2024 NBA Draft takeaways include Dalton Knecht to Lakers, Kyle Filipowski’s freefall and a new running mate for Victor Wembanyama (2024)

A 2024 NBA Draft considered light on top-tier talent still delivered intrigue in its opening round at Barclays Center.

Stars from the defending NCAA champion UConn Huskies and other college basketball powers landed in compelling — and in some cases, head-scratching — destinations on Wednesday night, while the latest batch of French prospects flew off the board at a historic rate.

Only two of the top six picks played in the NCAA last season, while six of the 14 lottery selections either came from G League Ignite or internationally.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Wednesday’s first round.


With forward Zaccharie Risacher going No. 1 overall to Atlanta; center Alex Sarr going second to Washington; and forward Tidjane Salaun going sixth to Charlotte, France became the first country other than the U.S. to produce three top-10 picks in a single NBA Draft.

The 6-9 Risacher, a lanky-but-thin wing, boasts the physical tools to become a 3-and-D staple who can guard multiple positions, but quite a few evaluators preferred the 7-foot Sarr, who declined to work out for Atlanta.

The Hawks’ selection of Risacher marked the second year in a row that a Frenchman went No. 1, following the Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama last summer. The 7-4 Wembanyama, who won the NBA’s 2024 Rookie of the Year, was a much more touted prospect than anyone this year.

The Knicks rounded out the French-focused draft with their selection of guard Pacôme Dadiet with the 25th pick, giving France four players in the first round.


Speaking of Wembanyama, San Antonio hopes to have found an ideal running mate for their sharp-shooting, shot-blocking center in UConn point guard Stephon Castle, whom they drafted No. 4 overall on Wednesday.

Castle averaged 11.1 points per game on 47.2% shooting as a freshman starter for the loaded Huskies, who relied more on the 6-6 guard for his defense than offense.

Castle boasts the length and playmaking prowess to boost those numbers at the next level, though his 3-point shooting (26.7%) needs to improve. He and Wembanyama should quickly form a formidable defensive duo.

The Spurs later traded the No. 8 pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who used it to add scoring point guard Rob Dillingham of Kentucky to a win-now roster that just advanced to the Western Conference Finals.

Minnesota sent a top-one protected 2030 first-round pick and an unprotected 2031 first-rounder to San Antonio in order to bolster a back court featuring 36-year-old Mike Conley at point guard.


Three picks after Castle went off the board, Portland selected UConn teammate Donovan Clingan at No. 7.

The landing spot for the 7-2 Clingan raised eyebrows, considering the rebuilding Blazers added centers DeAndre Ayton and Robert Williams III in trades last offseason.

Ayton, a former No. 1 overall pick by the Suns, is owed more than $69 million over the next two seasons. Still only 25, Ayton averaged 16.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game last year.

The 26-year-old Williams, meanwhile, appeared in only six games last year before undergoing season-ending knee surgery but had established himself as a defensive stalwart during his time with the Celtics.

Portland may have another move coming, but in Clingan, it added a dominant defensive presence and rebounder who offers plenty on offense near the basket as well.

Clingan was a force during UConn’s championship run, averaging 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds over the six NCAA Tournament games while shooting 65% from the field.


Nobody questions the size or skill of Zach Edey, the ultra-productive 7-4 center who led Purdue to the national championship game this year and won back-to-back John R. Wooden Awards.

The skepticism revolves around whether Edey’s lack of speed and non-existent 3-point game will make him a liability at the next level.

Still, the Grizzlies saw enough to draft him ninth overall, higher than most talent evaluators had graded him.

Edey averaged more than 22 points and 12 rebounds per game in both of the last two years. His 25.2 points per game last season led Division I. He made at least 59.7% of his shots in all four of his seasons at Purdue.

With Memphis, Edey joins a frontcourt headlined by Jaren Jackson Jr., the NBA’s 2023 Defensive Player of the Year, which should help his assimilation.


Another draft-day surprise saw Tennessee’s star scorer Dalton Knecht fall all the way to No. 17 with the Lakers.

That paired Knecht, who made 39.7% of his 3-pointers last season, with new Los Angeles head coach J.J. Redick, himself a dominant shooter during his collegiate days at Duke.

