College basketball returned last week, but it always feels like the season is officially underway when the Champions Classic and other annual preseason tournaments tip-off.
The return of college hoops also means it is the start of NBA Mock Draft season.
The first Mock Draft of the year is always the toughest because it involves trying to project how incoming freshmen will make an impact at the collegiate level, how returning players have improved and will adjust to bigger roles, and where the newest crop of international and G League Ignite prospects fit into the mix of it all.
In an attempt to balance all of those evaluations, The Sporting News has you covered with its first NBA Mock Draft of the year, using Las Vegas’ preseason NBA over/under win totals to project the draft order. Since the draft order is bound to change between now and the end of the season, a prospect’s fit with the team was barely considered.
It is also worth noting that USC freshman Bronny James is not currently listed, solely because of his unclear timetable to return from cardiac arrest suffered over the summer. Future Mock Drafts will be updated accordingly when more information becomes available.
So without further ado, with the first pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Wizards select…
MORE: Sporting News’ College basketball rankings 2023-24: Duke, UConn, Kansas lead the way
Height and weight: 6-6, 204 lbs.
One year after Victor Wembanyama held down the No. 1 spot for an entire draft cycle, the top pick in the 2024 NBA Draft is sure to be a revolving door.
For now, G League Ignite star Holland owns that title.
The 18-year-old is a high-energy forward who projects to be the best and most versatile defender in this draft class. If he can continue to grow his offensive game as a shot creator and knock down the 3-ball more consistently, he might not surrender this spot.
MORE: Once a dream, Ron Holland believes he can be the No. 1 pick in 2024 NBA Draft
Age: 19, Freshman
Height and weight: 6-5, 210 lbs.
Collier was the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2023. Don’t be surprised if he’s the first guard to hear his name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver in 2024.
The 19-year-old is built like a running back, utilizing his strong frame, elite body control and quick burst of speed to get downhill and finish through contact at the rim. He’s an impressive passer, a physical defender and he loves to push the pace in transition. He’ll thrive as a playmaker on a talented USC team and could easily work his way into the No. 1 pick conversation come June.