The 2024 NBA Draft Prospects Outside The Lottery That Can Help Playoff Teams

The broad national focus on most drafts across the sports is at the top, and the 2024 NBA Draft is no exception. After a 2023 draft fueled by Victor Wembanyama’s generational status and a genuine debate between Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller at No. 2 overall, the 2024 class is a bit of a letdown in terms of star power. In fact, the consensus points to the top of the 2024 group being as weak as any since 2013, and there is legitimate uncertainty as to which prospect will come off the board at No. 1 overall when the league begins its two-day draft on June 26.

There is, of course, a reason that the top of the draft generates the most attention, as the No. 1 spot is, by far, the most likely to produce a superstar when looking at historical drafts. To that end, the 2024 draft is often assigned the “bad draft” label a bit too flippantly. The top is certainly weak, but by the time the mid-to-late lottery arrives, the 2024 class isn’t all that different than a “normal” draft class in terms of talent and depth.

That means that there will inevitably be picks outside the top ten that could produce long-time quality supporting pieces and, with 2013 as a reminder around Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert, stars can also emerge from unexpected places. In this space, we’ll highlight five 2024 prospects that could help return plenty of value from a lower placement on the board, but first, a brief look at a duo of players that fly off the board too high to qualify.

Devin Carter and Zach Edey

If this piece ran a month or two ago, Carter would have been the poster child. With that said, he is now popping up in the lottery on a bevy of mock drafts, and the consensus is building. Quite honestly, it is easy to see why. Carter is already a terrific defender with a near 6’9 wingspan, and his underlying defensive numbers are quite encouraging. He is also a tremendous competitor by all accounts, and Carter’s shooting development (38 percent from three this season) was eye-opening. He’s a favorite of mine.

Edey has always been highly polarizing. For one, he was clearly a generational college basketball player, carrying Purdue to the national title game, deservedly winning a pair of National Player of the Year awards, and generally dominating the competition. On the other hand, many question Edey’s translation to the modern NBA, particularly when it comes to defending in space. Still, it only takes one team to fall in love to take Edey off the board and, quite frankly, he is the most famous player in this class outside of maybe Bronny James. He’ll get plenty of attention.

Isaiah Collier

It’s tempting to include Collier alongside Carter and Edey, but instead, we’ll lead with him in the five-pack of prospects not currently projected for top-10 landing spots. Admittedly, Collier has major fans, particularly in “Draft Twitter” spaces, but the more mainstream boards and team intel point to skepticism from NBA teams. To be honest, I don’t quite understand why.

Collier is a clear lottery pick in the 2024 class in my view, and it is easy to forget that he was once pegged as a potential No. 1 overall pick. Granted, that doesn’t ensure anything, as high school phenoms sometimes burn brightly and then completely fade away. But Collier actually showed plenty at USC if you look closely.

One reason Collier is slipping in some circles is that, well, USC was brutal this season. There was plenty of talent on the roster, but the pieces never fit together and no one benefitted. Collier was at least part of the challenge in the middle of the season, but Collier closed quite well, showing off his potential as a lead ball-handler and creator.

Collier might be the best player in the class at breaking the paint from the perimeter, and he has enough feel to play a lead guard role in the NBA. He’ll need to shoot it better than the 33.8 percent from three-point range and 67.3 percent from the free throw line in 2023-24, but there isn’t anything broken with the mechanics. In a class that struggles badly with star upside, Collier actually has some.

DaRon Holmes

DaRon Holmes is just good at basketball. He was the best player on a very good Dayton team the last two years, and Holmes was an All-American selection as a junior. The numbers are very strong, including 20.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game with 54.4 percent shooting and 38.6 percent from three-point range. He also blocked 2.1 shots per game on defense and led the A-10 in free throw attempts in back-to-back seasons. Oh, and it isn’t just the numbers.

