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Top 5 Winners of the 2024 NBA Draft

Top 5 Winners of the 2024 NBA Draft

The NBA draft is in the books and although it is not known as a strong draft, there were some fun moments from night one.

I try not to be negative with teams because the draft is such a crap shoot (especially this one) that it feels silly to tell someone they were a loser. I once thought Toronto was a loser for taking Scottie Barnes so clearly it is hard to predict.

Honorable Mentions

Minnesota Timberwolves/Rob Dillingham

I am not in love with the fit in Minnesota but I can not knock adding high-end talent for such a low price. The Timberwolves traded two first-round picks that will happen when Anthony Edwards is in his prime for Robert Dillingham. A defensive-focused team is a good situation for Dillingham but from Minnesota’s perspective, he is an upside player who at worst is a bench spark plug scorer. The Timberwolves also added a win-now player in Terrence Shannon when paired with Anthony Edwards making for an elite athletic wing group.

Brooklyn Nets

They don’t crack the top 5 because they did not add any actual players but the way they righted their direction was impressive. First, the Nets dealt Mikal Bridges for 5 first-round picks, a pick swap, and 2 seconds which on its own is a great accumulation of assets. After that the Nets dealt 3 picks they received from the trading the big 3 for 2 of their own pick back in 2025 and 2026.

This allows the Brooklyn Nets to finally control their own destiny when it comes to tanking. Expect a hard tank these next two seasons with top-end superstars such as Cooper Flagg, Ace Bailey, Nolan Traore, AJ Dybantsa, and Cam Boozer. The Nets still have Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith, two wings they can flip for more assets as they undertake a rebuild in Brooklyn.

5. Reed Sheppard

Reed Sheppard was the best shooter in this draft and he was rewarded by being the 3rd pick in the draft. In Houston, a lot of pressure will be off his shoulders with other creators such as FVV, Jalen Green, and Alperan Sengun on the roster. This will allow Sheppard to focus on shooting and point-of-attack defense early in his career with the potential to blossom into something more later. The Rockets are hoping to push for the play in and what Sheppard can contribute right away helps tremendously.

4. Los Angeles Lakers

Dalton Knecht was 8th on my board and he fell to the Lakers at 17. Not only is the value of the pick super high but he is an incredible fit around LeBron and Anthony Davis. An athletic, strong wing who can spot up and attack closeouts is the recipe for success around LeBron. What the Lakers do the rest of the offseason will be fascinating but they are off to a great start with Dalton Knecht sliding to them.

3. Stephon Castle

My #2 ranked prospect, Castle gets put in a great position where he can sharpen his lead guard skills next to Wembanyama. I would have loved the fit regardless but Castle also should be happy considering his desire to be a point guard looks like it will come true. How the Spurs build out the rest of this roster will be intriguing but Castle and Vassell is a good start around their generational talent.

2. Trail Blazers

I LOVED what Portland did. Portland moved pieces of excess for Deni Avdija a legitimate NBA starting forward who is only 23 and on his rookie deal. They didn’t stop there drafting my #3 ranked player, Donovan Clingan. Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Deni Avdija, and Donovan Clingan is a fun starting five that no one will want to play come the second half of the season. Clingan’s selection does make DeAndre Ayton expendable but it is another opportunity for them to accumulate assets as they build.

1. Washington Wizards

I never thought I would say this. On my old scouting reports I used to list the Wizards as a poor fit for every prospect but it seems those days are over. At picks 2, 14, and 24, Washington selected the #1, #6, and #20 players on my board. Alex Sarr is going to be a terrific NBA rim protector and the offense can be developed with this team. Bub Carrington has as high of an upside as any guard in this draft and is now paired with a lob threat. Kyshawn George is enticing at a minimum and can give Washington a shooting early on.

Best of all, Washington will be bad again next season. These 3 prospects all have bright futures but it is hard to imagine any of them affect winning too much early. Washington already has Bilal Coulibaly and can add another high-end talent in next year’s draft before they start their acceleration through the standings.


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