2024 NBA Mock Draft: Zach Edey, Donovan Clingan rule first weekend of March Madness

The first weekend of March Madness has come and gone. Here's how the NBA Draft landscape shapes up.

Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers
Zach Edey, Purdue Boilermakers / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The first weekend of March Madness was quite the ride.

We are mostly rid of the true underdogs, unfortunately. The only double-digit seed going to the Sweet 16 is NC State, arguably the hottest team in college basketball and champions of the best basketball conference. Of note, the ACC can claim four of the 16 teams left.

There were several commendable performances across the board, many of which have direct implications on the 2024 NBA Draft picture. Purdue's Zach Edey was the undeniable standout, leading Purdue to the most dominant Round of 32 victory in recent memory. He's the first player since 1995 to post 50+ points and 35+ rebounds through the first two games of the NCAA Tournament.

We were also blessed with some great basketball from the No. 1 overall seed, UConn. Donovan Clingan put together a defensive masterclass in the Huskies' second-round win over Northwestern, posting eight blocks to go along with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

It was quite the showcase weekend for bigs in general. Oregon's N'Faly Dante provided one of the most memorable performances of the tournament, despite the Ducks' double-OT loss to Creighton. He dropped 28 points and 20 rebounds. In Dayton's loss to Arizona, DaRon Holmes posted 23 points and 11 rebounds to assert himself as a first-round prospect.

Here's how the NBA Draft landscape sits as we await what should be an exciting Sweet 16.

The order was determined via Tankathon simulation.

NBA Mock Draft: 1-5 (POR, NOP, WAS, CHA, DET)

1. Portland Trail Blazers — Alex Sarr, C, Perth

Portland opts for frontcourt reinforcements despite the recent surge in production from Deandre Ayton. While Ayton can score in bunches when motivated, his inconsistency has plagued Portland all season (and Phoenix before that). At 7-foot-1, Alex Sarr can reliably switch on the perimeter or wall off the paint. He needs to fill out his frame and improve his physicality, but Sarr's immense ground coverage on defense is supplemented by a high offensive ceiling. He can finish vertically at the rim, or space out to the 3-point line. In between, Sarr is cultivating some real face-up juice. He has franchise big potential, and he should complement Portland's gaggle of guards quite well.

Read our full Alex Sarr scouting report here.

2. New Orleans Pelicans — Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

The Pelicans ignore Reed Sheppard's forgettable NCAA Tournament appearance to focus on one of the best freshmen campaigns in recent memory. Despite valid concerns about his physical limitations at 6-foot-3, Sheppard is an all-time great college shooter (52.1 percent on 3s) with point guard potential tied to his underrated straight-line burst and impressive playmaking instincts. The on-ball defense is a major concern, but Sheppard's activity level and I.Q. should flourish when paired with the length of New Orleans' lineup. Sheppard has the chance to contribute day one for an aspiring contender like the Pelicans.

Read our full Reed Sheppard scouting report here.

3. Washington Wizards — Nikola Topic, G, KK Crvena zvezda

Washington needs a point guard. Tyus Jones is about to leave in free agency, unless the Wizards prematurely drop a bag. Why not field his replacement on a rookie contract, tabbing Serbia's Nikola Topic to lead the offense into the future. Topic is an oddball top prospect, but his ability to get anywhere on the floor and consistently pressure the rim at 6-foot-6 is hard to overlook. He completely lacks a pull-up jumper right now, which could prove problematic, but Topic's downhill burst and craft on finishes in the paint is enough to bank on. He shows tremendous vision working out of pick-and-rolls, offering Washington a table-setter for the long run.

Read our full Nikola Topic scouting report here.

4. Charlotte Hornets — Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky

The Hornets essentially plug Rob Dillingham into the Terry Rozier role, with hopes that he could become something even greater. LaMelo Ball is a playmaking wizard, but he's not the most advanced halfcourt scorer. He's at his best as a super-charged connector, and he would benefit from Dillingham's ability to create advantages and break down the defense in isolation. Dillingham is perfectly comfortable off the ball too, flying into spot-up 3s and attacking off the catch. His passing I.Q., ball-handling creativity, and shot-making firepower all suggest real star-level upside. If he translates next to the burgeoning talents of Ball and Brandon Miller, the Charlotte offense will be hard to stop.

Read our full Rob Dillingham scouting report here.

