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The 2024 NBA Draft – A Mock Tale

In theory, it shouldn’t be that difficult to create an NBA Mock Draft that closely aligns with the thought process of a lottery team’s General Manager.

With an exception or two, everybody knows who the top dozen players are. If you need a big man, you probably have Alex Sarr, the 7’1, 19-year-old from France at the top of your board. Or possibly Donovan Clingan, the 7’2 shot blocker from UConn.

At the small forward position, France’s Zaccharie Risacher sits atop most boards as a 6’9 athlete with an outside shot and a defensive reputation.

And if you’re in need of a guard, Reed Sheppard shot over 50% from 3-point range in his only year at Kentucky. Stephen Castle was arguably the best player on the National Championship team as a freshman. And Devin Carter averaged almost 20 points and 9 rebounds at Providence last season.

Now all you have to do is start at the top of the draft, find a team’s need, find the player that fits, and start back down that list.

Sounds easy.

The only issue is, if the lottery team’s GMs were any good at evaluating talent, filling team needs, and selecting the best players for the franchise, they probably wouldn’t be in the lottery.

The Atlanta Hawks (36-46) lucked out by grabbing the number one pick in this year’s NBA draft despite making the Play-In game last season. Drafting a center makes sense to replace the aging Clint Capela, but that pretty much makes them the same team as last year. Risacher looks like the best available, but the team already has Jalen Johnson. Reed Sheppard might work, but only if the team decides to move on from Trae Young or Dejounte Murray.

How do you find the perfect player for an imperfect team?

The Washington Wizards (15-67) are a hot mess. Drafting second can only help a roster that lacks talent, but do you look for a player to compliment Jordan Poole, or replace him? And does drafting a defensive center make sense for a team that doesn’t play defense?

The only D the Wizards seem to know about stands for Dysfunctional.

But I’ll give it a shot.

I bring you my 2024 NBA Mock Draft – one day before draft night.

Don’t mock me.

Credit via Wikipedia

1) Atlanta Hawks – Zaccharie Risacher/France/SF – One year earlier and they would have gotten Victor Wembayama. One year later and they would have gotten Cooper Flagg. Instead, the Hawks are hoping to trade out of this spot as they worry about Trae Young’s future, instead of building for the future. But no one is calling.

2) Washington Wizards – Alex Sarr/France/C – Sarr will need a few years to mature, but with Bilal Coulibaly already on the squad, the Wiz are finally figuring it out. Pick young French guys and wait a few years.

Credit via Bleacher Report

3) Houston Rockets – Reed Sheppard/Kentucky/G – Sheppard is my favorite player in the draft, but with Fred VanVleet, Jalen Green, and Dillon Brooks already at the guard spots, I wouldn’t be shocked to see another team move up to this spot for Sheppard or Donovan Clingan, as the Rockets acquire future assets.

4) Memphis Grizzlies (via trade with San Antonio) – Donovan Clingan/UConn/C – With Sheppard off the board, and Memphis desperate to get their big man, the Spurs move down and pass on Stephen Castle despite his perfect fit on the team as another gritty, talented shooting guard, that can’t shoot.

Credit via CBS News

5) Detroit Pistons – Cody Williams/Colorado/SF – The Pistons don’t have much, but they do have Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey at the guard spots. Which means Castle is passed up on for the upside of Williams. After all, with just 14 wins last season – what’s the hurry?

6) Charlotte Hornets – Stephen Castle/UConn/SG – Castle brings a ton of upside and a winning mentality to a team that could be building around Brandon Miller, and not the often-injured LaMelo Ball, sooner than later.

7) Portland Trailblazers – Dalton Knecht/Tennessee/SG – It would be very Portland-like to skip Knecht and roll the dice on the upside of 18-year-old Ron Holland, but every team needs spacing and shooting. Knecht does both for them.

8) San Antonio Spurs – Matas Buzelis/G-League/F – The Spurs would be thrilled if the 6’10 Buzelis was still around at pick eight, considering they were contemplating taking him at pick four.

9) San Antonio Spurs (via trade with Memphis) – Tyler Kolek/Marquette/PG – Probably more likely that Popovich goes with the upside of Rob Dillingham, or another foreigner like Nikola Topic in his search for a point guard – but Kolek’s passing skills makes him the pick for me.

10) Utah Jazz – Devin Carter/Providence/G – The Jazz need a point guard and Carter gives the team the ability to play both the one and the two. If he’s available at number ten.

11) Chicago Bulls – Ron Holland/G-League/F – Projected in the top five at one point, the Bulls take a swing at Holland and hope they have something.

12) Oklahoma City Thunder – Nikola Topic/Serbia/G – Topic slips to this spot due to an ACL injury, but the Thunder have the depth and talent to be patient.

13) Phoenix Suns (via trade with Sacramento Kings – Rob Dillingham/Kentucky/PG – The Kolek move caught the Suns off guard, so to speak, and once the other point guards started to fall, the Suns were forced to pay-the-price to land Dillingham.

Credit via Pro Ballers

14) Portland Trailblazers – Tidjane Salaun/France/SF – The last pick of the lottery. He’s French, and his name sounds like Nicolas Batum, so they went for it.

Images via abc, Wikipedia.org, bleacherreport, cbsnews, proballers, yahoosports.

Alan Tapley The Athletic Supporter

Alan Tapley is an educator, author, and blogger who has lived just outside of Boulder for the last twenty years.  His published work includes two novels, two children’s books, a series of cartoons in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and multiple sports related articles. His love for family and the state of Colorado is only matched by one thing, his passion for sports.  The first baseball game he ever attended was at Wrigley Field, before there were lights.  At the final Bronco game at the old Mile High, he allegedly cut out a piece of his seat in the South stands.  But regardless of being here for the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup, the Rockies only World Series appearance, and all the Broncos’ Super Bowl Victories, his wife never fails to remind him that he wasn’t at the University of Colorado in 1990, like she was.  The year the Buffs football team won the National Championship

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