Victor Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4 phenom, became the first French player to ever be picked first overall in the NBA Draft when the San Antonio Spurs selected him Thursday night. Next year, Zaccharie Risacher has a chance to become the second.
It's a reminder that basketball is truly an international sport.
Risacher is a 6-9 wing who is already a versatile defender and proven shooter despite the fact that he only turned 18 in April. He's the son of a former professional basketball player and will join the ever-growing list of NBA players with family members who were also professional athletes.
Which brings me to Bronny James.
LeBron James' oldest son is the most-famous prospect who is expected to be in the 2024 NBA Draft after spending one season playing for Andy Enfield at USC — and I'm not ruling out the possibility that he'll turn into the lottery pick some already believe him to be. But, for now, I'm projecting the younger James to go somewhere outside of the lottery, though there's always a chance a franchise could reach with the idea being that if you draft the younger James you'll then have a good opportunity to also sign his father, who just so happens to be the NBA's all-time leading scorer and somebody who is still playing at a high level deep into his 30s.
My projected lottery picks for the 2024 NBA Draft are below. The list is mostly filled with recent high school graduates and international prospects..
Never-too-early 2024 NBA Mock Draft
Order based on SportsLine projected 2024 win totals prior to 2023 NBA Draft
|Zaccharie Risacher, France -- Risacher is a 6-9 wing from France who guards with a purpose and can already reliably make 3-pointers at the age of 18. His father, Stephane Risacher, played professionally and won a silver medal representing France at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
|Matas Buzelis, G League Ignite -- Buzelis is a 6-11 wing who can bounce it and shoot it and do most of the things on offense that franchises want long and skilled prospects to do in the modern NBA. The 18-year-old American, who is the son of immigrants who both played professionally in Lithuania before moving to the United State, will spend the next year playing for the G-League Ignite program that has produced lottery picks like Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Dyson Daniels and Scoot Henderson.
|Ron Holland, G League Ignite -- Holland is the top prospect in the Class of 2023, according to 247Sports. The 6-8 wing is an elite athlete oozing with upside who will spend the next year playing for the G-League Ignite alongside fellow projected top-10 pick Buzelis.
|Justin Edwards, Kentucky -- Edwards is a 6-7 wing who is the highest-rated prospect in Kentucky's top-ranked recruiting class, according to 247Sports. He's the son of a former professional athlete who has great positional size and the type of athleticism that allows him to be an active defender, electric slasher and elite rebounder.
|Isaiah Collier, USC -- Collier is a pass-first point guard who was the co-MVP of the 2023 McDonald's All-America Game -- and the 2023 Naismith Prep Player of the Year, an award previously won by future stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Next season, the 6-3 pick-and-roll maestro will likely start in USC's backcourt alongside Boogie Ellis and Bronny James.
|Cody Williams, Colorado -- Williams is a 6-8 wing who is a plus-defender on one end of the court and a playmaker on the other. He's the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Jalen Williams and will spend next season playing for Tad Boyle at Colorado.
|D.J. Wagner, Kentucky -- Wagner, a Kentucky signee, was named co-MVP of the 2023 McDonald's All-American game after finishing with 19 points and 12 assists while leading his East team to a victory. The 6-3 combo guard is the grandson of former McDonald's All-American Milt Wagner, and the son of former McDonald's All-American Dajuan Wagner, making his family the first in history to produce three generations of McDonald's All-Americans.
|Aaron Bradshaw, Kentucky -- Bradshaw has most of the tools to develop into a high-level modern big who rim-protects, guards in space, catches lobs and makes shots from the perimeter. Assuming a foot fracture suffered recently doesn't slow his development and/or keep him sidelined too long, the 7-foot center should start in the middle for Kentucky.
|Thierry Darlan, G League ignite -- Darlan is a 6-6 guard with a 7-1 wingspan who was born in Africa and is a graduate of the NBA Academy in Senegal. He passed on offers from Kansas and Arizona to join Buzelis and Holland with the G-League Ignite.
|Kyle Filipowski, Duke -- Filipowski was largely considered the best prospect who decided to return to college rather than enter the 2023 NBA Draft. The 7-foot big averaged 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds last season and is the biggest reason the Blue Devils are among the favorites to win the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
|Stephon Castle, UConn -- Castle will be the main player in UConn's heralded recruiting class expected to help keep the Huskies at or near the top of the sport. At this point, the 6-6 combo guard is more of a pick-and-roll playmaker than reliable shooter, but he could develop into a dynamic weapon if the jumper comes around and attention to detail on the defensive end of the court improves.
|Jakobe Walter, Baylor -- Walter is a gifted guard with good positional size whose biggest gift is an ability to get the ball in the basket. He should be the next perimeter player to develop into a lottery pick at Baylor.
|Mackenzie Mgbako, Duke -- Mgbako projects as the type of stretch-the-floor forward who is critical to success in today's NBA. He was initially committed to Duke but decided to instead enroll at Indiana after Filipowski announced his return to the Blue Devils.
|Donovan Clingan, UConn -- Clingan had some first-round buzz before deciding not to enter the 2023 NBA Draft. He's reportedly grown since helping the Huskies win the national championship and should be one of the best bigs in college basketball next season.