5 Most OBVIOUS Potential Draft BUSTS From The 2024 NBA Draft…And 5 Potential STEALS

It’s almost impossible to find a draft in all four major sports in North America that doesn’t include a few prospects who turned out to be busts. It’s also quite common for a few under-the-radar guys who were initially overlooked during their respective drafts but turned out to be very good in their profession. The NBA is no exception to this phenomenon. With the conclusion of the 2024 NBA Draft, some unheralded prospects may turn into a solid pro a few years from now, while other renowned prospects will falter and fail to adjust their game at the NBA level.

Here are the five most obvious potential draft busts from the 2024 NBA Draft and five potential steals who will thrive in the league.

Who are going to end up as busts in the 2024 NBA Draft, and who are going to be great players?

Potential Steal: Matas Buzelis

Matas Buzelis scouting reportMatas Buzelis (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Before coming to the NBA, many scouts ranked Buzelis between the three to five range in this draft class. He was fairly impressive during his lone season at G-League Ignite and has shown immense promise on both ends of the court. Basketball is in Buzelis’s blood as both of his parents played professionally in Lithuania before immigrating to the United States and settling in the Chicago area.

He clearly knows what it takes to succeed as a professional. The Bulls were reportedly ecstatic that he fell into their lap at the 11th spot. They now have added a foundational player who has the potential to become a star down the road.

Potential Bust: Ron Holland

HENDERSON, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 08: Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite warms up before an NBA G League Fall Invitational game against the Perth Wildcats on September 08, 2023 in Henderson, Nevada. The Wildcats defeated Ignite 127-112. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

This may be a tough pill to swallow for Holland’s fans, but Detroit is arguably not the best place for a promising player like him to start his career. This once-proud franchise has been the NBA’s laughingstock in recent years, and their legendary losing streak last season was demoralizing to watch, even if you’re not a fan of the team.

Holland’s probability of becoming a bust is high due solely to the Pistons. Can this team maximize his talent and develop his abysmal percentage at the three-point line? Do the Pistons afford him to make a lot of mistakes to learn and improve his game? Are they going to be patient with his development as a player? There are more questions at this point rather than answers when it comes to Holland’s time in Detroit.

Potential Steal: Tidjane Salaun

When the Hornets selected Tidjane Salaun as the sixth pick of the 2024 NBA Draft, many fans trolled the franchise as they lamented that the team went for a high-risk, high-reward player instead of going all in on UConn’s Donovan Clingan, who was still available on the board.

In all fairness, we don’t have any idea how Salaun’s game will translate into the NBA. But with an NBA body ready at the age of 18, he could turn out as the best prospect in this year’s class if the Hornets develop him properly. He can drive to the rim and shoot threes, and he was a nightly lob threat at LNB Pro A last season. Salaun’s highlights are comparable to a young Giannis Antetokounmpo with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Potential Bust: Rob Dillingham

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – MARCH 15: Rob Dillingham #0 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball in the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies during the quarterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 15, 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Many pundits agree that Dillingham was one of the most creative shotmakers in college. He has a quick release on his jump shot and is equipped with agility comparable to that of today’s NBA guards. However, the Kentucky star is only 6 foot 1 with shoes and only boasts a 6 foot 3 wingspan.

While many smaller guards went on to have long and successful careers in the association, they all had one thing in common – they were all pests defensively. Dillingham plays little to no defense on the court. Weighing at just 164 pounds, teams will hunt him on switches to exploit his weakness as a player. Dillingham may provide the Wolves with another shot creator aside from Anthony Edwards, but unless he bulks up and competes on defense, this pick may hurt them more than it could help them.

Potential Steal: Carlton Carrington

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 15: Carlton Carrington #7 of the Pittsburgh Panthers handles the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Semifinals of the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 15, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

When Carrington played first in Pittsburgh a year ago, he was not on anybody’s radar as a potential one-and-done prospect. After a strong showing at the NBA Combine, it was clear that this 18-year-old has what it takes to succeed at the next level.

It’s no wonder the Wizards quickly made a deal with the Blazers for the rights to the 14th selection in the 2024 NBA Draft, which they happily used to draft Carrington. As a 6 foot 5 point guard, the Pittsburgh star already has a good-looking shot in his arsenal. Plus, he has also shown that he can rebound the ball at a high rate and facilitate on offense.

