Top NewsDirect grades for each round 1 exam

Direct grades for each round 1 exam

The first round of the 2024 NBA Draft is off and running.

Follow along here throughout the evening for real-time reactions and live-quality analysis of all 30 picks.

Who gets it right? Who gets it wrong? Who is presumably genius or overthinking it? We’ll have those answers and more during the latest iteration of the NBA Draft.

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Despite the consensus that this class lacks consensus, most mock drafters have the Hawks add Zachary Risacher at this spot. It wasn’t necessarily a good pick, but on a night full of surprises, Atlanta kept things uneven.

Risacher has one of the draft’s best polish and potential. It’s easy to picture him thriving in a three-and-D role early in his NBA career, but his handling and vision have fueled the imagination with thoughts of one day serving as a high-level creator.

If he doesn’t maximize his potential, he’ll be a helpful support player and a smart, easy-to-read starter who can defend multiple positions and splash open shots. If he approaches his ultimate ceiling, he could one day emerge as a do-it-all big that is tricky for teams to find outside of the draft.

Star potential isn’t what you want from the No. 1 overall pick, but that’s likely to be the case with whomever Atlanta selects here.

Grade: B

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Because the Wizards waited so long to shed the Bradley Beal era, they’re sorely lacking in building blocks. They needed to take a big swing, and they did it with Alex Sir, who has the most potential in this class.

Sarr could be the latest dynamic, athletic 7-pointer to succeed in the modern NBA. Evan Mobley and Jaren Jackson Jr. Comparisons to the likes point to Sarin’s defensive impact as a paint protector and a capable transitioner on the perimeter, while leaving the door open for significant offensive growth.

He’ll mostly function as a finisher early in his career, though he’ll need to orchestrate some grab-and-go attacks off the defensive mirror that showcase his ease with the ball. Charr’s jumper needs a lot of work, but if he finds the occasional touch on the perimeter, it opens up everything. He can prove that opponents can’t handle him if he respects his jumper.

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Sarin’s offensive development will determine the return on this investment, but it’s the right move for Washington.

Grade: A

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The guards, who played under former head coach John Calipari at Kentucky, often unveiled new layers to their game upon arriving in the NBA. Reed Shepard may be next to pull it off. He didn’t get a ton of opportunities to create with the Wildcats, but when he did, he showed hints of off-the-three burst and plenty of creativity.

He was the first and foremost all-Caps shooter, shooting a ridiculous 75-of-144 (52.1 percent) from college. But he is too good to be labeled an expert. Beyond those three-point lasers, he’ll provide secondary (or, if he breaks everything down correctly, primary) playmaking, high IQ and a smooth touch around the basket.

His lack of size (6’2″, 182 pounds) is a defensive concern, but at least he won’t lose defensive battles due to lack of effort or poor instincts.

The Rockets were the primary trade candidates at this point, but there’s a lot to like about Shepard’s fit in Space City. His shooting should be a long-term matchup with Amen Thompson, whose defensive versatility and creation will help mask some of Shepard’s limitations.

Quality: B+

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The Spurs needed to come out of this draft with a playmaker, and in Stephen Castle, they snagged someone who can make high-level plays on both ends of the court.

If Castle had a reliable jumper, he could have gone first in this draft. That’s how strong the rest of his arsenal is.

Castle can handle and build at 6’6″ and 210 pounds, and he’s a complete threat on defense. If his shot comes around, he has legitimate All-Star upside. You can’t say that about many prospects in this draft.

The jumper is a concern. In fact, it’s one of the biggest swing skills in this entire draft. If he can’t shoot better than he did at UConn (26.7 percent at low volume), he’ll have a hard time playing in key postseason moments.

They could be coming to the Alamo City soon as the Victor Vembayama era is in full swing.

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Grade: A-

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“Someone is that old Bill Simmons.”Alas!” soundbite. This is probably the closest thing this round to a true stunner.

Agreed, Holland once He sat at the top of this draft class, so he can prove to be a relative bargain in this space. Ignite doesn’t give him a ton of support and may put him at a disadvantage due to his overrated responsibilities, but he doesn’t help himself with turnover problems and streaky shooting either.

All of that being said, the improvement that made him so prominent in the early prospect rankings hasn’t disappeared. He’s an athletic, offensive wing who plays hard, has defensive versatility and exhibits some impressive off-the-dribble attributes.

Holland needs polishing, but he’s also 18 and has a heck of a lot of tools, so high-end results are on the table.

The Pistons need to expand their talent base, and this new front office has picked up one of the most interesting flyers in this class. Having said that, you wonder if Detroit could have moved down and landed in Holland. You wonder if he’ll do anything to fix the Pistons’ crippling problems in the spacing of the offense.

It’s an interesting choice, but there are many ways it can go wrong.

Grade: C

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The upside down train is off and running, my friends. It feels higher than what Didjane Salan showed in any mock draft, but the new brass in Charlotte clearly sees something in the French swingman.

Challan could be the biggest wild card in this draft. On a related note, he still has a month left to turn 18.

Time is on Chalan’s side. While that doesn’t guarantee anything, it gives him a long runway from which he can eventually emerge as a shooter, finisher and open-court creator. The Hornets have no clear reason to feel rushed.

Salan’s sports good buffing and can use multiple coats of polish. But you understand what the Hornets are thinking. The draft is mostly about taking flyers, and Challan’s best shots are the best in the class.

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It feels off at first, but it gets better with time.

Quality: C

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Blazers should be happy to get Donovan Klingon here. For most of the mock-draft season, it felt like the only way they could get him was through a trade, even though the defensive anchor fell into their lap.

If Klingon makes an impact in the NBA game like he did at UConn, he could be a top 10 defender. Portland could use some paint protection behind young guards Scoot Henderson, Anfernie Simons and Shayden Sharp.

The Klingon is huge (7’2″, 282 pounds) and impossibly long (7’7″ wingspan), and he uses his body tools to control the interior and mirrors. Changing stats on the perimeter will be a challenge for him, but he may be mobile enough not to make plays on the floor.

Klingen’s offensive range didn’t reach beyond the restricted area—he was a 55.8 percent free-throw shooter in two seasons with the Huskies.

Portland will likely have some subsequent moves with a pair of starting-caliber centers already on its roster (Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams III). But if the Blazers were sold on Klingon’s talent, they were wise to draft him at No. 7 and then worry about the rest.

Quality: B

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The Timberwolves moved into the top 10 to add Rob Dillingham. It may be the influence of genius. They have a long-term need for short-term shooting and shot-creation off the bench and a post-Mike Conley scheme at point guard. Dillingham can check both boxes.

If Dillingham is a bit overweight for his rail-thin 164-pound frame, he might not even crack the top five. Few (if any) prospects in this class slip off the dribble, and when he creates an advantage, he capitalizes on it with pull-ups, runners, floaters or well-timed drive and kick deliveries.

He also competes hard on defense, though NBA teams will target him on that end of the floor due to his lack of size. If any club has the ability to cover him, it’s anchored by Rudy Gobert and has both Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels on the wing.

Minnesota paid a steep price—an unprotected 2031 first-round pick and a first-1-protected 2030 pick swap, according to ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski– but the fit is unique.

Quality: B

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