Ron Holland II believes he should be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft

Ron Holland II entered the season widely projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA draft, and the 18-year-old from the G League Ignite still believes in that assessment.

Holland averaged 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals on 45.5% shooting from the field. He set the Ignite single-season record for steals (69), 30-point games (4) and 20-point games (16) while finishing second in points (565).

The 6-foot-4 forward established himself as a versatile player who can score, defend at a high level and get others involved with the Ignite. He also possesses the physical tools and athleticism to pave the way for a smooth transition to the next level.

Holland, speaking Tuesday at the draft combine in Chicago, Illinois, thinks it is some of those qualities that make him a prime candidate to be the first player off the board on June 26.

I think, before (the start of this season), I was considered to go top-five (or) top-10 in this draft class and I feel like nothing really has changed. My mentality hasn’t changed. I was able to prove that with the Ignite. Prior to all of the losing that we did, I feel like every night I showed up and was able to either dominate or, if I had a bad game, there were spurts in that bad game to where I was able to show why I should be No. 1.

The former consensus five-star prospect saw his stock slip a bit over the course of the season, dropping to the mid-to-late lottery range. He dealt with turnover issues, committing three per game, and struggled with his shooting after converting 24% from 3-point range.

He was also limited to 29 games after undergoing season-ending surgery in February to repair a ruptured tendon in his right thumb. However, he is now considered fully healthy and is expected to fully participate in the predraft process.

Holland will attempt to convince teams in interviews and workouts why he should be one of the first players drafted. He believes he is the most versatile prospect in the draft class and has several attributes that make him highly coveted.

I would say my energy, for sure. That is one thing about me people always talk about: The way I just light up a dark room and walk into a gym and people know that I’m in there. I’m always bringing joy to the court. I think my willingness to win, my competitiveness. I’m always trying to win anything competitive, whether it is free throws, shooting, running or conditioning. … If I’m competing, I know for a fact that it is going to make others compete, and now we’re all getting better.

He may not ultimately be the top pick in the draft, but Holland projects to have a bright future ahead at the next level. He was once viewed as one of the top recruits out of high school and will soon have the chance to prove himself against his peers.

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire