Stephon Castle

Five takeaways from the 2024 NBA Draft, featuring Bulls’ new era & Spurs’ defense

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With all the picks in, it’s the right time for our 2024 NBA Draft analysis. Of course, as you may know by now, this wasn’t one of the best NBA Draft classes ever by any means, and chances are most of the guys taken in the first round will be nothing but role players — barring some exceptions.

2024 NBA Draft analysis: Five takeaways from the first round

That’s why not even Atlanta Hawks fans were so thrilled or had a huge NBA Draft reaction when they won the lottery, knowing that they were unlikely to get a generational talent.

Even so, this is always an exciting period for NBA teams, and some moves end up making a huge impact in the long run. With that in mind, we’ll share our give biggest stories from the event.

Sam Presti keeps building

If someone can afford to take a risk, it’s Sam Presti. The Oklahoma City Thunder have a bevy of draft picks, and with no elite big man available there, they swung for the fences with a big gamble by taking Serbian guard Nikola Topic.

Topic will miss most — if not all — of his rookie season with a knee injury, but he was projected as a top-5 talent prior to that. He’s a big guard with elite playmaking skills and court vision, and while he needs to work on his shooting and defense, his ceiling is significantly higher than some of the other players in this class.


Memphis’ huge gamble

The Memphis Grizzlies were in big need of a center. So, they decided to take things literally by going after the tallest man in the draft. Zach Edey was projected to go at least six picks later, but the Grizzlies went with fit over talent here.

Edey dominated in college and his résumé at Purdue is remarkable. He can make an immediate impact as a rim protector and lob threat. Nonetheless, there are major concerns about his perimeter defense and whether his big body will hold up. Contenders and fringe contenders can take risks.

A new era in Chicago

The Chicago Bulls started their rebuild by trading Alex Caruso away, and going after Matas Buzelis might mean they’re ready to go head-first into tanking mode. That’s because he plays virtually the same position as Patrick Williams, who has yet to pan out as a first-round pick.

Buzelis has a high upside and a great feel for the game, but his being there pretty much means Williams is likely on his way out. The same can be said of DeMar DeRozan and, if they’re lucky, even Zach LaVine.

The Spurs are building a prison

The San Antonio Spurs didn’t trade up as some analysts thought they would, but they still landed a home run with their first of two first-round picks, trading the other for future assets. Getting Stephon Castle will do wonders for their already promising defense.


Even if he doesn’t pan out offensively, we’re talking about one of the best defensive prospects in this class. Paired with Victor Wembanyama and Jeremy Sochan, the Spurs will have their opponents in prison for years to come.

The Lakers won the first round

Rob Pelinka got a major steal. It only made sense that the first pick of the JJ Redick era was a sharpshooting white man. Dalton Knecht can be a plug-and-play guy for a team looking to compete right now, and that cannot afford to wait for a youngster to develop.

He might not be young by NBA Draft standards, but he’s the most NBA-ready player in this class. He can knock down shots from all three levels, and he’ll get to learn from one of the best shooters and off-ball scorers of all time.

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