5. Detroit Pistons — Zaccharie Risacher, F, JL Bourg

Strong production overseas and a projectable archetype has Zaccharie Risacher floating near the top of draft boards. He's an obvious fit for the Pistons, providing 6-foot-10 size and defensive versatility on the wing to go along with a smooth 3-point stroke. He can mirror ball-handlers at the point of attack on defense or cause disruptions with his length in passing lanes. On the offensive end, we have seen enough flashes of transition ball-handling and rapid-fire processing to suggest that Risacher can transcend his 3-and-D label. That said, he struggles to score at the rim and he's certainly not a dynamic self-creator.

Read our full Zaccharie Risacher scouting report here.

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

6. San Antonio Spurs — Cody Williams, F, Colorado

Cody Williams battled through an ankle injury late in the season, but it shouldn't hurt his stock much. The Spurs could use another stable two-way wing. At 6-foot-9, Williams offers an appealing blend of upside and dependability. He's raw on the surface, but Williams was extremely productive as a freshman for Colorado, finishing efficiently around the rim, hitting 41.5 percent of his 3s, and defending multiple positions. He spent considerable time on the ball, creating out of pick-and-rolls or pushing the tempo in transition. Williams needs to tighten his handle and limit turnovers, but he flashes real passing chops on the move. If it all comes together, Williams could be the best player from his class.

7. San Antonio Spurs — Stephon Castle, G, Connecticut

The barrier between Stephon Castle and excellence is fairly simple: he needs to hit more 3s. Beyond a few inefficient scoring nights, Castle has been rock-solid as a starter for college basketball's best team. He's a strong, crafty driver with a talent for finding creative angles to score below the rim. His passing chops pop. If he can get the jumper to a stable place, Castle will be one of the most dynamic offensive players in the draft. He doesn't have a great first step, but Castle can muscle his way to the rim and generate angles by cleverly shifting speeds. Factor in some of the best perimeter defense in the draft at 6-foot-6, and Castle's combo guard potential should appeal to the Spurs.

8. Memphis Grizzlies — Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite

Ron Holland has been sidelined for over a month with a thumb injury, which prematurely ended his season with the (mostly disastrous) G League Ignite team. Still, Holland is the best prospect from the G League ranks. He managed to lead the team in scoring on respectable efficiency despite cramped spacing and struggles behind the 3-point line. At 6-foot-8, Holland is one of the best slashers on the board, blessed with a deadly first step and a much-improved ability to change speeds and direction on the move. He hangs for acrobatic finishes at the rim. If he can get the 3-point shot to a reliable place and cut down on turnovers, the ceiling is high. What cements Holland's status, however, is the defensive intensity. He should be able to impact winning right away for an aspiring contender. He's the perfect Grizzlies, grit n' grind prospect in spirit.

Read our full Ron Holland scouting report here.

9. Houston Rockets — Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite

The Rockets can't have too many tall, interchangable wings. Matas Buzelis has flourished in Holland's absence for the G League Ignite, taking on a more central offensive role while still contributing at a high level on defense. He covers a lot of ground at 6-foot-9, comfortable rotating for weak-side blocks or blowing up passing lanes. The 3s aren't falling at the rate NBA scouts want, but Buzelis looks smooth on mid-range pull-up jumpers and he displays soft touch around the rim. His ability to attack off the catch, score on drives, or connect dots with his passing could prove useful to the Rockets' deep second unit.

10. Utah Jazz — Isaiah Collier, G, USC

After a bumpy start to the season, Isaiah Collier cut down on turnovers and flourished during conference play. Despite the underwhelming team around him, Collier was able to pop as a downhill scorer and NBA-level initator. He, too, needs to up his 3-point volume, but Collier is able to put constant pressure on the rim, generate scoring angles with his burly 6-foot-5 frame, and create for teammates off of penetration. The Jazz need a real table-setter to take the offense to the next level. Collier is going to collapse defenses and set the ball in motion for Utah's egalitarian offense, which is generally populated with enough shooters to offset Collier's 3-point limitations.

Read our full Isaiah Collier scouting report here.

NBA Mock Draft: 11-15 (ATL, CHI, OKC, POR, MIA)

11. Atlanta Hawks — Kyle Filipowski, C, Duke

We don't really know the future of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray in Atlanta, so it's a bit tricky to peg exact "needs" for the Hawks. If the plan is to blow it up, a point guard makes sense. But, in the absence of clarity, Kyle Filipowski checks a ton of boxes. He can shoot, pass, and even handle the rock in spurts at the center spot. He's mobile enough to share the floor with another big, such as Onyeka Okongwu. He exploits mismatches in the paint. He's comfortable spearheading transition offense off the rebound. He can pick-and-pop or screen and roll, where he poses a threat both as a scorer and a passer. Flip would benefit from the Trae Young experience, but he can also help Atlanta move into the future if need be.

Read our full Kyle Filipowski scouting report here.

