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2024 NBA Draft: 1st Round Red Flags, 2nd Round Steals

Hey everybody, thanks for following this year’s draft series. If you need a refresher on the prospects we’ve summarized so far for the 19th pick, be sure to check them out in the links below:

Devin Carter
Jared McCain
Kyle Filipowski
DaRon Holmes
Isaiah Collier
Tristan Da Silva
Yves Missi
Zach Edey
Bub Carrington

I also did a podcast with Samson where we spoke about this class which I quite enjoyed, so check that out too if you want!

Today’s the big day of the draft, and the piece I had planned will involve me briefly discussing some of the first round targets that I didn’t get to publish full reports on, as well as highlighting some second round targets who I think would be good value plays at the 31st pick. These won’t be as in depth, but I’ll give the best elevator pitch. It’s a little last minute, but I wanted to get my thoughts in before Adam Silver gets on stage.

I’ll also round this out by giving some final thoughts on the class in general. Let’s get into it:

Kel’El Ware | Big | Indiana | 6’11.75 | 20 years old
Expected Range: Mid 1st round.
Verdict: Late 2nd round grade. Do not draft at pick 19 or pick 31.

Stats provided by tankathon.com

The numbers don’t look bad right? Let’s peel them back a bit. A popular name this year, I didn’t devote a full piece to Ware because I felt like there were simply a good handful of interesting players that should be available at the 19th pick who are all higher value plays, better fits, more widely discussed, or all of the above.

Ware has developed a rather undeserved reputation as a shooter. The biggest supposed selling point for Ware has been his potential as a stretch 5 — but I’m skeptical. The volume is discouraging and the efficiency is inconsistent, going from 27% from deep on 1.6 attempts per game at Oregon to 42% on 1.3 attempts per game at Indiana. Ware took only 40 threes last year (55 at Oregon), and there is often a pretty big correlation to larger volume sample sizes converting into better shooters in the NBA. Do I think he’ll be able to shoot in the league? Sure. Do I think his volume in the league will be large enough for him to be labelled a “stretch 5” in the same vein as a Myles Turner or Naz Reid? Not even remotely.

The matter of Ware even being able to stay on the floor and utilize his shooting is another issue entirely. Ware is a player best suited to defend drop, and yet performs inconsistently as a drop defender with poor decision making. That poor decision making is also apparent on the offensive end where Ware is a sloppy handler and negative playmaker – posting negative AST/TO ratios in both college seasons.

His motor and lack of effort have been commonly raised red flags that I’m sure even the most staunch Ware fans would acknowledge. Ware avoids playing with any sort of physicality, regularly gets bullied by smaller players, and sets horrendously weak screens (important skill for a big) that a middle school varsity player could blow up. Dana Altman, Ware’s coach at Oregon, openly critiqued Ware’s effort on multiple occasions, noting:


“We’ve had conversations. They haven’t gone as well and haven’t been as constructive as we want them to be. I was disappointed in his effort. I let him know that. He’s gonna have to make some adjustments or I’ve got to make some decisions.”


Ware obviously transferred to Indiana the following season, where the same effort concerns were still present based on the on-court product — even if Mike Woodson didn’t vocalize them.

So not only do you have to teach this guy the fundamentals of basketball, how to defend better in the drop, and how to be a stretch big — you also have to teach him to give a damn, something he should have learned when he first picked up a ball. The reward isn’t worth the risk in my eyes, and it’s a shame because Ware is obviously athletically gifted.

Kyshawn George | Wing | Miami | 6’7 | 20 years old
Expected Range: Mid 1st round.
Verdict: Late 2nd round grade. Do not draft at pick 19 or pick 31.

My distaste for drafting Kyshawn has grown lately because he’s been commonly mocked to the Raptors on a lot of media outlets lately — and it drives me insane — because he definitely won’t be the best player, best fit, highest upside, or best value prospect available.

Yes, he fits in the typical physical mold of wing that Masai has targeted in the past, but I would encourage caution… because once you start to evaluate his game, the flaws make one wonder why Kyshawn declared for the draft at all instead of going back to school.

The shooting is solid, 40% on 4 attempts, no major issues with his form, better shooter off the catch than he is off the dribble. I think he’s an adequate playmaker for his position with room to grow, but I wouldn’t put him in the upper tier of wing playmakers. His production is fairly poor and the sample size of him playing well is limited.

Kyshawn’s athleticism or lack thereof is quite concerning to me. He lacks a first step and gets little elevation on his rim attempts. He isn’t a playmaker as previously mentioned, so what’s his role going to be in the league? He’s not the elite off-ball mover or team defender that Gradey was, and he’s far more raw despite being the same age Gradey is now. He’s old for a freshman (going to be 21 in December), so the age isn’t really an excuse, and it’s hard to project anything developing with him besides his shooting… So what else does he do?

