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2024 NBA Draft Grades (Round 1)

It's been a few days, but the 2024 NBA Draft has officially come and gone. Coming into this draft it was honestly one of the worst draft classes I can ever remember for the NBA. Well, I have decided to grade every draft pick made in Round 1. I won't be doing Round 2 because those picks are usually lottery tickets or long shots to make the NBA.

Keep in mind, if I assign a selection the grade of "BILLY KING" it signifies an F grade. This is, of course, in honor of Billy King, the former Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers GM. He is considered the worst GM in NBA history.

Alright, let's get into the 2024 NBA Draft grades...

1. Atlanta Hawks - SF Zaccharie Risacher Grade: B+

This pick was either going to be Reed Shepherd or Zaccharie Risacher. I don't love Risacher at pick one, but this draft is one of the weakest I have seen in years. Also, it makes sense why Atlanta went in this direction. They needed a high three and D guy badly and Risacher fits the mold well out of all the top prospects. Risacher has a ton of potential in this league and if Atlanta can develop him, he should be a nice piece to build around Trae Young.

This draft is so bad that the Hawks settled for a three-and-D guy with the No. 1 overall pick, and yet it’s not a terrible selection. It’s underwhelming that the Hawks couldn’t trade down, but I’d be shocked if there was interest for anyone to move up for him.

2. Washington Wizards - PF/C Alexandre Sarr, Grade: A

Selecting Alexandre Sarr in the first round was a clear choice, particularly after he declined workouts with the Atlanta Hawks, indicating a preference not to play there. Given that the Wizards have one of the weakest rosters in the NBA, they were in dire need of talent. Sarr stood out as the best available player and possesses the potential to become the cornerstone of the Wizards franchise.

3. Houston Rockets - SG Reed Sheppard, Grade: B+

I would rather have Stephon Castle at this spot, but Sheppard is a solid option too. No matter what the Rockets needed a shooting guard and Sheppard provides an immediate upgrade. Not only on the bench for the present, but potentially for the future if he is developed right. I would keep sending Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks thank-you letters for having control of their draft picks.

4. San Antonio Spurs - PG/SG Stephon Castle, Grade: A

Castle stands out as a favorite prospect in this draft class. The Spurs, aiming to build around Victor Wembanyama, found a strong candidate in Castle. His playmaking abilities, robust defensive skills, and versatility make him a valuable asset. While his shooting may require refinement, Castle's overall potential is highly promising.

5. Detroit Pistons - SF/PF Ron Holland, Grade: D

The Pistons are such a mess right now. They fired Monty Williams way too late, enter the draft with no coach, got the 5th pick again, and tried desperately to trade this pick in the draft. Well more bad news for Piston fans, they couldn't find a trade partner and kept the pick taking Holland.

I don't hate Holland, but this is way too early for him to be drafted. I had him as a mid 1st round. While he has upside, his shooting ability is very lackluster, and he isn't the greatest one-on-one defender.

6. Charlotte Hornets - SF Tidjane Salaun, Grade: D

As a fan, I was disappointed when the Hornets didn't trade down in the draft. I'm also skeptical about their decision to pick Salaun at this spot. It seems the Hornets were impressed with his private workouts, and rumors suggest that Charles Lee and Steve Clifford rated him highly in the draft.

Salaun may have potential, but there were better options available. He's quite a raw talent to be selected so early and seems more like a long-term project. I had him pegged as a mid-to-late first-round pick.

I also questioned the organization's decision last year to choose Brandon Miller over Scoot Henderson. I hope to be proven wrong again and that they've made the right choice. For now, my grade for this pick is a D.

7. Portland Trail Blazers - C Donovan Clingan, Grade: A

Now this is an interesting pick. Especially with Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams future in Portland up in the air. Clingan's size and athleticism stand out from most prospects. When watching the tape on him, he is a very strong rim director and can become a rebounding machine in Portland. At this spot, it's good value too. Not bad Portland.

8. Minnesota Timberwolves - PG Robert Dillingham, Grade: BILLY KING

ROBERT DILLINGHAM? At pick eight? Why? Dillingham was mainly a bench player in college and he's not good on defense. He's okay offensively, but I don't understand why many scouts mocked him this high in the draft. Also, why did the Timberwolves decide to trade up to pick him when there were much better prospects on the board? The Timberwolves better know what they're doing here because it doesn't make sense.

9. Memphis Grizzlies - C Zach Edey, Grade: BILLY KING

Memphis must have panicked with this pick. The Grizzlies attempted to trade up in the draft for Clingan but couldn't finalize a deal. Consequently, they remained at their original pick and opted to select Zach Edey. Although the Grizzlies needed a center, there were arguably better options available. Edey's offensive and rebounding abilities are intriguing; however, his defensive skills are lacking, and his mobility is not impressive.

