2024 NBA Mock Draft: Dalton Knecht detonates, Zach Edey dominates in Elite Eight

We are through two weekends of March Madness. Let's look at how the NBA Draft landscape is evolving.

Dalton Knecht, Tennessee
Dalton Knecht, Tennessee / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2024 NBA Draft has been endlessly labeled as "weak" or "unimpressive," but you wouldn't be able to tell from March Madness. The NCAA Tournament has graced TVs nationwide with several standout performances from draft hopefuls, including a few that have approached historic territory.

Sunday's Easter showdown between Purdue and Tennessee was the prime example. Zach Edey and Dalton Knecht waged a battle for the ages, trading blows in a game that went right down to the wire. Knecht finished with 37 points and eight made 3s in the loss. Edey, on maybe the greatest run in recent college basketball history, dropped 40 points and 16 rebounds. Utter dominance.

We were also treated to another titanic display from UConn's Donovan Clingan, who went for 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks in the Huskies' smothering of Illinois. UConn went on a 30-0 run at one point, with Clingan's menacing presence in the paint effectively stalling the Fighting Illini's explosive offense.

It would be foolish to think March Madness hasn't impacted the NBA Draft landscape on some level, especially in a year with so little guaranteed near the top. Postseason performances matter, and scouts will be eagerly awaiting what the Final Four has in store.

For now, here's our latest NBA mock draft. The lottery order was determined via Tankathon simulation.

NBA Mock Draft: 1-5 (SAS, HOU, POR, CHA, DET)

1. San Antonio Spurs — Alex Sarr, C, Perth

The Spurs opt for twin (Eiffel) towers by pairing French 7-footer Alex Sarr with Victor Wembanyama. It's an odd choice at first blush, but equipped with a second lottery pick and enough financial flexibility to pursue point guard depth by other means, it could be San Antonio's best choice. Sarr has the lateral quickness to guard the perimeter on switches, while the combined ground coverage of Sarr and Wemby is enough to neutralize even the most explosive offenses. The Spurs would finally have a proper defensive backbone, and then some. Sarr can anchor the frontcourt when Wemby sits. On the other end, Sarr can hit 3s, attack downhill, and swish the occasional mid-range pull-up. The Spurs have a chance to play extra tall without compromising spacing.

2. Houston Rockets — Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

The Rockets are in win-now mode, so Reed Sheppard is a logical pick. He's not your standard No. 2 overall selection on paper, but Sheppard's historic shooting season (52.1 percent from deep) has NBA scouts hooked. He processes the game at a high level and displays real point guard chops, even if he's more natural in a connective role these days. Sheppard will struggle to guard the ball in certain matchups, but he's a menace in passing lanes despite his slight 6-foot-3 frame. He can plug right into the Rockets' deep, lengthy rotation as a spacer, secondary playmaker, and hard-nosed defender.

3. Portland Trail Blazers — Zaccharie Risacher, F, JL Bourg

Portland adds much-needed size and spacing on the wing. Zaccharie Risacher has produced admirably overseas, offering a combination of 3-point shooting, off-ball instincts, and versatile defense that should fit snugly in Portland's rotation. The Blazers are overflowing with talented guards, but their wing depth is lacking. Risacher doesn't offer much on-ball creation at the moment, but he wouldn't need to in Portland. His ability to open up the floor with catch-and-shoot 3s while defending multiple positions at 6-foot-10 should pay immediate dividends.

4. Charlotte Hornets — Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky

Rob Dillingham steps into the Terry Rozier role, offering another source of playmaking next to LaMelo Ball. Despite coming off the bench at Kentucky, Dillingham quickly emerged as one of college basketball's most electric halfcourt creators. His ball-handling craft and pull-up shooting dynamism suggest genuine All-Star upside. Dillingham will be targeted on defense at 6-foot-2, and there are valid concerns about his ability to finish at the rim against NBA length. But, at the end of the day, skill level and basketball I.Q. make it easy to believe in Dillingham. He could be what elevates Charlotte's offense to the next level.