Knecht’s youth and offense should help take some pressure off of LeBron James, assuming he remains with L.A., and Anthony Davis. Knecht’s 21.7 points per game last season led the SEC.


Wednesday’s other main unexpected development saw teams repeatedly pass on Duke big man Kyle Filipowski, who was projected to go in the mid-to-late first round.

The 7-foot Filipowski boasts size, versatility on offense and plenty of name recognition, though concerns about his lack of physicality likely contributed to his slip.

Filipowski, who attended the draft, hails from Middletown, N.Y., and averaged 15.8 points on 47.3% shooting and 8.6 rebounds per game during his two seasons at Duke.

2024 NBA Draft takeaways include Dalton Knecht to Lakers, Kyle Filipowski’s freefall and a new running mate for Victor Wembanyama (2024)


Who did the Lakers pick in the NBA draft 2024? ›

“With the 55th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select Bronny James from the University of Southern California,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in announcing the pick, making the moment official for the 19-year-old, who was born just before the start of his father's second NBA season.

What draft pick was Dalton Knecht? ›

AURORA - Dalton Knecht, a member of Prairie View's 2019 graduating class, has been selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft, with the 17th overall pick, on Wednesday night.

Is the 2024 NBA Draft class weak? ›

The consensus among talent evaluators is that the 2024 NBA Draft class stands among the weakest in recent history.

Is Bronny James in the 2024 NBA Draft? ›

USC guard Bronny James was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second-round with the 55th overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft held at ESPN's Seaport District Studios in Manhattan, N.Y. today (June 27).

Did the Lakers get Bronny James? ›

Bronny James — the oldest son of the NBA's all-time scoring leader and four-time champion, LeBron James — was drafted Thursday by the Los Angeles Lakers, the team that his father has played for since 2018. Bronny James was taken with the No. 55 overall pick as the duo becomes the first active father-and-son pairing.

What is Bronny James' salary? ›

What is Bronny James' contract? Bronny James might land a salary floor deal that's worth $1.2 million, according to Sporting News. Bronny was the 55th pick in the second round of the draft. Because he was in the second-round draft, his contract isn't immediately available, unlike the first-round drafts.

Who did the Lakers pick in the first round? ›

On a pivotal night in Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Lakers chose a player for both their present and future, by selecting Tennessee scorer Dalton Knect with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday night.

Who did the Los Angeles Lakers draft last night? ›

In a night filled with anticipation and surprises, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bronny James, the eldest son of NBA legend LeBron James, with the No. 55 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. This selection marks a momentous occasion, as it opens the door for the first father-son duo to share the court in NBA history.

Who has the first round pick in NBA 2024? ›

Hawks' Risacher focused on 'the good stuff'

The No. 1 overall pick in 2024, Zaccharie Risacher says he feels 'no pressure' to live up to high expectations.

Can you skip the NBA Draft? ›

A player who has not yet entered the NBA Draft can still sign a G League contract and enter the league through the NBA G League Draft. That player will maintain his NBA Draft eligibility but will be unable to be called up to the NBA that season. Seven players have taken this route and later been drafted by an NBA team.

Did anybody draft Bronny James? ›

The Lakers taking Bronny was arguably the least surprising selection of the draft. Bronny, 19, had been linked to the Lakers for years, dating to when his father said that he'd love to play with his eldest son. “My last year will be played with my son,” James told The Athletic in 2022.

Who did the Lakers get in the draft? ›

And now, the first father-son pair is set to be teammates after the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bronny James -- the eldest son of LeBron James -- with the 55th pick in the second round of the draft. "Beyond blessed," Bronny James wrote in an Instagram post.

Who is projected to be the first pick in the NBA Draft 2024? ›

A player from France has been selected No. 1 in each of the past two NBA Drafts — first Victor Wembanyama in 2023, then Zaccharie Risacher in 2024.

Has Bronny James been picked yet? ›

Fast forward 20 years and that child, Bronny James, has now been drafted by an NBA team -- and not just any team, the Los Angeles Lakers, the team for which his father plays (Yes, technically, the father did opt out of his contract a few days ago, but let's dispense with formalities for a moment).

Who did the Lakers draft last night? ›

Lakers draft Bronny James 55th Overall, Was this ever in doubt?


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