Draft Notes: 2024 Class, Bronny, B. Miller, Wembanyama

NBA evaluators have been underwhelmed by what they’ve seen so far from the top prospects among this year’s high school seniors, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link), who says the 2024 draft class doesn’t necessarily feature any players who are viewed as “sure-fire, elite” NBA prospects.

As Givony writes, 2023’s draft class is headed by two clear-cut top prospects in Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, and other recent drafts have also had a fairly well-defined top tier. However, that’s not the case so far for the 2024 class, since many of the best players in the group haven’t developed as rapidly as NBA teams have hoped.

Givony’s first 2024 mock draft has 6’10” Lithuanian guard Matas Buzelis coming off the board first, followed by Cody Williams, the brother of 2022 Thunder lottery pick Jalen Williams. Buzelis will play for the G League Ignite next season and should get the opportunity to take the reins for the Ignite with Henderson leaving for the NBA; Williams has committed to playing his college ball at Colorado.

In a somewhat surprising development, Givony has Bronny James, the son of Lakers star LeBron James, at No. 10 overall in his first ’24 mock. According to Givony, Bronny has emerged as perhaps the best perimeter defender of this year’s high school class, making major strides during the last 12-to-18 months while many of his peers have “flatlined.”

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Alabama freshman Brandon Miller, widely considered to be a top-five prospect in the 2023 NBA draft class, allegedly brought the gun that was used in the killing of a woman on the Tuscaloosa strip last month, according to police testimony (link via Carol Robinson of AL.com). Miller’s former Alabama teammate Darius Miles and another man, Michael Davis, were arrested and charged with capital murder. While the gun belonged to Miles, Miller reportedly brought it to the scene at his ex-teammate’s request. Miller’s car, which was struck by two bullets during the shooting, was allegedly one of two vehicles blocking the victim’s car.
  • Miller has not faced any charges related to the shooting and Alabama head coach Nate Oats said the freshman forward is “not in any trouble,” per Mike Rodak of AL.com. However, it’s safe to assume that any NBA team that had been considering using a lottery pick on Miller in June will have to take a long, hard look at his alleged involvement in this incident.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Jonathan Givony and SI.com’s Jeremy Woo have shared excellent, in-depth profiles on super-prospect Victor Wembanyama, who is considered a virtual lock to be the first prospect drafted four months from today.
  • While Wembanyama has rightly received most of the hype, NBA teams have their eyes on several other rising prospects who possess a tantalizing mix of size and skill, as Seth Davis writes for The Athletic. “We’ve heard this term ‘small ball’ for a while, but what NBA teams were really trying to do was play ‘skill ball,'” broadcaster Stan Van Gundy said to Davis. “But if you can get size to go along with that skill, that’s going to make you even better. … I’m not saying they’re all going to be 7-3, but seeing guys 6-10 or bigger play like Victor are not going to be all that rare. Those guys are definitely the future of the game.”
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