5. Detroit Pistons — Cody Williams, F, Colorado

There isn't a perfect solution to Detroit's woes in the No. 5 spot, but Cody Williams is a smart upside swing. At 6-foot-9, he's a tremendous open-floor athlete with legitimate playmaking chops. He needs to bulk up and become a higher-volume shooter, but he hit 41.5 percent of his 3s and finished efficiently around the rim as a freshman. He should be able to guard multiple positions, space the floor, produce as a backdoor cutter, and potentially develop into a secondary playmaking mechanism next to Cade Cunningham.

NBA Mock Draft: 6-10 (WAS, SAS, MEM, UTA, HOU)

6. Washington Wizards — Nikola Topic, G, KK Crvena Zvezda

Nikola Topic needs to iron out the jumper, especially when it comes to shooting on the move. Even with concerns about the extent of his scoring repertoire, however, Topic has major appeal as a true 6-foot-6 primary initator. He can get anywhere on the floor, deploying shifty handles and deadly downhill burst to penetrate the defense and create on the fly. Topic is a marvelous below-the-rim finisher and a heads-up passer, expertly manipulating defenders out of pick-and-rolls and locating shooters on the move. He needs to improve on defense, but Washington bets on the upside tied to Topic's shot creation. With Tyus Jones entering free agency, point guard is an area of need for the Wizards.

7. San Antonio Spurs — Isaiah Collier, G, USC

The Spurs add their point guard of the future in Isaiah Collier, who showed major growth over the second half of the season at USC. He trimmed his turnovers, stabilized from 3-point range, and reminded scouts of how special his physical tools are. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, Collier is built like a tank. He has a knack for bumping defenders off their spot and carving out finishes at the rim with his broad shoulders. Such bully-ball techniques could falter at the next level, but Collier's strength and explosiveness is outlier stuff. His poise and pacing in pick-and-rolls improved dramatically as the season progressed. The Spurs need a primary initiator to collapse the defense and spoon-feed Wemby (and Sarr) around the basket.

8. Memphis Grizzlies — Donovan Clingan, C, Connecticut

Donovan Clingan is soaring up draft boards. The Grizzlies obviously need some physicality in the frontcourt after trading Steven Adams. Jaren Jackson Jr. is an all-world defender, but he's at his best when situated next to another imposing rim protector. Clingan has mastered the art of drop coverage. He can wall off the paint while Jackson wreaks havoc as a roamer. On offense, Clingan will set thundering screens and feast on lobs and dump-offs from Ja Morant, an aspect of the offense that has been lacking since Adams' injury last season.

9. Utah Jazz — Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite

Matas Buzelis has elevated his production in lieu of the injured Ron Holland for G League Ignite. At 6-foot-9, he presents one of the most well-rounded skill sets on the board. He needs to up his 3-point volume, but Buzelis flashes soft touch on pull-up jumpers. He can drive-and-kick, operate as a screener and connective passer, or simply work spot-up 3s and backdoor cuts. On defense, Buzelis is a tremendous help-side shot disruptor who covers a lot of ground. The Jazz could use another big wing who can handle the rock and plug various holes. Buzelis is a great Will Hardy player.

10. Houston Rockets — Kyle Filipowski, C, Duke

Houston cashes in its second lottery pick on frontcourt help. Kyle Filipowski was okay in March Madness, but he put together a dominant sophomore campaign on the whole. His skill set is one NBA teams will covet. A true 7-footer, Flip showcases fluid handles, a potent 3-point stroke, and impressive passing chops for his position. The defense also improved drastically compared to his first season in Durham. Flip has the mobility to share the floor with Alperen Sengun in certain matchups. He also solves any questions about the backup five spot, while giving Houston the flexibility to move in a different direction if Jalen Green's surge changes how the front office views Sengun.

NBA Mock Draft: 11-15 (ATL, CHI, POR, NOP, PHI)

11. Atlanta Hawks — Stephon Castle, G, Connecticut

The Hawks' future is exceedingly murky, especially given their relative success since Trae Young went down. Stephon Castle can fit just about anywhere. If the Hawks blow it up, expect Castle to receive extensive ball-handling reps. If Young sticks around and Atlanta angles for the playoffs, Castle can thrive as a connective wing and bullish defender. The 3-point shot is a concern (26.2 percent), but Castle offers a mixture of strength, at-rim finishing, and playmaking vision that could coalesce into a proper offensive star down the line. If that doesn't pan out, he still provides value defensively as a versatile 6-foot-6 stopper.