10. Utah Jazz - SG/SF Cody Williams, Grade: B+

I would have preferred Matas Buzelis, but Cody Williams is an acceptable choice. Williams will require some development time due to his raw talent, yet he's adaptable, possesses a solid shot, and is highly athletic. He could become a valuable two-way player for Utah. I approve of this selection, although I don't anticipate him being game-ready until his second year.

11. Chicago Bulls - SF/PF Matas Buzelis, Grade: A+

It's about time Buzelis was picked here. I'm shocked that Buzelis wasn't selected in the Top 10 of the draft, but it's a gain for Chicago. He could potentially replace DeMar DeRozan as trade rumors continue to swirl around him.

As the Bulls may be overhauling the team, they really needed a forward, and Buzelis was the best available. His offensive game is quite strong and will only improve as he hopes his shooting skills. His defensive abilities are highly underrated, and he could very well step into Alex Caruso's role as a reliable defender.

What's particularly exciting about this pick is that Buzelis is a Chicago native and grew up as a Bulls fan, making this pairing seem like it was meant to be.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder - PG Nikola Topic, Grade: A-

It's surprising that Oklahoma City chose to draft Nikola Topic, given the number of guards already on the Thunder roster. However, considering the impressive collection of picks that Sam Presti has amassed, it seems justifiable to use a first-round pick on a player of Topic's caliber. Had it not been for a torn ACL, Topic might have been a top 5 pick. Although he is unlikely to play this year, the Thunder have the luxury of pacing his development and recovery.

13. Sacramento Kings - SG Devin Carter, Grade: B+

Sacramento's defense has been notably weak, and enhancing it was the top priority during the offseason. Devin Carter could be instrumental in this area as he is known for his defensive prowess. Although his offensive skills are very raw and will require time to develop a more polished offensive skill set, his defensive capabilities justified his selection in the first round and I anticipated him being chosen around this spot.

14. Washington Wizards - SG Carlington "Bub" Carrington, Grade: A

It was stunning hearing that the Washington Wizards were going to trade Deni Avidja for this selection. Especially with how underrated Avidja was on that team. The Wizards pretty much needed everything with how poorly built the team was and definitely needed a guard.

Carrington was the best one on the board, so this makes sense. While he's going to need more time as he is a much younger prospect, the Wizards can give him plenty of time to develop while they rebuild

15. Miami Heat - C Kel'el Ware, Grade: C-

Ehh, not a big fan of this pick. The concerns regarding Ware's abilities are not a reflection of his athletic prowess, smooth shooting skills, and defensive solidity. The primary issue with Ware is his inconsistency and motor, which require improvement.

The main problem with this selection is the rationale behind the Heat's decision to use a mid-first-round pick on a center. Particularly when they are in 'win now' mode and face the possibility of Jimmy Butler's departure upon his contract's expiration. The Heat did not have a pressing need for a backup center, so this pick is getting a C- grade.

16. Philadelphia 76ers - PG Jarred McCain, Grade: B

Over Dalton Knecht? Look, Jared McCain shows promise as a reliable three-point shooter and could serve as a valuable rotational piece for the 76ers. Yet, Knecht was arguably the more talented prospect and would have immediately addressed a gap in the roster, heck maybe cracked the starting rotation. It seems the 76ers opted for a younger option and a better fit for their scheme by selecting McCain.

17. Los Angeles Lakers - SF Dalton Knecht, Grade: A+

I'll be frank, I genuinely believed the Lakers would draft Bronny James in this spot, particularly to guarantee LeBron ends his NBA career in Los Angeles. LeBron has previously expressed his desire to conclude his career playing alongside his son. However, the Lakers chose not to do so in Round 1 and instead selected a prospect who could potentially be a significant draft-day steal.

Dalton Knecht slipped in the draft due to his age, with many teams opting for younger talent. Nonetheless, the Lakers are in a 'win-now' mode, and Knecht is poised to make an immediate impact. He is an exceptional perimeter scorer, which the Lakers desperately needed. Although his defense requires improvement, his offensive prowess should have secured him a top-10 spot in this draft class.

18. Orlando Magic - PF Tristian da Silva, Grade: A

The Magic's selection of da Silva is a logical move as they required a ready-to-play option. He's a reliable shooter and has the potential to contribute defensively as well. Additionally, the Magic required more depth at the power forward position and da Silva was the last power forward prospect on whom I had a first-round grade. Although da Silva is an older player, he will be immediately useful for a team aiming to advance to the next phase of their rebuild.

