2024 NBA Mock Draft: Pistons face difficult decision in No. 1 spot

The latest 2024 NBA Mock Draft features the Detroit Pistons making a difficult choice at No. 1, with Ron Holland, Alex Sarr, and Nikola Topic on the rise.

Ron Holland, G League Ignite
Ron Holland, G League Ignite / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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The 2024 NBA Draft is a handful of short months away. We are still in the thick of the college and NBA seasons, so certainty is at a bare minimum. We can't know the exact draft order until the lottery, and now, we won't even know which prospects are picked on which day. The NBA is planning to spread June's draft across two days. That will be quite the adjustment for all involved.

You've probably heard this already, but the 2024 class doesn't exactly measure up to 2023 (or any of the last few draft classes, frankly). The top is a complete free-for-all. The No. 1 pick will probably be determined by which team gets the pick, not which prospect has been hailed as the golden goose for the last half-decade.

Several candidates are in the mix right now. ESPN recently polled 20 NBA executives on who will be the top pick. Perth's Alex Sarr received the most votes with 12, followed by G League Ignite's Ron Holland (2), USC's Isaiah Collier (1), and Red Star's Nikola Topic (1). Four executives simply refused to answer, which is the perfect summation of how nonsensical the question even is right now. There is no clear-cut choice.

In addition to those on the ESPN poll, JL Bourg's Zaccharie Risacher, Colorado's Cody Williams, and G League Ignite's Matas Buzelis all merit special attention when it comes to potential No. 1 picks. So much of the draft landscape won't become clear until individual workouts start and teams begin to develop more concrete opinions, often with a heavy flavor of recency bias.

So, as we embark on yet another mock draft, keep in mind just how muddied the field is. Team context will matter more than is usually does from the very beginning.

We determined the lottery order via Tankathon simulation. And, with the first pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select...

2024 NBA Mock Draft: Updated Jan. 18, 2024

G-League Ignite. . 1. 1. player. 64. . Wing. Ron Holland. Ron Holland

The G League Ignite have done Ron Holland no favors with their lackluster point guard play and compressed spacing. Holland has been a volatile presence on draft boards due to his 3-point inconsistency and turnover woes, but he's still a bursty 6-foot-7 wing whose two-way skill set merits consideration at the top.

Holland covers a ton of ground on defense. He doesn't project as a go-to shot creator, but Holland can get downhill quickly off the catch, using an explosive first step and long strides to attack the heart of opposing defenses. Holland's athleticism pops, and in a class short on established top-end talent, NBA teams are bound to covet his particular archetype.

The Pistons can streamline his role on offense while investing in the defensive kineticism of Holland and Ausar Thompson on the wing.

. Alex Sarr. 2. . 2. 34. Big. Perth Wildcats. Alex Sarr. player

Alex Sarr built up a lot of momentum prior to a recent hip injury. The 7-footer is the classic No. 1 pick candidate from the 2024 class. He boasts elite physical tools, standing 7-foot-1 and equipped with a rangy 7-foot-5 wingspan. Sarr fits the direction of today's game. He can stick with ball-handlers on the perimeter or defend the paint. He needs to get stronger, but Sarr's instincts as a help-side rim protector present a high floor.

He needs to get out of his own way at times offensively, but Sarr can operate as a simple play-finisher or as a more dynamic stretch big. His coordination on straight-line drives is highly promising. Sarr often falls back on contested jumpers more than he should, but his touch extends out to the 3-point line. If he can embrace physicality in the paint and become a more consistent shooter, there's no denying the upside.

The Blazers have plenty of frontcourt talent, but DeAndre Ayton isn't a long-term solution and Robert Williams is frequently injured.