2024 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: All eyes on USC and Bronny James next year

NEW YORK — Next year's draft class is full of question marks and thought to fall off a bit in terms of one-and-done talent. Projected at the top of the 2024 NBA Draft are a couple players on the G League Ignite and another player from France. If 6-foot-9 wing Zaccharie Risacher ends up going No. 1 next year, it will be the first time in draft history where two international players (and two players from France) are drafted with the first overall pick in back-to-back years. The Ignite have a ton of length and players with upside led by 6-11 wing Matas Buzelis, 6-6 guard Thierry Darlan and 6-7 wing Ron Holland.

Bronny James will be playing his freshman season at USC alongside the top guard coming out of high school, Isaiah Collier, and many NBA scouts are speculating that James will spend only one year at USC in hopes to join his dad, LeBron James, in the NBA the following season, becoming the first father-son duo to share the court in league history. USC will travel overseas to Greece and Croatia for a handful of games before the season; their season kicks off in Las Vegas on Nov. 6 against Kansas State.

There were 152 players who withdrew their name from the 2023 NBA Draft hoping to improve their draft sock for the 2024 or 2025 NBA Drafts. Yahoo Sports takes a way-too-early look at the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft.

1. G/F Matas Buzelis

Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 190 pounds | G League Ignite

Buzelis chose the G League Ignite over Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida State and Wake Forest. During the Jam Fest at the McDonald's All-American Game, Buzelis had the most impressive dunk that received a perfect score from the judges. With his length and skill set, Buzelis can be plugged into multiple positions on the court. He handles the ball like a guard, shoots it well from outside and is a great rebounder. He'll need to add some weight to his slight frame, but there's a ton to like about Buzelis as an NBA prospect. He'll have an upper hand playing with the Ignite next season with NBA rules and spacing and more freedom to create in the open court.

Matas Buzelis chose the G League Ignite over a handful of college programs. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Matas Buzelis chose the G League Ignite over a handful of college programs. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Buzelis has spent the offseason working out with trainer Chris Brickley and Carmelo Anthony in New York and looks like he's added some muscle to his slight frame.

2. G/F Zaccharie Risacher

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 200 pounds | France

There could be another great player coming out of France just one year after Victor Wembanyama. Risacher was one of the most impressive players on the court at Nike Hoop Summit and shot the ball well during drills in practice, draining 11 3-pointers in a row at one point. His quick release on his jumper is hard to guard and he moves well off the ball, getting to his spots and cutting off the opposite wing. At 17 years old, Risacher was the youngest player, but showcased a skill set that is well above his age.

"I just want to show [NBA scouts] all aspects of my game and that I can shoot and defend," Risacher told Yahoo Sports. "I didn't really get nervous with all the scouts there and I just tried to focus on my game and show them what I can do."

3. G/F Ron Holland

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 195 pounds | Class: Freshman | G League Ignite

Holland was a late decommit from Texas and chose the professional route soon after, joining a loaded Ignite team. Holland was the best player on the court in both all-star games and made a great impression early on, making tough shots in the corner with defenders on him and making the extra pass for an open shot when the defense was chasing. During his high school season, Holland was a little inconsistent with his shot selection, but he looks way more polished and has turned up his intensity and focus on the court. Holland finished with 11 points and six rebounds in the McDonald's All-American Game and was a top performer at Nike Hoop Summit, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

4. G/F Cody Williams

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 180 pounds | Class: Freshman | Colorado

Williams is the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Jalen Williams and is one of the most improved players from his junior to senior season in high school. He made the Team USA U19 squad and is headed to Hungary to compete in the U19 FIBA World Cup. During the tryouts, Williams impressed NBA scouts with how effective he was off the ball in getting to his spots and using his length on defense to guard multiple positions. There's value in long, versatile wings in the NBA and Williams ticks a lot of boxes in what scouts are looking for in young players high in the lottery.

5. G Isaiah Collier

Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 195 pounds | Class: Freshman | USC

Collier was the best guard on the court in both high school all-star games and showed scouts why he was the No. 1 guard coming out of high school. He's a pass-first point guard who excels when getting downhill and finding open teammates. Collier made an effort to show scouts a little more of his outside game, hitting a few 3-pointers off the dribble in the Team USA scrimmage. During the McDonald's All-American Game, Collier led all players with 25 points. He finished with 11 points in the 90-84 win over the World team at Nike Hoop Summit. Collier and Bronny James showed glimpses of what they could do in the backcourt together during postseason all-star games. With Collier's big-guard, bully-style game, it will open the floor up more for James to get open 3s.

Isaiah Collier was the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school and will play alongside Bronny James at USC this season. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Isaiah Collier was the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school and will play alongside Bronny James at USC this season. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

6. G Thierry Darlan

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 190 pounds | G League Ignite

Darlan played with the NBA Academy Africa in Senegal prior to committing to the Ignite and chose the program over Kansas and Arizona. It will be interesting to see how Darlan, Holland and Buzelis all coexist on the court together, but Darlan is the best complementary piece to both players. Darlan's incredible 7-1 wingspan is what stands out immediately when watching him play. He suffered a dislocated ankle during NBA All-Star weekend at Basketball Without Borders but has since returned to the court. Prior to the injury, Darlan single-handedly got his team back in the game during a scrimmage where he hit two tough 3-pointers in back-to-back possessions. He's still a bit of a raw guard but boasts significant potential as a big guard at the NBA level.

