2024 NBA Draft Early Prospect Rankings: Kentucky’s Justin Edwards Takes the Top Spot
Back in July, I penned an article discussing four early contenders and two dark horses for the coveted No. 1 spot in the 2024 NBA Draft. I made sure to emphasize that these rankings could fluctuate significantly over the upcoming year. Fast forward to late September, and indeed, a lot has changed in a relatively short span.
Matas Buzelis, who initially claimed the No. 1 spot in our “way-too-early” rankings for 2024, was at the helm of a talent-rich G League Ignite team. However, his position at the top has shifted due to a roller-coaster few months, showcasing his potential while also revealing areas where growth is essential if he intends to secure the No. 1 pick next summer.
As a result, Buzelis now finds himself at No. 6 in our updated prospect rankings for 2024, partly influenced by his performance but mainly due to the ascent of other contenders in the top echelons of this class.
Kentucky’s Justin Edwards Claims the Throne
Our new No. 1 prospect, and once again, I must stress the possibility of further changes in the coming months, is Justin Edwards, a freshman forward from the University of Kentucky.
Edwards left an indelible mark with his scoring, playmaking, and creation abilities during his short stint with the Kentucky Wildcats in Canada. Despite the Wildcats grappling with injuries in their frontcourt, Edwards played a pivotal role in helping the team secure accolades. This former five-star recruit possesses the physical attributes and maturity to make a significant impact on and off the court. His unique combination of length, athleticism, and ball-handling skills positions him as a natural fit for the NBA.
Hot on His Heels – Ron Holland at No. 2
Trailing closely behind Edwards is another rapidly ascending former five-star talent, Ron Holland, who made a strong impression during his summer stint with the G League Ignite team.
Holland, previously committed to Texas, showcased his immense potential during the team’s recent exhibition matches against the NBL’s Perth Wildcats. He erupted for 56 points across two games and capped off his week with a sensational 33-point performance, accompanied by five steals and six rebounds.
For now, Edwards holds the No. 1 spot in our rankings, but it’s crucial to understand that the race between him and Holland is more of a 1A and 1B situation, with both emerging as clear early favorites.
G League Ignite’s Impact
Ron Holland’s G League Ignite teammates also promise to have a say in the race for the top spot. Matas Buzelis, who slipped to No. 6 in our rankings, remains an intriguing prospect as a versatile wing player with ball-handling skills.
Additionally, there’s the remarkable ascent of Alexandre Sarr, a dominant big man who emerged as one of the standout performers in the series against Perth, garnering attention from both sides. Sarr spent the previous seasons with Overtime Elite, making him an intriguing potential first-round pick. Impressively, he appears poised to transition from a definite first-round selection to a possible top-10 pick and an unexpected contender for the No. 1 spot.
So, how have the rest of the early rankings shaped up in our inaugural prospect rankings for the 2024 NBA Draft? Here’s a glimpse at the top 10 on the 2024 NBA Draft Big Board.