12. Chicago Bulls — Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite

Ron Holland feels like a potential faller on draft night, which could lead to tremendous value for a team like Chicago. Few teams need it more. The Bulls are the NBA's most directionless franchise, with a good-not-great roster that is destined for the play-in tournament until something meaningfully shifts. Maybe Holland can provide that shift. At 6-foot-8, he's a slippery slasher and a high-energy defender who profiles as one of the best pure athletes on the board. Holland needs to get more consistent from 3-point range, but he can create advantages with his first step and put consistent pressure on the rim.

13. Portland Trail Blazers — Collin Murray-Boyles, F, South Carolina

Collin Murray-Boyles is something of a wild card if he declares for the 2024 draft. At 6-foot-7, he's the rare small-ball big who doesn't shoot 3s. That could turn off some teams, but Murray-Boyles' offensive processing and defensive versatility should land him in the back-end lottery conversation. He's one of the youngest players in the draft. For Portland, he can provide value as a connective passer, at-rim finisher, and potential five-position defender. If Portland wants to go small and inundate teams with speed, CMB unlocks that option.

14. New Orleans Pelicans — Jared McCain, G, Duke

Jared McCain scorched nets and melted rims during Duke's NCAA Tournament run, coming up with two 30+ point games to bolster his resumé. The freshman is arguably the best shooter on the board, comfortable firing off the catch or burying defenses with deep, contested pull-up 3s. McCain also shows potential as a playmaker, weaponizing gear shifts and quick processing speed to create advantages and pass teammates open. The Pelicans land their CJ McCollum successor while adding another floor-bending shooter next to Trey Murphy and Jordan Hawkins.

15. Philadelphia 76ers — Dalton Knecht, F, Tennessee

Despite concerns tied to his age and defensive limitations, it's hard to imagine Dalton Knecht falling much further than this. The Sixers will be right back in the contenders circle next season. Knecht is a plug-and-play contributor who can bomb 3s, work two-man actions with Joel Embiid, and supply legitimate three-level scoring equity as a rookie. He might not have the same upside as his peers, but Knecht's offensive skill set is remarkably well-rounded, and he's still a springy 6-foot-6 athlete. The Sixers could lose Kelly Oubre in free agency; Knecht plugs that hole immediately.

NBA Mock Draft: 16-20 (MIA, TOR, ATL, PHX, ORL)

16. Miami Heat — Tristan da Silva, F, Colorado

Tristan da Silva was excellent during Colorado's brief NCAA Tournament run. Miami opted for experience by drafting UCLA senior Jaime Jaquez Jr. last season. This pick would follow similar logic, with da Silva's positional size, 3-point shooting, and supplementary passing expected to translate to immediate impact. There aren't too many more well-rounded offensive wings at this point in the draft, and da Silva is no slouch on defense.

17. Toronto Raptors — Ja'Kobe Walter, G, Baylor

Toronto used their lottery pick last season to add shooting and connective passing in the form of Gradey Dick. While Ja'Kobe Walter doesn't process the game as sharply as Dick, he's another talented movement shooter who can help further unlock the Raptors' offense. Walter lacks on-ball creation skills, but he's a bursty downhill driver with a talent for torching errant closeouts and finishing through contact at the rim. He also defends well at 6-foot-5, supplying 3-and-D tools and a knack for tough shot-making to a team in need.

18. Atlanta Hawks — Kel'el Ware, C, Indiana

With Clint Capela aging out of his prime, the Hawks could benefit from more frontcourt depth. Kel'el Ware occupies a similar role on paper — that of the towering defensive backstop and vertical lob threat. Ware stands out, however, due to his flashes of 3-point touch (42.5 percent on 1.3 attempts) and coordinated straight-line drives. Onyeka Okongwu has gradually expanded his shooting range, too, so Atlanta could end up with two interchangeable bigs that can even share the floor.

