2024 NBA Mock Draft: Crowded race for No. 1 spot commences

A rough outline of the 2024 NBA Draft picture as teams gear up for another year of prospect evaluation.

Izan Almansa, Alex Sarr, Ron Holland
Izan Almansa, Alex Sarr, Ron Holland / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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. Guard. 11. 11. . Kansas. Elmarko Jackson. 100. Elmarko Jackson. player

There are questions about Elmarko Jackson's ability to play full-time point guard, but the Pacers can skirt around those concerns by pairing him with Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard. The 6-foot-3 Jackson is due for decent minutes as a freshman at Kansas, where his explosive slashing and gritty defense should earn rave reviews.

Jackson has flashed pull-up shooting out to the 3-point line, but he shines most when he's getting downhill. Mixing dynamic handles with a blistering first step, Jackson is difficult to stay in front of and he's a bursty, acrobatic finisher at the rim. If he can learn to leverage his drives to create for teammates more frequently, there is NBA star potential.

. Connecticut. Donovan Clingan. Donovan Clingan. 69. . Big. player. 12. 12

Donovan Clingan's quiet freshman season at UConn got quite loud during the Huskies' championship run. He probably could have been a first-round pick in 2023, but Clingan will return to school with expanded duties as a sophomore. He will hope to carve out a place in next year's lottery.

At 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-7 wingspan, Clingan towers over most players in the post. He's not the most "modern" five, but he can move his feet reasonably well in space and he will dominate in drop coverage when the matchups allow it. His shot-blocking instincts are top shelf and he's a mega-efficient play finisher in the paint on offense. The Pelicans could look to replace Jonas Valanciunas with a defensive anchor.