Inside the NBA Draft: Early Top Prospects for the Next Season
During each year, NBA trade rumors are in full swing, and the NBA Draft sees the clashing teams choosing the most promising talents from college basketball. This year’s recently concluded NBA Draft saw 152 players withdrawing their names as they hope to improve their game for the 2024 NBA Draft.
According to NBA news and rumors, a couple of G League Ignite players and other freshmen are promising candidates for being first picks in the 2024 NBA Draft. While it’s certainly too early to make conclusive arguments, let’s explore the talented players who have captured the scouts’ attention for next year’s draft.
NBA Trade Rumors: Top Prospects That Might Get Drafted in 2024
Here are the top talents the NBA teams might pick before the start of next season:
The 6’8″, 195-pound Ron Holland from Texas joined a loaded Ignite team. Without an obvious overall number 1 talent, Holland looks like a sure bet thanks to his athleticism, defense, production, and passing.
Holland appeared to be the best player on the court in all-star games and made a quick positive impression early on. Despite looking a little inconsistent during his high school season, Holland has turned things around and appears to be more polished and focused on the court. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds in the McDonald’s All-American Game and finished with 15 points, five assists, and nine rebounds as the top performer at Nike Hoop Summit.
His shot-making and creation have improved since his sophomore year in high school, and he’s set to play the entire year for Ignite at merely 18 years old. As a freshman, he has the golden opportunity to evolve his game and become a lead option.
Today, he is skilled at combining aggression with sharp, off-the-dribble footwork and a talent for finding the inside of the rim more often than not. He’s talented at attacking closeouts, getting downhill, pushing in transition, and finishing in the lane. His defensive ceiling is also remarkable, thanks to his speed and agility.
A 6’10” wing with an impressive shoot-dribble-pass capability, Matas Buzelis chose the G League Ignite over North Carolina, Kentucky, and more. At his size, Buzelis is known for his versatility and shot-making that enables him to comfortably spot up for threes, release off screens, and pull up into jumpers.
Buzeli’s athleticism has grown with his size. He had the most impressive dunk at the McDonald’s All-American Game as it received the perfect score from the judges. His game also suits on- and off-ball scoring, and he’s able to tap into some easy bounce to contest opposing shots.
Even though Buzelis has a slight frame, he’s been working out with trainer Chris Brickley to add some muscle. Overall, he can play multiple positions; he guards the ball well and is a great rebounder and shooter.
A Kentucky Freshman, Justin Edwards is a 6’8″ athletic defender in transition and a solid chase-down blocker. Edwards recently scored 23 points in the GLOBL JAM final against Canada, relying on catch-and-shoot opportunities, straight-line driving, and offensive rebounding.
Offensively, Edwards will play more of a spot-up position with capable mid-range touch, cutting, and slashing ability, and shooting range. Even though he has a tendency to get caught standing around, he doesn’t need dribbles and on-ball reps to create scoring chances.
Since Edwards played in both Nike Hoop Summit and the McDonald’s All-American Game, NBA scouts got an extended look at him. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds at the former and scored 11 points and five rebounds during the latter.
Highly hyped through his high school years, DJ Wagner is a thoroughly well-scouted incoming freshman. Even though he has more room to develop physically, this Kentucky fresher has sharp skills, including impressive shot-making, maturity, competitiveness, and production.
Wagner averaged 14.0 points and 4.8 assists for his team through four GLOBL JAM victories. He’s the best at getting to spots, changing direction, and using his handle. He seamlessly creates finishing angles at the basket and is an outstanding diver with a strong layup package and touch shots.
Although a bit inconsistent, Wagner has shown persuasive shooting capability as well. That said, scouts will hold him to a higher standard before making a drafting decision. He will need to balance his scoring with playmaking to get drafted, as he is wired to hunt for shots first and pass second.
At 6’3″ and 195 pounds, Isaiah Collier is a well-rounded athlete offering a balanced mix of scoring, playmaking, and athletic ability. He was the best guard on the court in his high school all-star games. His pass-first approach makes him excel at his point guard position.
Collier also showed scouts his outside game, scoring a few 3-pointers off the dribble in the Team USA clash. Moreover, he led all players with 25 points in the McDonald’s All-American Game and finished with 11 points in the Nike Hoop Summit 90-84 win over the World team.
A strong live-dribble passer, Collier will operate as USC’s main setup man, despite needing work on his decision-making and turnovers. He uses his strength to attack the basket and finish through contact. However, since his free-throw numbers have been a little shaky, he will need to improve his shooting to become a true contender for the draft.
Elmarko Jackson shines in a class that lacks high-level shot creators thanks to his handle and burst. He is an exciting player with a solid build, speed, and shiftiness to get to his spots and make plays as a pull-up shooter, playmaker, and driver.
Jackson’s quick-twitch movement, explosion, pace, and poise help him make a favorite with the scouts. His athleticism also helps in off-ball finishing. His passing and scoring will draw in more scouts.
Tyrese Proctor is the only sophomore on this list. The 175-pound, 6’5″ Australian guard plays for Duke. He showed glimpses of his impressive game this season but still needs a little more push to develop his game. That said, he’s a great facilitator and passer, recording ten assists in a win over Pitt last season.
Proctor has a smooth game and striking dribbling, shot-making, and passing knowledge. He could be the first player off the board for Duke in the 2024 NBA Draft if he works on his general execution and body.
According to the NBA news and rumors, these promising players are the top prospects for the next season’s NBA Draft. However, certain other promising contenders might take the lead and get drafted as well. Only time will tell who makes it to the top level.
If you wish to stay up-to-date on all NBA trade rumors and more, Black Sports Digest has you covered!