12. Chicago Bulls — Yves Missi, C, Baylor

The Bulls' long-term plans are decidedly unclear. Nikola Vucevic is under contract for a couple more years after this, but Chicago needs to start planning for the future. Yves Missi was one of college basketball's top rim protectors as a freshman. He's mobile in space, strong on the block, and pleasantly efficient on offense. Missi won't challenge our understanding of the center position; his points mostly come off of simple finishes at the rim. But, his coordination as a face-up scorer is promising, even if Missi won't shoot 3s to truly spread the defense out. He can get creative and potentially create his own looks around the basket.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder — Donovan Clingan, C, Connecticut

Donovan Clingan has been on an absolute tear lately. He has certain throwback qualities that might turn off NBA teams, but OKC desperately needs size and physicality in the frontcourt. The Thunder are constantly on the losing end of the rebounding battle. There are ways to offset that (clearly), but OKC would be smart to address their one glaring weakness. Chet Holmgren is mobile and skilled enough to share the floor with another 7-footer. All of a sudden, OKC would be able to scale up and play big. Clingan is a drop coverage maestro, a voracious rebounder, and a hyper-skilled finisher around the rim. He doesn't shoot 3s yet, but Clingan has the touch and sheer size, at 7-foot-2, to finish anything in the paint. He also flashes an intriguing eye for passing on the low block.

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

Portland doubles down on the frontcourt with South Carolina frosh Collin Murray-Boyles, who could be persuaded to back out of his vow to return to school if lottery teams come knocking. It can be difficult to precisely peg Murray-Boyles' role at the next level. There aren't many 6-foot-7 bigs who don't shoot at all. But, the 19-year-old is a slippery driver, high-feel passer, and incredible defender. He can stonewall bigs in the post or mirror ball-handlers at the point of attack. He's a tremendous defensive fit next to Alex Sarr in particular. On offense, it's best to imagine him running DHOs, passing on the short roll, or finishing plays at the rim. He's a connector who is best deployed next to a floor-stretching big.

15. Miami Heat — Dalton Knecht, F, Tennessee

Dalton Knecht has carried over his regular season momentum to March Madness. He's the best perimeter scorer in college basketball these days, torching defenses behind the 3-point line before shredding them with every manner of drive and in-between finish. Knecht doesn't put up a ton of assists and he's a limited defender, but the shot-making is truly off the charts. It's always risky to select 23-year-olds this high, but we've seen Miami reap the rewards of betting on Jaime Jaquez Jr. last summer. Knecht should be ready to contribute from day one and he has the attitude to thrive in 'Heat Culture' Miami.

NBA Mock Draft: 16-20 (PHI, TOR, ATL, NYK, ORL)

16. Philadelphia 76ers — Jared McCain, G, Duke

Jared McCain lit up James Madison for 30 points in the second round. The Duke freshman faces one of the most interesting declare-or-return decisions in college hoops. Next season, he would have the chance to table-set for the likes of Cooper Flagg, which could shine a brigther light on all the small things McCain does well. On the other hand, he's already a first-round prospect. There's a lot of financial risk tied to returning to school. He could get hurt or take a step back. We have to assume he will eventually pivot to the NBA, where the Sixers are a logical fit. Philly needs another ball-handler to pair with Tyrese Maxey. McCain's comfort level off the ball, combined with his dynamism behind the 3-point line, fits perfectly with the Sixers' personnel.

17. Toronto Raptors — Kel'el Ware, C, Indiana

We have to believe the Raptors will dump Jakob Poeltl's contract as soon as they can. Toronto has built its identity around length and versatility at every position. Kel'el Ware offers some of that, while still providing the traditional benefits of an explosive 7-foot rim protector. An inconsistent motor is often cited as Ware's biggest issue, but his catch radius in the paint — combined with sky-high hops — makes it very hard to defend him as a roll man or dunker's spot operator. Ware put together some of the most complete two-way performances of the college basketball season. He's a springy shot-blocker who can pounce on rebounds. Offensively, he flashes legitimate 3-point shooting and straight-line driving to complement his interior finishing.

18. Atlanta Hawks — Ja'Kobe Walter, G, Baylor

Ja'Kobe Walter is a natural fit for the current iteration of Atlanta. He can fill the void left by Kevin Huerter, providing the Hawks with a dynamic shot-maker and versatile defender on the wing. Walter is a limited self-creator, but he can beat closeouts with aggressive takes to the rim. His strength comes in handy, as he's able to absorb contact to either finish through it or draw fouls. If there's a path to upside, it starts there. He also covers ground on defense, standing 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan. Walter's lackluster handles and heavy reliance 3s is a mild red flag, but his ability to stretch the defense and convert difficult shots should prove fruitful.

