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. Kentucky. D.J. Wagner. 13. D.J. Wagner. player. . 13. 86

D.J. Wagner will battle concerns about his size at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, not to mention middling 3-point numbers in high school. He will need to prove to teams that he can operate efficiently and effectively as a lead ball-handler, the role he figures to shoulder at Kentucky.

If he can make strides as a passer and shooter, Wagner will have no problem staking his claim on a lottery spot. He's a deadly driver, blessed with shifty handles, elite change-of-pace ability, and a dizzying array of finishing moves around the rim. The Wolves need a point guard of the future, still.

. Wing. 27. 14. Melvin Ajinca. Melvin Ajinca. 14. player. . Saint-Quentin

At 6-foot-8, Melvin Ajinca has the classic 3-and-D appeal that could land him in the lottery. With so much uncertainty at the top of the draft, teams could gravitate toward "safe" picks. Ajinca has a left-handed canon from 3-point range and he can defend a few different positions with his blend of size and strength.

There are flashes of potential beyond spot-up shooting, too. Ajinca has a nifty step-back at his disposal, which could become more dangerous if he refines his ball-handling technique. He shows promising awareness as a cutter. The Knicks have guards galore and a couple bigs to sift through, so a bigger wing who can space the floor is a logical pick.