RJ Felton

Draft Notes: Bronny, Hawks, Sheppard, Thomas, Felton

The Suns will hold a workout with Bronny James at some point before next month’s draft, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, James has received workout invitations from over 10 teams but is expected to visit only a handful of clubs, including Phoenix and the Lakers.

The Suns hold just one pick in the 2024 draft and it’s a first-rounder, at No. 22. Charania suggests that James is among the players in consideration with that pick, but Doug Haller of The Athletic is skeptical that Phoenix will use its first-rounder on Bronny, given that the team probably needs to turn that pick into a player who has a better chance of contributing immediately, whether that’s in the draft or on the trade market. The former USC guard is ranked 54th on ESPN’s big board of 2024 prospects.

Speaking to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, James’ agent Rich Paul stressed that his client won’t sign a two-way contract and expressed a belief that Bronny going as high as No. 22 isn’t out of the question.

“Bronny’s range has been all over. Some teams think he goes 20 to 40, some say 30-50, and some teams think he’ll go undrafted,” Paul said. “It just takes one team. This is something I do every year during the draft process. This is not Bronny-centric. He’s a part of our draft class. I have to try to help find the right fit for all my guys as well as the right deal. So that’s how I’m looking at it.”

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo have updated their list of the top 100 prospects for the 2024 draft and shared new intel (Insider link) on their top 25 players. Among the notable tidbits from their latest update: Givony and Woo say that Zaccharie Risacher, Alexandre Sarr, and Donovan Clingan are among the players on the Hawks‘ short list at the top of the draft, with Clingan believed to have some fans within Atlanta’s front office. Givony adds that it’s hard to see Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard falling further than No. 5 in the draft.
  • After testing the draft waters this spring, former Northern Colorado forward Saint Thomas will transfer to USC and continue playing college ball, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Thomas had a breakout junior year that saw him average 19.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game for the Bears across 32 starts.
  • East Carolina guard RJ Felton has withdrawn from the NBA draft pool as well, tweets Rothstein. Felton, who has spent the last three seasons with the Pirates, will remain at East Carolina for his senior year.

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2024 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2024 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 195 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 138 are from colleges, 43 had been playing for teams internationally, and 14 were playing non-college ball stateside (ie. the G League or Overtime Elite).

While that early entrant total obviously far exceeds the number of players who will be selected in this year’s draft (58), it’s down significantly from the figures we’ve seen in recent years. A record 353 early entrants initially declared for the draft in 2021, but that number dropped to 283 in 2022 and 242 a year ago. The NCAA’s NIL policy, which allows college athletes to be paid based on their name, image, and likeness, has presumably been a major factor in that trend.

This year’s total of 195 early entrants figures to decline significantly by May 29 and again by June 16, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it’s still likely that the eventual number of early entrants will exceed 58 players. That group will join the college seniors with no remaining eligibility and other automatically eligible players in this year’s draft pool.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2024 draft is fully up to date and can be found right here.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:

Newly added players

College players:

These players either didn’t publicly announce that they were entering the draft or we simply missed it when they did.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.

Other players:

  • Abdullah Ahmed, C, Westchester Knicks (born 2003)
  • Somto Cyril, C, Overtime Elite (born 2005)
  • Reynan Dos Santos, G, Overtime Elite (born 2004)
  • Djordjije Jovanovic, F, Ontario Clippers (born 2003)
  • Jalen Lewis, F/C, Overtime Elite (born 2005)
  • Malique Lewis, F, Mexico City Capitanes (born 2004)
  • Babacar Sane, F, G League Ignite (born 2003)

Players removed

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have had no NCAA eligibility remaining, making them automatically draft-eligible; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

It seems that last possibility is a real one, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets that a “miscommunication or mishap’ at the league office may result in a dozen or more additional names being added to the NBA’s early entrant list.

We’ve still removed the following names from our early entrant list for the time being, but it sounds like some could be re-added soon.

Note: Some of these players may also be transferring to new schools.