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Standout Players at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine

More than 120 prospects showed off their skills, hoping to increase their draft stocks.

A thrilling NBA draft season is underway. More than 120 candidates showcased their skills during the 2024 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, and excitement increased when the Atlanta Hawks obtained the first overall pick. This year, attendance was mandatory for all invited players, meaning that scouts got a thorough examination of the incoming talent pool.

Bronny James was one of the most talked-about prospects, drawing a lot of media attention to his presence. Savannah and LeBron James were there to encourage their son, who displayed excellent off-ball play and shooting technique. Bronny has potential, but given his current skill set, it might be better for him to spend another year at USC to hone his shot creation.

Creighton's Baylor Scheierman stood out at the combine and might have been the MVP based on his scrimmage performance. The 6-foot-7 guard attracted the attention of NBA teams with his shooting, rebounding, and passing abilities. Throughout the combine, his flexibility and tremendous basketball IQ were on display.

Nikola Djurisic, who previously played for Serbia's KK Mega Basket, shone brilliantly. The 6-foot-8 prospect was an excellent passer and scorer, demonstrating his playmaking and space-creation abilities.

Illinois's Coleman Hawkins chose to declare for the NBA draft instead of returning for a fifth year of college basketball. The 6-foot-10 forward displayed his ability to score points, particularly in pick-and-pop scenarios. His agility and scoring efficiency were excellent, and despite some defensive concerns, he was a noteworthy prospect.

USC’s Boogie Ellis and Colorado’s KJ Simpson, two smaller guards, exemplified the competitive nature of the combine. Both made their scrimmages exciting and enhanced their draft stocks by showing leadership, tenacity, and scoring prowess. 

In his game, Simpson scored 16 points and pulled down three rebounds, showcasing his ability to get past opponents and create space. His 40.5-inch maximum vertical leap confirmed his physical ability, showing why he’s a potential top-50 pick.  Simpson's good defense and infectious energy will make him highly sought after in the NBA.

At barely six feet tall, Houston guard Jamal Shead isn’t the biggest player – but he has shown his tenacity and ability to make plays. His performance in Chicago, particularly his scoring and tough defense, presented a compelling case for a spot in an NBA rotation.

Marquette's Oso Ighodaro made a strong impression with his versatility on defense and ability to get rebounds. Despite not being a perimeter threat, the 6-foot-9 forward was able to guard several positions and contribute offensively.

Adem Bona of UCLA impressed with his physicality and athleticism. His skill in finishing at the rim and defending the basket gives him the potential to be a significant asset to an NBA team.

With his remarkable athleticism and fortifying defense, Providence’s Devin Carter was one of the most captivating players at the combine. He set a record in the three-quarter court sprint and tied for first place in the maximum standing vertical leap with a 42-inch jump. His performance in Chicago, along with his Big East Player of the Year campaign at Providence, has made him a solid first-round choice. This versatile two-way guard could be a good match for the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 12, the Sacramento Kings at No. 13, or the New Orleans Pelicans at No. 21. 

Unlike some of the other prospects, Rob Dillingham, a Kentucky guard, saw his draft stock decline at the combine. At just 6-foot-1 and 164.2 pounds, he's being questioned for his defensive abilities. Although Dillingham still has a wide variety of offensive weapons, his smaller frame makes it unclear whether he is ready for the NBA.

Wake Forest’s Hunter Sallis performed poorly in the 3-point star shooting drill and other critical measures, putting up only a 29.5-inch no-step vertical. Based on his results, it appears he would've had better draft chances if he had spent an additional year in college.

Despite being one of the top shooters, Iowa's Payton Sandfort had trouble during scrimmages and ended up with more airballs than made baskets. His draft status has suffered as a result of his failure to settle into 5-on-5 play, which makes staying another year in college look like a better choice.

The upcoming draft will be exciting thanks to the extensive look at the skill pool that the 2024 NBA Draft Combine offered. Teams will have a lot to think about when selecting players, with some facing challenges and others on the rise.

The 2024 NBA Draft – set for June 26 – is rapidly approaching, and team tactics and judgments will be greatly influenced by prospects’ combine performances and evaluations. In the coming weeks, we’ll be tracking the most recent mock drafts and prospect rankings to see how they affect the final draft.


Edited by Ella Chang

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