Potential Bust: Cody Williams

DAYTON, OHIO – MARCH 20: Cody Williams #10 of the Colorado Buffaloes dribbles the ball while being guarded by Roddie Anderson III #0 of the Boise State Broncos in the first half in the First Four game of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at University of Dayton Arena on March 20, 2024 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Cody Williams – the younger brother of OKC’s Jalen Williams – was one of the high risers leading into the 2024 NBA Draft. He was a very good scorer in college and has shot at a high clip at the three-point line. These are usually good traits for a young prospect, but the problem is that he may have a hard time adjusting to the physicality of an NBA game.

First of all, he was a terrible defensive player in his lone year at Colorado. If he’s going to be projected as a prototypical three-and-D player in the league, then he needs to do a ton of work on the defensive end of the floor. His lack of an alpha mentality was also questioned during the pre-draft process. Unlike his older brother, Cody did not show any strong leadership skills during his time in college.

Potential Steal: Isaiah Collier

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 14: Isaiah Collier #1 of the USC Trojans handles the ball in the second half of a quarterfinal game against the Arizona Wildcats during the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 14, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wildcats defeated the Trojans 70-49. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Collier was one of the biggest-name prospects who slid at the back end of the first round in the 2024 NBA Draft. While his USC stats were impressive, a deeper dive exposed flaws in his game, like his high turnover rate and inconsistent three-point shot.

However, at the 29th spot, this was a steal for the Utah Jazz. After his decorated high school career, Collier was once billed as a top-three prospect in the draft. The talent is already there for him. Some players have fared better in the pros than in college, and that might be the case for Collier. He can go downhill with ease and is a good finisher inside the paint despite playing the point. If Utah can maximize his hidden potential, then many teams will regret passing on him on draft night.

Potential Bust: Kyle Filipowski

DALLAS, TEXAS – MARCH 31: Kyle Filipowski #30 of the Duke Blue Devils controls the ball as Mohamed Diarra #23 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack defends in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at American Airlines Center on March 31, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Even though Duke’s Filipowski was a second-round pick and posed a low-risk, high-reward scenario for the Jazz, he’s included in this list as he was a consensus first-round prospect before the 2024 NBA Draft. Despite standing at 7 feet, Filipowski was never a physical player for Duke. He relies too heavily on his jump shot, and if those don’t fall, expect the rest of his game to falter as well.

He’s an average defender at best and tries to dribble the ball too much to create his own offense. With the Jazz, he’ll be buried in their depth chart and will possibly play the bulk of his minutes in the G-League next season. In addition, he has some serious issues off the court that contributed to his slide in the draft.

Potential Steal: Nikola Topic

01/02/2024 Istanbul, Turkey. Nikola Topic, #44 of Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade warms up before the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 18 match between Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul and Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade at Ulker Sports Arena. (Photo by Altan Gocher / Middle East Images / Middle East Images via AFP) (Photo by ALTAN GOCHER/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

Nikola Topic’s slide in the draft was solely due to the ACL injury he suffered while playing in Europe. As a result, he will be expected to miss all of next season to rehab and get stronger. For a young team like OKC, this was a calculated pick for them. They landed a player who was projected to be picked within the four to eight range in the draft at the 12th spot.

The Thunder already have the blueprint for drafting a player with tons of potential who sat out the first year due to an injury. Just ask Chet Holmgren, who turned out to be a great player for them last season. Topic has a higher ceiling than Josh Giddey, whom they traded to the Bulls recently.

Potential Bust: Alex Sarr

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 10: Alex Sarr of the Wildcats controls the ball against against Josh Roberts of the Taipans during the round 19 NBL match between Perth Wildcats and Cairns Taipans at RAC Arena, on February 10, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
While many analysts predicted that Sarr would be a safer choice for the top pick this year(he went to the Wizards at two), it’s still not guaranteed that he’ll be able to adjust to the NBA’s physicality. Sarr’s jump shot is still years away from being consistent, and there were times last year at the NBL when he shied away from physical play.

Making things worse, the Wizards recently signed Jonas Valanciunas—a veteran center—to anchor the paint next season. This generally means that Sarr will come off the bench for the team next season and will not start for them, as many have suggested. The signing of Valanciunas will have a direct effect on Sarr’s early development at the NBA level. It just goes to show that he was never as close as a prospect that Victor Wembanyama once was.

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