NBA Draft: Four Questions to Consider Ahead of Draft Night

As draft night approaches, there is plenty of smoke around prospects and teams. Amidst the smoke, what questions should we be considering?
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

We are just a couple of short weeks from draft night! As we move closer and closer to that June 26 date, rumors and questions intensify around prospects and potential draft plans for NBA teams. With draft night approaching, here are four questions to consider. 

Who will be the surprise lottery pick? 

There just about always seems to be a prospect that gets drafted in the lottery that surprises people. A prime candidate for this is Illinois wing, Terrence Shannon Jr. 

TSJ is widely considered a late first to early-mid second rounder, but he received a lottery grade from me. He put everything together in Champaign, producing his best collegiate season and earning first team All Big Ten and the Big Ten Tournament MVP. 

At 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, TSJ is a 3-and-D Plus wing with explosive functional athleticism, floor spacing (36% 3-point shooter, 6.7 attempts per game), shot making versatility and defensive playmaking ability (1.9 stocks per game)

He’s someone that’s ready to impact an NBA game from day one and can have a long NBA career. With the not guilty verdict coming in on his rape allegations, TSJ could be set to rise up boards. 

How high will Reed Sheppard be selected? 

Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard remains one of the most polarizing draft prospects in the class. Depending on who you ask, Sheppard is a top five prospect and a top ten lock at the worst (I fall in this camp). He combines an elite, translatable NBA skill in his bullseye 3-point shooting (52% on 4.4 attempts per game, 144 total) alongside solid ball skills, disruptive defensive playmaking (3.2 stocks per game) and a knack for making big plays on both ends of the floor. 

For others, he’s more of a late lottery or late first rounder at best. Those in this camp understandably point to Sheppard’s lack of ideal size (6-foot-2, 6-foot-3 wingspan), and concerns around his advantage creation and on ball defense as severe limitations that hamper both his floor and ceiling. 

No matter where he’s selected, I believe Sheppard can be a star role player that can impact winning in the regular season and playoffs. Whether it’s as a starter or reserve, will largely depend on roster construction and the development plan the selecting team has for him. 

Will Ron Holland end up being amongst the biggest steals/value picks? 

One of the more notable rumors right now is that Holland will slip out of the lottery. If that happens, Holland, my second ranked prospect in the class, will be one of the best value picks and potential steals in the 2024 draft. 

Holland is a 6-foot-6 (6-foot-10 wingspan), two-way slashing wing and shot maker with ever developing ball skills and a high motor, but significant questions about his jumper. His floor could see him thriving as an athletic play finisher with shot making upside that provides defensive playmaking and versatility. A realistic medium to high outcome comparison blend could look something like a mix of Gerald Wallace and RJ Barrett. 

Teams just outside of the lottery like the Heat (#15), Lakers (#17) and Cavaliers (#20) all make a ton of sense. 

Who gave DaRon Holmes II a first-round promise? 

Holmes II reportedly has a first-round promise from a team and quite frankly, should have multiple despite not being considered a consensus first round pick by mainstream outlets. For me, he received a lottery grade that I feel great about. 

Dayton’s star big man blends the traditional big man stuff with elements of the modern big. Measuring at about 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-one wingspan,  Holmes II thrives as a long and athletic play finisher, vertical spacer, rim runner and shot blocker. He provides some scheme versatility with his ability to switch and play drop coverage. 

He’s proving to be a reliable floor spacer, trustworthy short roll decision maker and a capable live dribble passer with functional ball skills. Although not expected to be featured in the post, he can score facing up or on the block as well, giving teams a terrific option when looking to attack switches and advantage situations.

A big like Holmes II makes sense for literally every team in the league. Some of my favorite fits and first round promise candidates include the Thunder, Lakers, Suns, Knicks, Nuggets and Celtics. 

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Jam Hines

JAM HINES

Jam is a scout with nearly a decade of evaluation experience through his time with former NBA scouting and consulting services, EV Hoops and BPA Hoops. From the high school to NBA level, he brings a wealth of knowledge on prospects.