19. Toronto Raptors - PG Ja'Kobe Walter, Grade: B+

I had Walter going in my mock draft to Toronto for the past week now. The Raptors needed a reliable sharpshooter who could shoot both 2 and 3-pointers. This fills a need as Toronto also required some point guard depth. Now Walter's defense is a bit of a mess and needs work, but his offensive upside fits with the selection.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers - SF Jaylon Tyson, Grade: C-

Over Ryan Dunn, DaRon Holmes, Yves Missi, Kyshawn George, and Baylor Scheierman? Look, Tyson has talent, but his basketball IQ isn't great and his defense is lackluster. He has the potential to be a swingman-type player and the Cavaliers could use one, but this pick was a reach with the talent available to choose from.

21. New Orleans Pelicans - C Yves Missi, Grade: A

Well, this pick is a sign that Jonas Valanciunas is not going to return to the team next season. Missi was my 4th ranked center prospect in this draft and I had the Pelicans as one of his teams of best fit. The Pelicans needed another rim protector and Missi was the best one on the board. His offense is a work in progress, but this pick was mainly focused on helping the defense in New Orleans, and I don't blame them for picking Messi here.

22. Denver Nuggets - PF DaRon Holmes II, Grade: B

Interestingly, the Nuggets decided to trade up for DaRon Holmes. I am not a fan of this class, but I get why the Nuggets decided to do this. They needed a versatile big man depth piece and DaRon Holmes fits the need and the value. Now the question is if Holmes can transition well heading into the NBA. Time will tell on that front, but it is worth taking the chance drafting Homes at this spot.

23. Milwaukee Bucks - SG A.J. Johnson, Grade: BILLY KING

Wait, huh? Why? A.J. Johnson is an extremely raw prospect and I had him pegged as undrafted. For a team in win-now mode, it baffles me why they would opt for a project player like Johnson. Then again, this is the same team that believes bringing in Doc Rivers to "coach" in 2024 is a wise decision.

24. Washington Wizards - SG Kyshawn George, Grade: A

This draft class is not good and I usually am not a fan of teams trading up in this class, but I don't blame the Wizards for doing it to land Kyshawn George. Especially as the Wizards have one of the worst rosters in the league and they needed a swingman-type player.

He is going to need some time in the G League as he needs to develop his quickness, improve his ball control, and improve his decision-making. George still has a ton of potential and could be very useful for a rebuilding Wizards squad.

25. New York Knicks - SF Pacome Dadiet, Grade: D

I like what the Knicks have been doing the past few years, but this selection is a bit of a headscratcher. Dadiet lacks consistency, does a terrible job creating opportunities for teammates, and his rebounding is not good at all. He has the potential to be a 3 and D type player, but I had Dadiet as a 2nd-round prospect. It is not a Billy King level grade, but it's definitely in the D Range.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder - SF Dillon Jones, Grade: BILLY KING

Why did the Thunder trade five 2nd round draft picks for Dillon Jones? I get that they have an insane pick collection, but this was an overpay. Especially in an awful draft and the guy they picked I had going nowhere near the first round of the draft. I had him as a late 2nd round prospect. I get that he has some versatility, but he is super inconsistent and has a big issue with turning the ball over.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves - SG Terrance Shannon Jr., Grade: A-

I'd rather have Baylor Scheirman at this spot, but Shannon is a solid choice too. Especially with how versatile Shannon is and the Timberwolves are getting a very athletic player who has potential. A big problem with Shannon is his off the court issues. He would have been a much higher pick if he never had all those allegations attached, but Minnesota felt he was too good to pass on here.

28. Phoenix Suns - SF Ryan Dunn, Grade: A+

One of the major issues for the Phoenix Suns during last year's playoffs was the lack of strong bench players. Ideally, they should have opted for a point guard, as the team also lacks a standout player in that position. However, Dunn was too valuable for them to overlook.

Given that it was the later stages of the first round, it made sense to draft the best available talent rather than addressing a specific need. Particularly for a player like Dunn, who could have been selected as a lottery pick, the Suns made a significant gain by acquiring a player with exceptional defensive skills.

29. Utah Jazz - PG Isaiah Collier, Grade: B

The Jazz are currently retooling and could benefit from a point guard with potential. Collier presents a viable choice, and his draft position aligns with expectations. His shooting shows promise despite his issues with turnovers and occasional inconsistency in passing. Development time in the G League will be necessary, but as a late first-round selection, he's certainly a worthwhile investment.

30. Boston Celtics - SG/SF Baylor Scheierman, Grade: A+

The rich keep getting richer. The Boston Celtics just won an NBA Championship and now they drafted the best prospect on the board. Scheierman is such an intriguing swingman-type player, and the Celtics needed another role player/swingman on their bench. He is also a very underrated shooter and defender as well. Not bad Celtics, have an A+ grade.


Those are my Grades for the 1st round of the 2024 NBA Draft. What do you guys think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? How would you grade the 2024 NBA Draft? Leave your thoughts in the comment section and don't forget to give a like on this article, along with checking Stadium Rant's NBA content.


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