Dan Woike's NBA mock draft

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

The 2024 NBA draft, which will be spread over two nights in New York City beginning Wednesday, is a bit of a mystery for teams around the league. Traditionally, and this shouldn't come as a surprise, the closer you are to the top of a draft, the better a player you're likely to pick.

But there's some sense that this draft, more than most, will come down to what teams value, meaning one organization's big board could look pretty different from another's board.

Although trades aren't just a possibility but almost a certainty, this exercise won't try to predict those. It will, though, lean heavily on team needs. On to the mock:

1. Atlanta Hawks

— The pick: SF Zaccharie Risacher, France

— The need he fills: For a team heavy on small guards and rim-running bigs, a two-way wing with real room to grow on both sides of the ball has real value. In a perfect world, a team like the Hawks would win the lottery and walk into the chance to draft a no-doubt franchise-changing player. Look around. This world look perfect to you?

2. Washington Wizards

— The pick: C Alex Sarr, France

— The need he fills: For a franchise that's in the early stages of a reset, you can do a lot worse than a big who wants to set the tone at the rim on both ends of the floor. Washington has needs everywhere and won't be done adding the right pieces for a couple of seasons, but this is a good box to check.

3. Houston Rockets

— The pick: G Reed Shephard, Kentucky

— The need he fits: Despite his size, he's a do-everything guard who can impact the game with his shooting, rebounding and defense. For a team that should be on the doorstep of the postseason, he'd be an early rookie of the year favorite.

4. San Antonio Spurs

— The pick: C Donovan Clingan, UConn

— The need he fits: Teams might just decide not to try anything near the basket in the next decade or so in San Antonio if the Spurs pair Clingan with Victor Wembanyama. Wembanyama's unique skills on both sides of the ball allow for a pairing like this to occur.

5. Detroit Pistons

— The pick: Matas Buzelis, G-League Ignite

— The need he fits: A mix of upside with the kind of projectable 3-point shot this team desperately needs, Buzelis is a plus athlete who is probably a better shooter than he showed last year in the G-League.

6. Charlotte Hornets

— The pick: SF Dalton Knecht, Tennessee

— The need he fits: Knecht is one of the older players in the draft and one of the better scorers. He should give the Hornets size, maturity and offense — all things the Hornets desperately need as they try to figure out if LaMelo Ball is a player they can build and win around.

7. Portland Trail Blazers

— The pick: SF Cody Williams, Colorado

— The need he fits: Williams has the kind of toolkit NBA teams want from their wings, especially on the offensive end where he can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim while hitting open shots created by others. Defensively, he's not the lockdown player Portland probably needs, but seems like he'll be good enough on that side.

8. San Antonio Spurs

— The pick: G Stephon Castle, UConn

— The need he fits: More defense, more size, more ball skills would give the Spurs the kind of young core that could define a generation of Western Conference basketball. Castle isn't the kind of outside shooter you want from a guard, but he does everything else and could be picked higher because of it.

9. Memphis Grizzlies

— The pick: SF Ron Holland, G-League Ignite

— The need he fits: Holland does a lot of things well — and one thing very badly — but his athleticism, defensive approach on the wing and size fills a real need for a team that should be more competitive next season. His shooting needs a lot of work, but he and Ja Morant as dual rim attackers will challenge defenses.

10. Utah Jazz

— The pick: PG Rob Dillingham, Kentucky

— The need he fits: The Jazz have time, ammunition with future draft picks and needs in their backcourt. Dillingham is an explosive offensive player with quick hands on defense. He's small, but lightning fast.

11. Chicago Bulls

— The pick: PG Devin Carter, Providence

— The need he fits: Carter is a ready-to-go, defensive-minded guard with plenty of offensive skills. He'd give the Bulls flexibility after they reportedly agreed to trade Alex Caruso, a player with a lot of fans around the league, to the Thunder on Thursday.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

— The pick: C Yves Missi, Baylor

— The need he fits: The Thunder were a real contender this postseason, but a lack of heft in the frontcourt proved to be an issue against Minnesota. There are real center options here — Purdue's Zach Edey and Indiana's Kel'el Ware — but Missi's size, athleticism and potential nudge him ahead.