If we’re desperate for shooting, why would we take Kyshawn over a shooter with a much more varied skillset or a higher ceiling? I’ll name four right now:

Cam Christie | Guard/Wing | Minnesota | 6’4.5 | 18 years old
Expected Range: Early 2nd round.
Verdict: Late 1st round grade. Target at pick 31.

Christie is the obvious alternative to me if you want to make the upside play. 18 years old, 6’6 in shoes with a 6’8 wingspan, shooting 39% on 5.4 attempts from deep in his freshman campaign at Minnesota. I’ve been much more impressed with Christie’s movement shooting and believe there is on-ball creation upside. Christie is a pretty comfortable passer with almost double AST/TO, though I wouldn’t expect him to be a point. He’s not a great athlete either, but he’s got more burst than Kyshawn, and I’ve been more impressed with Christie defensively.

Jaylon Tyson | Guard/Wing | UC Berkeley | 6’5.5 |21 years old
Expected Range: Late 1st to early 2nd round.
Verdict: Fringe lottery grade. Target at pick 19 and/or pick 31.

Tyson is the obvious alternative if you want to take a swing at a player who is more of a shot creator. It’s actually quite impressive the amount of different shots he can make. Deep range, post ups, shot off movement, off the dribble, floaters, mid-range pull ups, shots off the catch, I could go on. His handle is tight and crafty even if he doesn’t have the quickest first step.

Tyson played as a PG at Berkeley and looked comfortable as the lead playmaker. He really needs to get his turnovers under control if he wants to continue to have the ball in his hands at the next level, but the varied type of passes and plays that Tyson was capable of running bodes well for his future as a primary option. Scaling down his usage and letting him focus on generating offence in a complimentary role would likely help him grow used to NBA pace.

He’s a multi-positional defender who plays with effort and fits well into switchable defensive schemes.

I honestly don’t know why he’s not widely considered a lottery guy.

Jaylen Wells | Wing | Washington State | 6’6.5 | 20 years old
Expected Range: Mid 2nd round.
Verdict: Mid 1st round grade. Target at pick 31.

Wells, while being the same age as Kyshawn, is farther along developmentally. Before playing at Washington State, Wells did his time playing Div 2 ball for two years at Sonoma State University.

After transferring to Washington State, Wells showed he belongs as a shooter (41% from deep on 5 attempts per game) and shot creator. He’s a physical defender, and a better athlete than Kyshawn though still not great. His handle is solid, and he’s shown impressive ability when tasked with creating his own shot and making tough looks over defenders. He grades out at very good to excellent in most offensive sets where he had high usage besides isolation:

Baylor Scheierman | Guard | Creighton | 6’6.25 | 23 years old
Expected Range: Late 1st round.
Verdict: Mid 1st round grade. Target at pick 19 and/or pick 31.

Scheierman is a good alternative to Kyshawn if you value that high level shooting while also having the playmaking of a floor general. Not as young, and definitely not a plus athlete, but a reliable bet to be a long term rotation player given his size and varied skillset.

Played jumbo point guard at both South Dakota State and Creighton, and shot 38% on 8.3 attempts per game(!!) in his latest season leading Creighton on a deep tournament run. Scheierman is a top 5 shooter in the class, a relentless rebounder, solid defender who plays with effort, with point guard level playmaking. There’s buzz that he might be pretty firmly locked in the first round now, so if the Raptors want him they may have to jump early. If he falls to 31 I wouldn’t think twice.

Dillon Jones | Guard/Wing | Weber State | 6’4.5 | 23 years old
Expected Range: Early 2nd round.
Verdict: Early 2nd round grade. Maybe target at pick 31.

Moving away from the Kyshawn alternatives, Dillon Jones is a bigger point guard who uses his size, strength, and physicality to compliment his creative ball handling ability. Jones needs to cut down on careless turnovers but is nonetheless one of the more impressive playmakers in the class.

The efficiency from deep isn’t great right now, but I’d feel good about betting on Jones becoming a positive shooter down the line due to his volume and efficiency from the line. His shot could use some tweaking but it isn’t broken by any means. He has pretty soft touch at the rim and attacks the paint with speed and power to generate his offence.

Jones is pretty slow and a poor athlete. While his defensive numbers are alright, he gets burned pretty often by faster players. On the other end of the floor, he doesn’t utilize his speed very well and is a below the rim finisher.

Would he be my first choice? No. But I think Jones could be a fun option at the backup PG spot.

Johnathan Mogbo | Big/Forward | San Francisco | 6’6.25 | 22 years old
Expected Range: Late 1st to early 2nd round.
Verdict: Mid 2nd round grade. Maybe target at pick 31.