19. Phoenix Suns — Yves Missi, C, Baylor

Yves Missi was a prolific shot-blocker in his freshman season at Baylor. The Suns are running out of time with Jusuf Nurkic, whose prime days are but a memory. Missi won't expand our horizons in terms of basketball theory, but he can dunk everything around the rim, inhale rebounds, and operate as Phoenix's much-needed defensive backbone. The Suns need a big who can step up and guard in space. Missi will oblige. Meanwhile, although he doesn't shoot 3s, Missi does occasionally step out to the free throw line and showcase impressive agility on straight-line drives.

20. Orlando Magic — Johnny Furphy, F, Kansas

Johnny Furphy is fairly raw, but the Magic will see value in a 6-foot-9 shooter with Furphy's instincts for off-ball movement. He needs to get stronger at the point of attack, but Furphy should be able to translate his length and athleticism into disruptive defense over time. Furphy doesn't offer much on the ball offensively, but Orlando has two elite slashing wings and a vast collection of guards. He simply needs to fit in, hit a few 3s, and win over coaches with his selfless attitude.

NBA Mock Draft: 21-25 (NYK, NYK, NOP, CLE, WAS)

21. New York Knicks — Kevin McCullar Jr., F, Kansas

New York needn't bother with prospects who will never see the light of day under Tom Thibodeau. In Kansas' Kevin McCullar, the Knicks get a battle-tested wing defender who should supply enough 3-point shooting to stick. McCullar's emergence as the Jayhawks' go-to star was thoroughly impressive, and while the 3s didn't fall at the highest clip late in the season, McCullar did enough of everything else to establish confidence in NBA front offices.

22. New York Knicks — Devin Carter, G, Providence

Devin Carter and Providence should have been in the NCAA Tournament. Alas, we still saw plenty of Carter's trademark defensive intensity during the regular season. He's only listed at 6-foot-3, but Carter is built strong with an attitude that allows him to guard bigger than his listed height. In addition to his tornado-esque defense, Carter can hit timely 3s and connect dots on offense with rapid-fire passing and strong takes to the rim.

23. New Orleans Pelicans — Zach Edey, C, Purdue

The Pelicans land their presumed replacement for Jonas Valanciunas. It's unclear just how high Zach Edey will rise based on his dominant March Madness run, but the Pelicans should see value in Edey's ability to block shots and finish efficiently around the rim. At 7-foot-4 and 300 pounds, Edey strikes fear into defenses as a screener, not to mention his ability to score with a variety of hook shots and power finishes in the paint. Mobility, especially on defense, is a major concern, but Edey has worked hard to navigate pick-and-roll actions more effectively. His 7-foot-11 wingspan will be hard to score around inside.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers — Kyshawn George, F, Miami

The Cavs still need lasting 3-and-D depth on the wing. Kyshawn George represents an upside swing more than an established contributor, but at 6-foot-8, there's a lot to like. George hit 40.8 percent of his 3s as a freshman and displayed real playmaking chops. He lacks the downhill speed to consistently pressure the rim — not to mention the lack of strength for finishing once he gets there — but George comfortably probes the defense and delivers high-level passes on the move. Add in promising activity level on defense, and there's a great foundation for Cleveland to work with.

25. Washington Wizards — Tidjane Salaun, F, Cholet

Tidjane Salaun is 6-foot-9 with twitchy athleticism and a few impressive stretches of shot-making on his resumé. In a draft short on established top-end talent, it's only natural for the perceived upside of Salaun to gain favor in NBA Draft circles. While Salaun lacks polish to the extreme — including an ugly shot chart and serious lapses on defense — Washington can afford to operate with patience, hoping his above-the-break shooting and explosive downhill forays eventually morph into a more complete skill set.

NBA Mock Draft: 26-30

26. Milwaukee Bucks — DaRon Holmes II, C, Dayton

The Bucks need to start thinking about life after 36-year-old Brook Lopez. It makes sense to draft a potential replacement here in Dayton's DaRon Holmes. Not only is Holmes one of the best rim protectors in college basketball, but he shot 38.6 percent from 3-point range as a junior. He can also pass, working comfortably in various actions on the perimeter or facilitating out of the short roll.