Holmes is actually the rare “dribble, pass, shoot” player who is also capable of doing the traditional big man stuff. He can make short roll reads. He’s a good passer in other situations. He rebounds. He protects the rim. He can at least kind of move on the perimeter. He even has a 7’1 wingspan that isn’t overwhelming, but it’s fine.

Holmes still may fall too far because he’s only 6’9 without shoes and almost 22 years old. I do understand the drawbacks and wouldn’t advocate for a top-10 grade on Holmes. But there is a lot to like and he can help a team more quickly than most draft prospects can.

Tristan da Silva

Tristan da Silva is old by NBA prospect standards. After a four-year college career at Colorado, he’s already 23, and that sends shivers down the spine of at least some evaluators. That is a reason he is widely projected to fall out of the lottery but, if he was 20, he probably wouldn’t. He just finished an outstanding senior season in Boulder, producing 49/39/84 shooting splits, scoring efficiently, playing unselfishly, and showing the “dribble, pass, shoot” game that entices NBA teams.

While da Silva is not the most explosive athlete in the world, he isn’t a total non-athlete either, and at more than 6’8 without shoes, he doesn’t have to be. He has finishing craft near the rim. He makes the right reads with the ball. He also doesn’t need the ball to operate. It isn’t terribly sexy, but da Silva makes logical sense as an NBA role player.

Kyle Filipowski

Do you think Kyle Filipowski can hold up on defense? The answer to that question likely goes a long way in determining how you feel about the former Duke big man at the NBA level. Filipowski has center height (about 6’11 without shoes) but actually has a negative wingspan and isn’t the most exciting athlete from an NBA perspective. Unquestionably, he is limited when it comes to projecting as a game-changing defender at the next level. With that said, Filipowski operates well within the team concept and has played enough on the perimeter where he isn’t a fish out of water. There is enough to get by if he’s in the right system and with the right people around him.

On the other end, it is much easier to see the appeal. Filipowski was a consensus All-American after putting up 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, and he showed real potency as an interior scorer at times this season. The biggest thing, though, is that Filipowski can step out and shoot, make reads as a passer, and even put the ball on the floor when he needs to. That isn’t to say that he’s an absolute knock-down three-point shooter right now, because he isn’t, but Filipowski can return value as a big who can play the 4 and the 5 without taking too much off the table. It also helps to have elite pedigree dating back to high school, and he does.

Ryan Dunn

At minimum, Ryan Dunn is one of the two best defensive players in the 2024 class, along with Donovan Clingan. Why, then, is Dunn projected to slip into the late 20’s or even out of the first round by mainstream outlets? Well, he is a complete mess on offense.

He averaged 8.1 points per game at Virginia and, even with the caveat of the glacial pace deployed by Tony Bennett’s team, that isn’t what you would expect from a potential first round wing. Dunn did shoot 54.8 percent from the field, including 61.8 percent inside the arc, but he finished a two-year college career attempting only 51 three-pointers (yikes) and making only 12 of them (double yikes). Dunn’s mechanics need a major overhaul, and he was also a career 52.5 percent free throw shooter at the college level, albeit in a tiny sample.

While I will admit to a great affection for Dunn’s game, it is possible that he just won’t be guarded, and that makes life difficult, especially when it comes to playoff basketball. With that said, Dunn is a total game-wrecker on defense, and that alone should get him a real landing spot in this class.

He finished his college career with a 10.4 percent block rate, and led the ACC in block rate, total blocks, and blocks per game in 2023-24. As a reminder, Dunn is a 6’8 wing, not a primary rim protector. He also averaged 3.1 steals per 100 possessions as a sophomore, and Dunn measured with a wingspan north of 7’1 at the combine. The tape doesn’t lie either, as Dunn truly terrorizes opponents on a regular basis. He also has the NBA-level athleticism needed to carry that to the league.

Is he Andre Roberson? Maybe. But if he can find a niche on offense, either as a corner three-point shooter or potentially as a short roll threat, Dunn can be awesome.