Sam Vecenie of The Athletic has published his big board for the 2024 NBA draft, while Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) have shared their top 25 prospects in next year’s draft class. USC guard Isaiah Collier sits atop both lists, but beyond that there are plenty of differences, starting with Vecenie placing Serbian point guard Nikola Topic at No. 2 on his board (he’s ninth at ESPN).
Vecenie is also significantly higher on Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard than ESPN’s duo is, calling him the best freshman in college basketball so far this season and ranking him sixth overall. Givony and Woo have Sheppard at No. 22.
Still, this year’s group of NCAA prospects doesn’t look especially strong at this point, according to Vecenie, who notes that 11 of the top 33 players on his board are either playing overseas or for the G League Ignite.
Even Collier, the top player on The Athletic’s board, comes with some major question marks and holds the top spot somewhat by default. While Vecenie believes the USC guard is the highest-upside prospect in the 2024 class for now, he says Collier wouldn’t have cracked his top eight prospects in the 2023 draft.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Veteran NBA center Khem Birch, who was waived by San Antonio during the preseason, is said to be drawing interest from Italian club Reyer Venezia, according to reports from Alessandro Maggi of Sportando and Luca D’Alessandro (Twitter link). Birch played in Turkey and Greece from 2015-17 before breaking into the NBA, so if he does head overseas, it wouldn’t be his first professional experience in Europe.
- With NBA commissioner Adam Silver once again addressing the idea of expansion this week, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a closer look at where things stand, evaluating how likely the league is to add more teams after its next media deal and discussing which cities have the strongest cases for an expansion franchise.
- Howard Beck of The Ringer explores the origins of the idea for the NBA’s in-season tournament and details how it eventually come to fruition before considering whether or not the event will have staying power.