The G League Ignite’s impressive collection of talent was on display Wednesday night in Nevada, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic. Six players who may be selected in next year’s draft were on the court for the Ignite, and a seventh, Thierry Darlan of France, missed the game against Perth, Australia, with an ankle injury.
The biggest attraction was guard Ron Holland, whom Hollinger considers the “betting favorite” to be the top pick in 2024. Hollinger adds that Holland isn’t a clear-cut No. 1 choice like Victor Wembanyama was this year, but he looked good in his first pro game, using a mix of explosiveness and ferocity to put up 23 points.
“Ron is very, very competitive” Ignite coach Jason Hart said. “So now I’m wanting to channel it to where the opposition doesn’t know if you’re mad or you’re happy. I just told him to relax, calm down … I think he heard me. But that’s going to be a process because he’s so competitive, and I don’t want to take that from him. That’s his thing; he’s just has to learn how to use it.”
Matas Buzelis and Izan Almansa, who are projected to be top-10 picks, also showed off their skills, Hollinger adds, along with Tyler Smith, London Johnson and Perth prospects Alex Sarr and Ben Henshall. The teams will meet again on Friday.
There’s more from around the basketball world:
- Buzelis tops the first mock draft posted by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. O’Connor sees the 6’9″ point forward as a comfortable fit for any team because he’s capable of running the offense and reliably hitting mid-range jumpers. Buzelis will have to get stronger and improve his defense throughout the season to keep his No. 1 ranking, O’Connor adds. Rounding out O’Connor’s top five are Holland, Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter, UConn’s Stephon Castle and Almansa.
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report looks at NBA combinations that haven’t worked out, starting with the Timberwolves‘ pairing of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. He also mentions Trae Young and Dejounte Murray in the Hawks‘ backcourt, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with the Clippers, Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland with the Cavaliers, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving with the Mavericks and Joel Embiid and James Harden with the Sixers.
- Former No. 4 overall pick Eddy Curry talks to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic about how he was able to find peace by helping others after a tumultuous playing career. At age 40, Curry is working as a consultant in Texas, advising young players as they deal with the challenges of basketball stardom.