, but Walter also fits a need as a prolific scoring perimeter shooter. He only hit 34.0 percent of his 3s this season but the potential is there to space the floor for Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams. 

12. Bulls: Tidjane Salaun, Cholet (France)

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-9, 212 lbs.

The Bulls face a tough decision this offseason, stuck between competing and rebuilding. Selecting Salaun would be a step toward the latter as a long-term project.

The French forward is a versatile defender who would give Chicago much-needed athletic size and length in its frontcourt. He has shown promise as a perimeter shooter and can do damage as a scorer off of cuts, but he needs to improve as a shot-creator.

13. Trail Blazers (via GS): Stephon Castle, UConn

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-6, 215 lbs.

The Trail Blazers took a two-way forward in Holland at No. 5. Now, they’ll go with a two-way guard in Castle with their second lottery pick.

Henderson and Simons are both only 6-3, leaving Portland with a need for a bigger perimeter defender in its backcourt. Castle, 6-6, is a big guard who defends at a high level, can score at the rim off the dribble and playmake for others. If he irons out his jump shot, he has the potential to be the best guard in this class.

14. Pelicans (via LAL): Donovan Clingan, UConn

Age: 20, Sophomore

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-2, 280 lbs.

Pelicans starting center Jonas Valanciunas will be 32 soon and his production is starting to slow down. New Orleans could use a younger defensive anchor to grow with its core, and Clingan is a perfect fit.

The UConn center is a massive presence at 7-2, 280 lbs. with a reported 7-7 wingspan. He’s a great shot blocker and rebounder, and he’d be reunited with his national champion teammate, Jordan Hawkins, with the Pelicans. 

15. Heat: Kyshawn George, Miami

Age: 20, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-8, 205 lbs.

Trying to guess the most “Heat Culture” prospect in each draft class has become a fun exercise. Last year, Miami selected Jaime Jaquez Jr., and he proved to be a great fit. This year, that player might be right in its backyard with the University of Miami’s George. 

The freshman needs time to develop his game but projects as a high-upside big guard who can defend multiple positions, create his own shot and offer some ball-handling depth.

Kyle Filipowski and Jared McCain

16. 76ers: Jared McCain, Duke

Age: 20, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-3, 197 lbs.

The 76ers are trying to maximize their championship window around Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. Even though McCain is a 20-year-old freshman, he plays with poise and confidence that is beyond his age. He’s a connective playmaker with a 3-and-D skill set that should seamlessly translate to the NBA.

17. Raptors (via IND): Devin Carter, Providence

Age: 21, Junior

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-3, 195 lbs.

The Raptors lack guard depth. Carter is the type of defender, pick-and-roll ball-handler and competitor who fits Toronto’s culture.

The 2023-24 Big East Player of the Year was extremely productive this season, averaging 19.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He isn’t quick or shifty and there are questions about his jumper, but you can’t knock the heart he plays with.

18. Knicks (via DAL): Kevin McCullar, Kansas

Age: 23, Senior

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-7, 212 lbs.

The Knicks are looking to win now, and McCullar offers an older jack-of-all-trades-type prospect who would thrive under head coach Tom Thibodeau. He’s a versatile defender, as well as a trusty ball-handler and playmaker.

McCullar isn’t a reliable shooter but he has plug-and-play skills that should translate to the NBA.

19. Suns: Kyle Filipowski, Duke

Age: 20, Sophomore

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 7-0, 248 lbs.

The Suns need to put more talent around Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. Filipowski falling this far would be a gift for Phoenix. The Duke sophomore is a floor-stretching big man who can pick and pop, score with his back to the basket, crash the glass with an attitude and protect the paint on defense. 

Johnny Furphy

20. Magic: Johnny Furphy, Kansas

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-9, 202 lbs.

The Magic have built a roster with long, versatile forwards and wings who can score and defend multiple positions. Furphy would continue that trend while providing much-needed perimeter shooting. The Kansas freshman emerged as an NBA prospect this season but will need time to develop before making an impact at the next level.