Mogbo’s name has been on fire lately. Still regarded as an early second round prospect, Mogbo could be a name to watch if the Raptors go with a guard at 19. Though I think the athleticism has started to get overhyped, and he’s a little smaller for a PF, he’s still a pretty bouncy and quick forward with positive playmaking that make him intriguing. Averaging a double double is huge.

I don’t expect him to become a shooter at any point, but his playmaking ability and defensive versatility make him an option I’d consider at 31. That said, I wouldn’t put him at the top of my list just due to his offensive limitations.

Ryan Dunn | Big/Forward | Virginia | 6’6.25 | 21 years old
Expected Range: Late 1st to early 2nd round.
Verdict: Late 2nd round grade. Do not draft at pick 31.

Dunn is one of the best defenders in this class and worthy of being picked, but would be a pretty bad value play at 31 due to how unskilled he is offensively. He does some good things athletically, and can finish at the rim in a straight line, but other than that your team is going to be playing 4 on 5 on offence with Dunn on the court. His shot is broken beyond repair and he rarely puts the ball on the floor. If the Raptors had another 2nd round pick in the 40’s and Dunn were available, I could entertain the idea, but I don’t really see a long-term spot for a player in a Matisse Thybulle role that doesn’t shoot the basketball.

Ajay Mitchell | Guard | UC Santa Barbara | 6’3.25 | 22 years old
Expected Range: Late 1st to early 2nd round.
Verdict: Late 1st round grade. Target at pick 31.

Ajay’s an intriguing name to watch if you want to make sure the Raptors fill that hole at the backup PG spot. An average line of 20/4/4 while flirting with 50/40/90 efficiency is nothing to scoff at. Ajay’s shooting is a bit of a question mark. His volume from deep isn’t great, and his efficiency seemed to improve out of nowhere, which makes me wonder how legit the shot is. He made a lot of difficult looks and shot well off movement, which makes me optimistic.

He’s a stellar playmaker and has a quick first step. He has ideal size at the PG position (6’5ish in shoes) and defends well, which makes him the complete package. He’s a bit older and isn’t a great athlete, which are my only red flags. Otherwise if you want a complete PG who projects to be more of a safer pick at 31, Ajay’s likely gonna be your guy.

Tyler Smith | Forward | G League Ignite | 6’9 | 19 years old
Expected Range: Mid 1st to early 2nd round.
Verdict: Mid 2nd round grade. Do not draft at pick 19. Maybe target at pick 31.

I originally had Smith much higher on my board due to his size and floor spacing ability (36% on just under 4 attempts per game from deep) that will no doubt earn him a spot on an NBA roster. What made me drop him down my board was his defence. Smith is pretty much unplayable defensively, and his advanced defensive stats are in line with that evaluation.

He can’t defend in space, he can’t guard the pick and roll, and he gets bullied on the inside. While Smith is a shooter, that’s pretty much all he does offensively. He doesn’t put the ball on the floor, he doesn’t get to the line, he doesn’t pass very much, and his finishing at the rim is mostly dunks. Again, due to his size and shooting ability, I could be swayed to draft him at 31 as a risky bet and provided the Raptors make a more secure choice at 19… but in the middle of the first round with more proven talent with clearer upside available? Not a chance.

If you combined Ryan Dunn and Tyler Smith you might actually have the ideal 3&D player.

Brendan’s Take

This year’s draft class was frustrating to evaluate at times, but I think that made it all the more interesting to cover. While more talented classes are fun, there’s something to be said about the unpredictability that can come in a class such as this one. The talent curve is so flat that we could be seeing all stars come out of late first round or mid second round picks. There could be insane reaches in the lottery, or someone could fall and get picked 30 spots lower than they were expected to; things that don’t typically happen in a “good” class.

A great thing about evaluating this class is that I still ended up finding a good chunk of players that I think should have long careers in the NBA. This class is pretty guard and forward heavy, so if the Raptors come away with somebody at those positions, then great. I would advise not worrying if they happen to miss out on a big.

The draft is today, so here’s my ideal outcome at either pick. I think the Raptors more than anything need shot creation, shooting, players who can keep the ball moving, and guard depth.

Pick 19 – Jared McCain or DaRon Holmes II

Pick 31 – Jaylon Tyson or Baylor Scheierman

We’ll see if I get what I want (I doubt it), but at the end of the day I’m just curious to see where the chips fall. Be sure to comment your preferred outcome down below, and if I managed to maybe help sway your opinions on some guys. Do you have a favourite overall prospect in this class? Mine is Reed Sheppard.

I’ll be back after the draft with a recap, so see you Friday!

The post 2024 NBA Draft: 1st Round Red Flags, 2nd Round Steals first appeared on Raptors Republic.

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