7. G Tyrese Proctor

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 175 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Duke

Proctor announced that he was returning to Duke for his sophomore season after getting NBA scouts' attention during his freshman year. The Australian guard showed glimpses of what he could be at the next level this season but still needs a little more time to develop his game. Proctor originally reclassified a grade up and was one of the youngest players in college basketball last season. He's a great passer and facilitator, recording 10 assists in a win over Pitt late last season. Head coach Jon Scheyer has a talented group coming in next season, and Proctor could be the first player off the board for this Duke squad in the 2024 NBA Draft.

8. G Justin Edwards

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 180 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kentucky

Edwards is a long, athletic wing and one of the best defenders in transition with the way he anticipates passes and is a solid chase-down blocker. Edwards played in both the McDonald's All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit where NBA scouts got an extended look at the freshman Kentucky guard. Coach John Calipari has the No. 1 recruiting class coming in, and Edwards should see early playing time. Edwards put up 11 points and five rebounds during the McDonald's All-American Game and finished with 10 points and five rebounds at Nike Hoop Summit.

9. C Aaron Bradshaw

Ht./Wt.: 7-2, 210 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kentucky

Bradshaw suffered a fractured foot last month and could miss the beginning of the college basketball season. The 7-2 center plays a very similar game to Dereck Lively II, who was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the lottery in the 2023 draft. NBA teams value rim-runners who can be an offensive threat from 3-point range, and Bradshaw showed early signs of that during his high school season and postseason all-star games. NBA scouts will be watching closely to see how this injury affects his mobility once he returns to the court.

10. G Ja'Kobe Walter

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 185 pounds | Class: Freshman | Baylor

Walter is an instant offensive threat with his shot-making ability and the way he can stretch the floor. He's particularly good in catch-and-shoot situations, even with a defender in his face. Walter was very productive on the defensive end during the McDonald's All-American Game, deflecting passes and winning 50-50 balls off the glass. He'll need to add some weight to his frame, but he uses his body well when finding pockets on offense to get to the rim.

11. G A.J. Johnson

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 170 pounds | Class: Freshman | Illawarra Hawks (Australia)

Johnson decommitted from Texas after the high school season and is headed to Australia for his gap year to play in the National Basketball League. Past high school players like LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton have had success going this route, and Johnson is already on NBA scouts' radar after strong showings at high school camps and tournaments this past year. Johnson has spent the last three years consistently working out with Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green and spent time in the gym with Anthony Black, Cam Whitmore and Gradey Dick during the pre-draft process this year. He's a long guard who can score at all three levels and has improved his handle, particularly in traffic, and making moves in transition.

12. G Riley Kugel

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 205 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Florida

Kugel got more and more touches as his freshman season progressed last year and emerged as a main shot creator late in the season. He has a high, quick release in his jump shot and handles the ball well off the wing. He still has room to grow and shows promises as an elite finisher with how quickly he gets off the wing with the ball in his hands.

13. G D.J. Wagner

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 165 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kentucky

Wagner is the son of former NBA player Dajuan Wagner and the grandson of Milt Wagner. D.J., Dajuan and Milt are the first trio through three generations to appear in the McDonald's All-American Game. His dad played in 2001, and his grandfather played in the 1981 game. Wagner was one of the best guards on the court during Nike Hoop Summit. He helped lead Team USA to a win and finished with 10 points and four rebounds.

14. F Omaha Biliew

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 210 pounds | Class: Freshman | Iowa State

Biliew is an elite rebounder who passes the eye test for what NBA scouts are looking for as a versatile wing player. Where he shines is on the defensive side of the ball with his ability to guard multiple positions and contest shots with his long frame. He showed an improved outside jumper at the U19 USA Basketball trials and was a mismatch dream off the guard switch, finding ways to bury his opponent in the lane.

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15. F Trevon Brazile

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 200 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Arkansas

Brazile suffered a season-ending ACL injury this past year and was already trending up with a strong start to the season. He's a versatile big who can handle the ball well and step outside and knock down 3s. He had one of the most impressive dunks of the college season in a win over South Dakota State where he drove baseline and put a defender on a poster. NBA scouts will be watching next season to see if Brazile made a full recovery. If he's healthy, the 6-10 forward will be one of the most exciting players to watch in college basketball.

16. C Donovan Clingan

Ht./Wt.: 7-2, 265 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Connecticut

Clingan was a huge component off the bench for a UConn Huskies team that made a run to the national championship. He dominates the paint with his size and frame and is a physical center who makes the right read when the defense collapses.

17. G/F Bobi Klintman

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 225 pounds | Cairns Taipans (Australia)

Klintman played his freshman season at Wake Forest and tested the waters for the 2023 NBA Draft. Many thought he would stay in the 2023 draft after rumors of a promise from a team in the first round. At the very last minute (before the deadline on June 12), Klintman withdrew his name and soon committed to playing for the Cairns Taipans in Australia's NBL. Klintman has a ton of upside as inside-out wing who started to shoot the ball more consistently toward the end of the year at Wake Forest.