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

Devin Carter has all the intangibles to make Tom Thibodeau fall head over heels in love. He's a feisty defender at 6-foot-3, aggressively pressuring the point of attack and regularly blowing up plays with his telekinetic instincts (1.8 steals, 1.0 blocks). On the offensive end, Carter can bomb timely 3s, create off of drives, and operate effectively as a cutter or secondary playmaker. He won't generate a ton of advantages one-on-one and he can struggle with turnovers, but New York would plant Carter in a backup role sharing the floor with Jalen Brunson or Deuce McBride. There are questions about how Carter's unorthodox 3-point stroke with translate, but he's competitive as hell and the confidence never wavers, so it's hard not to believe.

20. Orlando Magic — KJ Simpson, G, Colorado

KJ Simpson put his signature moment on tape in the first round, lifting Colorado past Florida with a double-bounce buzzer-beater in the final seconds. There are natural concerns tied to Simpson's 6-foot-2 frame and limited athleticism, but he's too efficient and too productive to ignore. Simpson regularly offsets his his lack of burst with gear shifts and ball-handling creativity. His 3-point range extends well beyond the NBA 3-point line, he's a prolific pull-up threat, and he generally plays well within the offense. Orlando needs a guard who can initiate the offense, but also work off the ball and stretch the floor. Simpson can oblige.

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

21. Phoenix Suns — DaRon Holmes II, C, Dayton

The Suns get their Jusuf Nurkic replacement in DaRon Holmes, who is the polar opposite physically. Whereas Nurkic is ox-strong, Holmes wins his battles with finesse and vertical athleticism. He's mobile out in space, a prolific shot-blocker in the paint (2.1 blocks), and a bountiful presence on the boards. He flashes a ton of intriguing skills on offense, complete with legitimate 3-point range and coordinated drives. Holmes will do the bulk of his damage setting screens and catching lobs, at least early on, but he's a smart offensive player who reads the floor at a high level. If his can cultivate his perimeter skills, there is considerable two-way upside for the Suns to unlock.

22. New York Knicks — Tristan da Silva, F, Colorado

Tristan da Silva was the big winner from Colorado's brief three-game March Madness stint. At 6-foot-10, it's not hard to see why da Silva might appeal to NBA teams. He hits 3s, handles fluidly as a face-up scorer, and generally makes swift decisions in the flow of the offense. He will guard his position well, too. While da Silva might not present the highest ceiling at 23, his game is ready-made for the NBA. New York will want a day-one contributor that can defend, shoot, and play smart, selfless basketball.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers — Kyshawn George, F, Miami

Kyshawn George has a certain mystery box appeal in a weak draft class. The Miami freshman wasn't afforded the most robust role, but he hit 40.8 percent of his 3s and flashed big-time as a passer. NBA teams are constantly on the lookout for tall, toolsy wings who can check off the dribble-pass-shoot boxes. George lacks a compelling first step or the physicality to score consistently at the rim, but he reads the floor well and looks comfortable operating out of pick-and-rolls. Factor in good defensive activity, and he's a worthwhile project for a Cavs team still in need of two-way wing depth.

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

Zach Edey is the best college basketball player we've seen in a while. Complain all you want about how "unethical" his brand of hoops may be, but Edey has been an unstoppable force through two rounds of March Madness. Grambling and Utah State probably aren't the best barometers by which to measure a 7-foot-4 mountain who can overwhelm ill-equipped college defenses the same way a stone overwhelms wet, one-ply toilet paper. But, Edey is more than a brute-force bucket. He scores with touch around the rim, commits to setting thundering screens, and flashes passing chops on the block. He's going to defend well enough due to his height too, even if NBA spacing will test his agility. The Pelicans are in need of frontcourt depth with Jonas Valanciunas entering free agency. The Zion Williamson snug pick-and-rolls with Edey sure would be interesting to watch.

25. Washington Wizards — Johnny Furphy, F, Kansas

Johnny Furphy has the rough outline of a very appealing NBA prospect. He's 6-foot-9 with movement shooting chops and the athleticism to create events on defense. Limited handles and a general lack of strength will hold Furphy back, at least early on, but he contributes enough as an off-ball finisher to keep the faith. Furphy knows when and where to move without the rock, he's an active positional rebounder, and the 3s should give him some immediate utility while the rest of his game develops. Washington swings on the upside and adds another shooter for Nikola Topic to feed.

