10 NBA Draft prospects on breakout watch in 2024 March Madness

The NCAA Tournament bracket is officially set. Here are the NBA Draft prospects on breakout watch.

Elliot Cadeau, North Carolina Tar Heels
Elliot Cadeau, North Carolina Tar Heels / Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports
6 of 10

5. Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter just needs to get hot at the right time

Ja'Kobe Walter arrived on the college basketball stage as a natural gunner. He opened the season with a torrential scoring stretch and firmly planted his flag in the NBA Draft lottery. The buzz has softened over time, however, as scouts are starting to become leery of Walter's one-dimensional skill set on the offensive end.

On one hand, Walter is tailor-made for role-player duties at the next level. He's a truly dynamic shooter, comfortable running off screens, hitting movement threes, and burying shots under duress. What he lacks in ball-handling chops, Walter often makes up for with off-ball movement and clever one or two-dribble sidesteps. He's also a powerful driver, 6-foot-5 with the strength of an enraged bull. He can draw fouls, absorb contact, and finish with craft at the rim.

That said, Walter is heavily reliant on his jumper and he's only hitting 34.0 percent of his threes. That is worrisome, even when degree of difficulty is taken into account. Walter doesn't create for teammates and he's not a true iso threat, often struggling to generate advantages with his rudimentary handles. That can all change with time and practice, of course, but lottery teams often hope for... more.

Still, despite valid concerns and split opinions, all it would take to really push Walter into the upper echelon of the lottery is a dominant shot-making stretch in March. If he can put Baylor on his shoulders and convince NBA front offices that his shooting is elite, it's curtains.