Bobi Klintman will play for the Cairns Taipans in Australia's NBL next season while preparing for the 2024 NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Bobi Klintman will play for the Cairns Taipans in Australia's NBL next season while preparing for the 2024 NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

18. G Elmarko Jackson

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 195 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kansas

Jackson was one of the most athletic guards during the McDonald's All-American Game and showed a nice second burst in transition. He has a strong frame and uses his body well, especially at the rim in the way he scoops shots under defenders. Jackson is one of the quickest guards n the country with the ball in his hands and has a solid 3-point jumper.

19. C Kyle Filipowski

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 230 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Duke

Filipowski was instrumental in Duke's success last season in Scheyer's first year as head coach. He elected to return for his sophomore season after requiring a double hip surgery that took place in April. Filipowski has no problem stepping in and taking 3-pointers off the pick-and-pop but wasn't consistent enough this season, shooting just 28% from behind the arc.

20. G Stephon Castle

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 205 pounds | Class: Freshman | Connecticut

UConn is coming off an impressive run to the national championship and lost guard Jordan Hawkins to the NBA. Castle is not the same type of player as Hawkins, but what he brings is great size at the guard position. He plays with incredible pace and has a dangerous first step off the dribble. Castle finished with 13 points for the East Team in the McDonald's All-American Game.

21. F Mackenzie Mgbako

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 210 pounds | Class: Freshman | Indiana

After Filipowski and Proctor elected to return to Duke, Mgbako decommitted and eventually chose to play his freshman season at Indiana. He shows a clear path as productive 3-and-D wing with his consistent outside shooting when his feet are set and length as a perimeter defender.

22. G Trey Alexander

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 185 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Creighton

Alexander elected to return for his sophomore season after a strong showing at the NBA Draft Combine and wanting to improve his draft stock. A long, athletic guard with a 6-10 wingspan, Alexander is comfortable playing on or off the ball and showed an improved court vision during his freshman season at Creighton.

23. G Jared McCain

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 195 pounds | Class: Freshman | Duke

McCain finds a way to win at every level and is one of the best 3-point shooting point guards in the incoming freshman class. He reads the pick-and-roll very well, and if the defender slips or gives him any sort of space, he's letting it fly.

24. F Adem Bona

Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 260 pounds | Class: Sophomore | UCLA

Bona is expected to be one of the best bigs in the Pac-12 next season with one year under his belt and dealing with injuries last season. He is an absolute unit in the lane and has good hands and solid footwork around the basket. At times, he gets beat off the dribble when guards extend off the switch, but there's a lot to like about his inside presence and rim protection.

Texas forward Dillon Mitchell withdrew his name from the 2023 NBA Draft with an eye toward 2024. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Texas forward Dillon Mitchell withdrew his name from the 2023 NBA Draft with an eye toward 2024. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

25. G/F Dillon Mitchell

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 205 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Texas

Mitchell elected to return for his sophomore season at Texas after testing the NBA waters and getting solid feedback from teams. The biggest hole in his game was his outside shooting, not attempting a single 3-pointer during his freshman season. He shot the ball well during the NBA Draft Combine shooting drills and will have a more prominent role on this Texas team next season.

26. C Kel'el Ware

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 210 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Indiana

Ware was one of the top players coming out of high school, but had a relatively quiet and unproductive freshman season at Oregon. Ware entered the transfer portal, eventually committed to Indiana where he can be effective right away as a pick-and-pop big and add some presence in the lane and rim protection on defense.

27. G London Johnson

Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 180 pounds | G League Ignite

Johnson got some valuable minutes off the bench behind Scoot Henderson this past year and showed improvement as a primary ball-handler while adjusting to the physicality of the G League. He'll be the main facilitator in the backcourt this season with a ton of talent beside him.

28. G Bronny James

Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 190 pounds | Class: Freshman | USC

All eyes will be on James and USC this season to see what he can do at the college level. It will benefit James playing alongside elite playmakers like Boogie Ellis and Collier with how well he shoots the ball from 3-point range. With a potential package with dad LeBron, there will be more at stake for Bronny's draft range next year. He made a first good impression with NBA scouts as a complementary piece alongside the perimeter who can knock down shots. Defensively, he was one of the best on-ball guards in his high school class and uses his athleticism to challenge players at the rim and chase down guards in transition.

29. G Kylan Boswell

Ht./Wt.: 6-2 195 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Arizona

Boswell reclassified a year early and didn't see a lot of playing time during his freshman year at Arizona. Instead he worked on his body and outside shooting and he was the best point guard on the court for the USA Basketball U19 tryouts. Boswell is so patient with the ball, letting the play develop and he's an elite passer who can thread passes through the defense.

30. G Trentyn Flowers

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 185 pounds | Class: Freshman | Louisville

Flowers is one of the most athletic guards in this class and loves to play above the rim. He showcased an improved jump shot during the USA Basketball U19 trials and impressed scouts with his burst off the wing and his up-tempo playing style.