NBA Mock Draft: 26-30 (MIL, MIN, DEN, UTA, BOS)

26. Milwaukee Bucks — Kevin McCullar Jr., F, Kansas

Kevin McCullar was held out of Kansas' brief tournament run due to injury, but the senior did enough over the course of the season to cement his status in NBA Draft circles. There are valid concerns about his 3-point shot, but it should fall enough to keep defenses honest. McCullar's development as a slasher and connective passer, in addition to his all-world defense, should make him an impact role player out of the gate. Milwaukee needs to stock up on useful two-way wings as much as possible, even if Doc Rivers will never play his rookies.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves — Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette

Tyler Kolek is wheeling and dealing through two rounds of March Madness. The Marquette senior doesn't have outlier physical tools or an especially rosy defensive outlook at 6-foot-3, but the skill level and basketball know-how is overwhelming. He's a pick-and-roll savant, constantly manipulating the defense with gears shifts and prodding the paint before rocketing gorgeous skip passes to the open shooter. The effort level, the spunk, the basketball I.Q. — it's hard to imagine Kolek just flunking at the next level. Minnesota could use a steady-hand playmaker as the heir apparent to Mike Conley.

28. Denver Nuggets — Ryan Dunn, F, Virginia

Ryan Dunn is a truly elite defensive prospect with virtually zero offensive game. He's an athletic 6-foot-9 wing who can finish above the rim, but it will take the ideal offensive ecosystem to mask Dunn's weaknesses enough to mine value from his special defense. Well, Denver is as strong a bet as any. Dunn can operate in the dunker's spot and make himself available on dimes from Nikola Jokic, who tends to elevate all those in his orbit. On defense, Dunn is an otherworldly playmaker who covers more ground than anybody else in the 2024 draft. His ability to blow up shot attempts from the weak side and invade passing lanes could give Denver's second unit a new edge.

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

Dillon Jones is a dude. Generally, low-volume shooters struggle as ball-handlers at the next level, but Jones is 6-foot-6 with the bully-ball strength to score in the post and wedge his way into the teeth of the defense. He processes the floor quickly and delivers impressive dimes on the move. He can guard multipe positions on defense, and there are enough positive signs on the shooting front to at least project Jones as a connective wing. Utah has a knack for developing players like Jones — the untraditional creators who can pressure the rim and flow within a movement-based scheme.

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

I'll continue to bang the drum on Iowa State's Milan Momcilovic, who is off to a strong start in March Madness for a team that could go deep. At 6-foot-9, there isn't a more unique shot-maker in the freshman class. Momcilovic doesn't offer much as a creator for teammates, but he has mastered the art of contested jumpers. From one-legged Dirk fades in the post to sideways-leaning movement 3s on the perimeter, Momcilovic is constantly finding new ways to stretch and stress the defense. Assuming he can adequately defend, it's hard to imagine Momcilovic not carving out a niche somewhere. He has major 'steal of the draft' energy.

NBA Mock Draft: Second Round

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

32. Utah Jazz — Bub Carrington, G, Pittsburgh

33. San Antonio Spurs — Tidjane Salaun, F, Cholet

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

35. Milwaukee Bucks — Walter Clayton Jr., G, Florida

36. Indiana Pacers — Jaylon Tyson, G, California

37. Minnesota Timberwolves — Hunter Sallis, G, Wake Forest

38. Memphis Grizzlies — Ajay Mitchell, G, UC Santa Barbara

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

40. Portland Trail Blazers — Ulrich Chomche, C, NBA Academy Showcase

41. Philadelphia 76ers — Kwame Evans Jr., F, Oregon

42. Charlotte Hornets — Jalen Bridges, F, Baylor

43. Houston Rockets — Trevon Brazile, F, Arkansas

44. Miami Heat — Tyrese Proctor, G, Duke

45. San Antonio Spurs — Juan Núñez, G, Ratiopharm Ulm

46. Los Angeles Clippers — Izan Almansa, C, G League Ignite

47. Boston Celtics — D.J. Wagner, G, Kentucky

48. Sacramento Kings — Harrison Ingram, F, North Carolina

49. Washington Wizards — Zvonimir Ivisic, C, Kentucky

50. Orlando Magic — P.J. Hall, C, Clemson

51. Detroit Pistons — Trey Alexander, G, Creighton

52. Indiana Pacers — Coleman Hawkins, F, Illinois

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

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

55. Golden State Warriors — Mantas Rubstavicius, F, New Zealand

56. Denver Nuggets — Oso Ighodaro, C, Marquette

57. Memphis Grizzlies — Melvin Ajinca, F, Saint-Quentin

58. Dallas Mavericks — Bobi Klintman, F, Cairns

2024 NBA DRAFT BIG BOARD. Updated top 80 prospects for March Madness. Updated top 80 prospects for March Madness. dark