27. Denver Nuggets — Ryan Dunn, F, Virginia

Denver takes the plunge on Ryan Dunn, the rare offensive zero to warrant legitimate first round consideration. The appeal is simple — Dunn might be the best perimeter defender in college basketball. His steal and block numbers at 6-foot-8 are borderline historic. He's a singular disruptor, earning legitimate comps to Matisse Thybulle and Herb Jones. The only problem is, he's worse than both on offense. Denver might have the shooting and the playmaking mechanism necessary to make Dunn work in the dunker's spot while benefiting from his defense.

28. Utah Jazz — Dillon Jones, F, Weber State

Utah grabs another versatile wing in Dillon Jones, who regularly operated as Weber State's de facto point guard at 6-foot-6. While Jones needs to up his 3-point volume, he shows touch on mid-range jumpers and there's inherent appeal to a wing who can so consistently create advantages off the dribble. Jones fits the Utah brand quite well, and he does enough on defense to mitigate concerns about how much of his offensive repertoire will translate.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves — Bub Carrington, G, Pittsburgh

Bub Carrington will still be 18 on draft night. At 6-foot-5, he has great tools for the point guard spot, equipped with shifty handles and an automatic pull-up jumper. Carrington is comfortable launching from well behind the NBA 3-point line and he's a burgeoning pick-and-roll savant, capable of manipulating defenders with gear shifts before locating the roll man or flowing into a jumper. He doesn't pressure the rim at all, but Carrington has plenty of time to round out his skill set and add muscle. It's hard to imagine a better point guard mentor than Mike Conley.

30. Boston Celtics — Milan Momcilovic, F, Iowa State

The Celtics swing for the fences with Iowa State freshman Milan Momcilovic, whose comically soft touch and dynamism as a 6-foot-9 shooter should have him on more NBA Draft boards. The defense will be a concern early on, but Momcilovic's ability to stretch the floor, exploit mismatches in the post, and bail out the offense with contested jumpers is worth a gamble in a weak class.

NBA Mock Draft: Second Round

31. Toronto Raptors — Tyler Smith, F, G League Ignite

32. Utah Jazz — Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette

33. San Antonio Spurs — Jaylon Tyson, G, California

34. Portland Trail Blazers — Justin Edwards, F, Kentucky

35. Milwaukee Bucks — Baylor Scheierman, F, Creighton

36. Indiana Pacers — Payton Sandfort, F, Iowa

37. Minnesota Timberwolves — Coleman Hawkins, F, Illinois

38. Memphis Grizzlies — Kam Jones, G, Marquette

39. New York Knicks — Adem Bona, C, UCLA

40. Portland Trail Blazers — Ajay Mitchell, G, UC Santa Barbara

41. Philadelphia 76ers — Harrison Ingram, North Carolina

42. Charlotte Hornets — Trevon Brazile, F, Arkansas

43. Houston Rockets — Ryan Kalkbrenner, C, Creighton

44. Miami Heat — Walter Clayton Jr., G, Florida

45. San Antonio Spurs — Melvin Ajinca, F, Saint-Quentin

46. Los Angeles Clippers — Hunter Sallis, G, Wake Forest

47. Sacramento Kings — Jalen Bridges, F, Baylor

48. Orlando Magic — KJ Simpson, G, Colorado

49. Washington Wizards — Tyrese Proctor, G, Duke

50. Boston Celtics — Jamal Shead, G, Houston

51. Detroit Pistons — Mantas Rubstavicius, F, New Zealand

52. Indiana Pacers — Pacome Dadiet, F, Ratiopharm Ulm

53. Indiana Pacers — Izan Almansa, C, G League Ignite

54. Los Angeles Lakers — Bronny James, G, USC

55. Golden State Warriors — Oso Ighodaro, C, Marquette

56. Denver Nuggets — Juan Núñez, G, Ratiopharm Ulm

57. Memphis Grizzlies — D.J. Wagner, G, Kentucky

58. Dallas Mavericks — Alex Toohey, F, Sydney