Report: Multiple veteran NBA execs believe 2024 draft is worst class they’ve ever seen

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple veteran NBA executives believe that the 2024 NBA Draft is the worst class that they’ve ever seen.

Unlike the 2023 NBA Draft where there was an obvious No. 1 overall pick in Victor Wembanyama (now with the San Antonio Spurs), it appears that there aren’t as many sure things at the top of the 2024 draft.

In the latest 2024 NBA mock draft from The Ringer, French prospect Zaccharie Risacher is projected to be the No. 1 pick. From there, Alex Sarr (another French prospect) is projected at No. 2, and Serbian guard Nikola Topic is projected at No. 3.

To show how inconsistent the projections are around this draft class, one just has to look at The Ringer’s mock draft (done by Kevin O’Connor) and how the No. 1 overall pick has changed as of late.

Before the start of the NCAA Tournament, O’Connor had University of Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard projected to be the No. 1 selection in the draft.

However, Sheppard has now fallen to No. 9 in the latest edition after a poor showing in Kentucky’s first-round loss in the tournament.

“Looking at this year’s draft class is like heading to your favorite steakhouse only to find out they’re out of steak,” O’Connor wrote in his latest mock draft. “Sure, there are still plenty of other delicious options: your trusted bigs, two-way upside wings, and guards who can cook up their own shots. But there’s no Wagyu porterhouse like Victor Wembanyama last year. There isn’t even a consensus on which entrées are the best. Teams will need to make the most of the available menu items to find talent and the best supporting pieces to add to their existing cores.”

The discrepancy between many mock drafts goes to prove O’Connor’s point.

The Ringer has University of Connecticut big man Donovan Clingan going at No. 7 overall in the 2024 NBA Draft. However, ESPN’s most recent mock draft has the young big man going No. 3 overall, comparing him to Sarr as a draft prospect.

“There will be plenty of debate between now and June regarding who is the better prospect: Clingan or ESPN’s projected No. 2 pick Alex Sarr,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo wrote. “(And Sarr is now firmly in the conversation at No. 1, as well.) Clingan has one or two more games to make his case at the Final Four in Arizona next weekend, and he would surely benefit greatly from a strong showing against [Zach] Edey should the two meet in the championship game. In a draft lacking in star power at the top, Clingan looks as close to a surefire bet to be a highly productive starter and a major impact performer as you’ll find.”

A lot of the future of the draft will depend on the lottery, as a team like the Spurs could end up with a top selection once again. However, they would likely shy away from drafting a center since it already has Wembanyama.

After going from drafts like the 2022 NBA Draft (which featured All-Star Paolo Banchero and now-Rookie of the Year candidate Chet Holmgren at the top) and the 2023 NBA Draft (which featured Wembanyama, Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson), it seems like the 2024 class has underwhelmed executives.

It’ll be interesting to see how things play out once the lottery takes place and teams are cemented in their spots for the first round.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.