21. Hawks (via SAC): Trey Alexander, Creighton

Age: 20, Junior

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-4, 190 lbs.

Alexander is a polished guard prospect who does a little bit of everything and does it well. His size and athleticism won’t jump off the page but he’s a three-level scorer who can shoot from the perimeter, create off the dribble, make simple reads as a passer and defend his position. The Hawks could use a high-floor player like Alexander.

22. Knicks: Jaylon Tyson, California

Age: 21, Junior

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-7, 215 lbs.

Since the Knicks are looking to contend, it is unlikely they will make two first-round picks outside the lottery. They could use guard depth, though. Tyson offers size, scoring and playmaking in the form of a 6-7 combo guard who can defend multiple positions on the perimeter.

23. Pelicans: Tyler Smith, G League Ignite

Age: 19

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-11, 224 lbs.

Smith is a fluid power forward who has increased his draft stock by showing floor-stretching potential with the Ignite this season. The Pelicans would benefit from adding more frontcourt depth, especially a versatile 6-11 forward with promise as a perimeter shooter.

24. Cavaliers: Kel’el Ware, Indiana

Age: 19, Sophomore

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-0, 242 lbs.

The Cavaliers need help behind Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. Ware is a high-upside rim-protecting center who came on strong late in the season for Indiana. He is a long, athletic and mobile lob-catcher who has a developing offensive game as a scorer. 

25. Bucks: Yves Missi, Baylor

Age: 19, Freshman

Position: Center

Height and weight: 6-10, 235 lbs.

Energy is the name of the game for Missi. His relentless effort and explosive athleticism turned him into a projected first-round pick this season. He’s still a raw prospect, but he’s a quick leaper who crashes the glass, blocks shots and throws down lobs.

The Bucks developed Giannis Antetokounmpo into one of the greatest players in NBA history. They would be more than capable of getting the most out of Missi’s untapped potential.

Zach Edey

26. Wizards (via LAC): Ryan Dunn, Virginia

Age: 21, Sophomore

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 216 lbs.

Dunn has a case as the best perimeter defender in this draft class. Even though he only made seven 3-pointers all regular season, his IQ and tools on the defensive end are too good to pass up in the first round, especially for a team like the Wizards, who need all the help they can get on that end of the court.

27. Timberwolves: D.J. Wagner, Kentucky

Age: 18, Freshman

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-4, 192 lbs.

The Timberwolves committed to veteran point guard Mike Conley with a two-year contract extension but Wagner would be a terrific succession plan. The Kentucky freshman is a tenacious point-of-attack defender who has shown flashes of shot creation and perimeter shooting skills.

28. Jazz (via OKC): Justin Edwards, Kentucky

Age: 20, Freshman

Position: Forward

Height and weight: 6-8, 203 lbs.

Once again, the Jazz are in no rush to compete right away. That is why they could go for a long-term project like Edwards.

The Kentucky forward was projected to be a top-five pick but didn’t have the immediate impact expected as a freshman. He still has NBA size, athleticism and length — the lefty just needs time to polish his offensive game.

29. Nuggets: Zach Edey, Purdue

Age: 21, Senior

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-4, 300 lbs.

The Nuggets need a capable backup to superstar center Nikola Jokic. Why not roll the dice on the most dominant player in college basketball?

Edey put together another National Player of the Year-caliber season as an immovable force in the paint. He has improved as a post scorer and passer, and he looks more mobile than in years past. Learning from an all-time great like Jokic would be the best possible situation for Edey to succeed.

30. Celtics: DaRon Holmes II, Dayton

Age: 21, Junior

Position: Center

Height and weight: 6-10, 235 lbs.

The Celtics also need frontcourt depth, especially with Al Horford turning 38 before next season. Holmes is one of the most productive big men in the country, averaging 20.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game en route to winning A-10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year this season. His mobility, athleticism and shot-blocking would be a great fit in Boston’s defensive schemes.