2024 NBA mock draft: Projections for top three picks before NBA Finals

2024 NBA mock draft: Projections for top three picks before NBA Finals


June is a big month for the NBA. The 2024 NBA Finals begin on Thursday, and the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft begins three weeks from Wednesday. Who will be the top picks in this year’s class?

Early signs and projections from analysts point to center Alex Sarr out of Australia’s National Basketball League becoming the second straight French-born big man to be the top pick in the NBA draft. Fellow Frenchman Zaccharie Risacher has also been a popular choice for one of the top two picks according to recent mock drafts.

Here’s what the latest mock drafts from around the web project as the top three picks in the 2024 NBA Draft.

2024 NBA DRAFT: Draft order, best odds and more after draft lottery

2024 NBA Draft projections

No. 1 overall pick, Atlanta Hawks

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: Zaccharie Risacher, SF, JL Bourg (France)

O’Connor writes: “Risacher seems like the most likely choice at this point for the Hawks; he’s a theoretical 3-and-D wing who can fit whether or not they keep Trae Young. I’m not as high on Risacher as others are, due to his lack of a proven jump shot and his lack of shot-creation skills. But there’s no doubt he can defend.”

Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports: Zaccharie Risacher, SF, JL Bourg (France)

Peek writes: “Risacher ended his season in France on a high note, playing his best basketball in front of scouts and executives from the Hawks, Wizards and Rockets last month. He is one of the best catch-and-shoot wings in the draft and has extended his game off the bounce and as a facilitator.”

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report: Alex Sarr, C, Perth (Australia) Wildcats

Buckley writes: “Alex Sarr’s unique blend of size, fluidity, defensive versatility and offensive potential, arguably, give him the highest ceiling in this class. And when there isn’t a clear-cut prospect at the top of the class, swinging for the most upside feels like the best move, even if it’s unclear where the franchise is headed.”

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Alex Sarr, C, Perth (Australia) Wildcats

Vecenie writes: “Sarr is a defensive difference-maker who covers a ton of ground with his arms and quick feet, much like bigs such as Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr., Cleveland’s Evan Mobley and Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton. Sarr flies around off the ball and can thrive in a variety of ball-screen coverages ranging from switching to drop. If he’s waiting at the rim and opponents challenge him, odds are he’ll contest the shot, if not outright block it.”

Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports: Alex Sarr, C, Perth (Australia) Wildcats

Ward Henninger writes: “Worst-case scenario for Sarr? A 7-foot, athletic, rim-running, shot-blocking big with playmaking upside who can finish lobs in the vein of Dereck Lively II. Best-case scenario? The shot continues to develop and now we’re talking about a truly special two-way player.”

No. 2 overall pick, Washington Wizards

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: Alex Sarr, C, Perth (Australia) Wildcats

O’Connor writes: “The Wizards haven’t had a defensive rating higher than 18th in seven seasons. Sarr should be able to help there as a versatile weapon with a 7-foot-4 wingspan. Offensively, he’s more of an interior guy at this stage, but has flashed potential scoring from midrange and has shown an improving 3-point jumper.”

Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports: Alex Sarr, C, Perth (Australia) Wildcats

Peek writes: “Sarr is the best big in this draft with his size and versatility. He is an elite rim protector and has showed he can be effective in pick-and-pop situations, knocking down 3s during the combine shooting drills. He can also defend the perimeter and moves extremely well for his size, fitting the mold of the new hybrid center in the NBA.”

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report: Zaccharie Risacher, SF, JL Bourg (France)

Buckley writes: “Risacher fits the proverbial—and highly coveted—big-wing archetype and boasts a drool-worthy mix of shot-making, transition scoring and ball-handling, not to mention potentially impactful defensive tools.”

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Zaccharie Risacher, SF, JL Bourg (France)

Vecenie writes: “Risacher allows Washington to continue building with another versatile player who can shoot, play solid team defense and make high-IQ plays.”

Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports: Zaccharie Risacher, SF, JL Bourg (France)

Ward Henninger writes: “On film, Risacher stands out as possibly the best player in the draft because of his size, athleticism and varied skill set that seems perfectly tailored for the modern NBA.”

No. 3 overall pick, Houston Rockets

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: Donovan Clingan, C, UConn

O’Connor writes: “If Houston stays put, Clingan or Reed Sheppard seem to be the most likely picks. And if the pick is moved, most likely it’ll be to a team that wants to take Clingan. So Clingan gets the nod here as a center with Rudy Gobert-esque dimensions. If he or Alperen Sengun can successfully add a 3-point shot, then the Rockets would have immense size on defense, and tons of playmaking skill from the frontcourt.”

Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports: Stephon Castle, G, UConn

Peek writes: “Castle was one of the best defending guards in college basketball this season and followed that up with a solid shooting performance at the combine. He has great size and is a potential superstar in this draft with his two-way play and upside as a combo guard.”

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report: Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

Buckley writes: “Reed Sheppard is more than a shooting specialist—the eye-opening hops he showed at the combine were the latest evidence of that—but Houston would be first and foremost drawn to his fireball. During his one-and-one run with the Wildcats, he launched 144 perimeter shots and converted them at a ridiculous 52.1 percent clip.”

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

Vecenie writes: “The Rockets can afford to take a swing on him because he is a perfect connective piece next to all of their young talent. He’s an elite shooter, which is the one skill this young core lacks.”

Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports: Stephon Castle, G, UConn

Ward Henninger writes: “Ideally they’d like a better shooter here, but Castle’s versatility and defensive upside make him a perfect Ime Udoka player as Houston attempts to climb into the postseason picture. I could see Castle having a Josh Hart-like impact on winning from day one with plenty of other Rockets to run the show offensively.”

ALEX SARR: Who is French center? What to know about potential No. 1 pick in 2024 NBA Draft

When is the 2024 NBA Draft?

  • Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
  • When: June 26-27, 2024
  • Cable TV: ESPN; ABC
  • Streaming: ESPN+; YouTube TV; fuboTV

HOW TO WATCH: See who all 30 teams select in the 2024 NBA Draft with an ESPN+ subscription

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