13. Sacramento Kings

— The pick: G Jared McCain, Duke

— The need he fits: He's small and not really a true point guard, but he plays with confidence, and his shot is one of the best in the draft class — the kind of skill that the Kings love and that they could need if Malik Monk is lured elsewhere in free agency.

14. Portland Trail Blazers

— The pick: F Tidjane Salaun, France

— The need he fits: He's got the kind of long-term potential a team like Portland should be prioritizing. If he can grow as a playmaker, he could be a real difference maker down the line.

15. Miami Heat

— The pick: PG Nikola Topic, Serbia


— The need he fits: He's a giant point guard who would be off the board much sooner if it wasn't for a knee injury in June. His shot will have to get better, but he's the kind of guard who can really run an offense.

16. Philadelphia 76ers

— The pick: SG Ja'Kobe Walter, Baylor

— The need he fits: Walter has a real chance to be a two-way player on the wing, the kind of scoring and defensive traits that competitive teams like the 76ers thrive with.

17. Los Angeles Lakers

— The pick: F Tristan da Silva, Colorado

— The need he fits: One year after missing out on Jamie Jaquez Jr. by a single pick, the Lakers would grab a player as ready as any to come in and contribute because of his size, smarts and shooting.

18. Orlando Magic

— The pick: PG Tyler Kolek, Marquette

— The need he fits: Kolek can really shoot and ran an offense despite being the top of the scouting report. He's reportedly been on the climb.

19. Toronto Raptors

— The pick: C Zach Edey, Purdue

— The need he fits: Maybe it's a little on the nose that Canada's team would take a Canadian college basketball legend, but the Raptors are really thin in the front court and Edey's just a massive presence.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers

— The pick: SF Johnny Furphy, Kansas

— The need he fits: The Cavaliers have needs on the wings, and Furphy has a lot of potential as a shooter and scorer. He's really young but the things he does well now could impact winning sooner than later.

21. New Orleans Pelicans

— The pick: C Kyle Filipowski, Duke

— The need he fits: A smart, tough player who has some decent touch and could develop into a shooter. With Jonas Valanciunas headed to free agency, the Pelicans could use help up front.

22. Phoenix Suns

— The pick: PG Isaiah Collier, USC

— The need he fits: He's a tough, physical guard who can take advantage of space getting to the rim. If you struggle from the perimeter like Collier has, you can do worse than playing with Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen and Kevin Durant.

23. Milwaukee Bucks

— The pick: PF DaRon Holmes II, Dayton

— The need he fits: He's one of the most intriguing mysteries in the draft, a player who shut down workouts after the combine signaling a first-round promise. He's a competitive rim protector who shot it great this season and in Chicago and could be gone before here.

24. New York Knicks

— The pick: PG Carlton "Bub" Carrington, Pitt

— The need he fits: Jalen Brunson needs help and Carrington, one of the youngest players in the draft, has shown plenty of comfort being a primary option. He has the skills to run a second unit and look for his own shot.

25. New York Knicks

— The pick: C Kel'el Ware, Indiana

— The need he fits: He's a shot-blocking big who showed he can step out and make shots last season with the Hoosiers. The Knicks could use the shooting and depth at the rim.

26. Washington Wizards

— The pick: SF Kyshawn George, Miami

— The need he fits: He's a really interesting prospect who has some late lottery interest because of his size and his potential after a strong shooting year for Miami.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves

— The pick: SG Baylor Scheierman, Creighton

— The need he fits: He has great positional size and can really shoot the ball, making him an ideal fit on a team with players who can create open looks the way Anthony Edwards can. He's a mature player.

28. Denver Nuggets

— The pick: PF Tyler Smith, G-League Ignite

— The need he fits: The Nuggets could add some help to the frontcourt while taking on a strong shooter in Smith, who played well last season in the G-League despite being just 19.

29. Utah Jazz

— The pick: F Bobi Klintman, Sweden

— The need he fits: A big upside play after impressing scouts in the Australian professional league a season ago. He might end up playing both forward positions, and the Jazz can afford to gamble and be patient.

30. Boston Celtics

— The pick: SF Jaylon Tyson, Cal

— The need he fits: Tyson has good size and strength and the ability to be a primary guy, but he's also got the kind of defensive and shooting complimentary skills that would look great on the defending champs.

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