5 Worst picks of the 2024 NBA Draft first round

The 2024 NBA Draft featured multiple questionable picks.
2024 NBA Draft, Tidjane Salaun
2024 NBA Draft, Tidjane Salaun / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA Draft is not done. This is the first year of the two-day format. Round one is in the books, but 28 more prospects will be selected on day two. Johnny Furphy and Kyle Filipowski were left in the green room on June 26, and figure to be two of the first names off the board in the second round.

The defending champion Boston Celtics took Baylor Scheierman with the 30th overall pick. The 6’7 wing gives the franchise versatility and another plus shooter to round out their roster. It was a fantastic selection and is another quality option off their bench for Boston.

Not all the selections were winners on Wednesday night, and these were the five worst.

5. Heat taking Kel’el Ware at 15

Ware was the number six player in his high school class in 2022 and a projected lottery selection in 2023 before a disastrous freshman season at Oregon. The seven-footer transferred to Indiana where his play improved. The 20-year-old has size and upside, but it was early to reach for the big man.

The Heat agreed to an extension with Bam Adebayo on June 26 that locks him until 2029. Miami immediately drafted a center just outside the lottery. Ware made just 33.7 percent of his 95 NCAA 3-point attempts, which makes it difficult to see him playing next to Bam. Did the Heat just draft a backup big man at 15 overall? That is the most likely scenario as long as he stays in South Beach.

4. Bucks reaching for A.J. Johnson in 1st round

Nearly everyone had Johnson projected as a second-round draft pick, but Bucks general manager Jon Horst is never shy about taking his player. It does not always work, but credit his confidence and boldness.

Johnson averaged 2.9 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 8.3 minutes per game playing for Illawarra in the Australian NBL. The 19-year-old has plenty of potential, but he is likely multiple years away from holding down a spot in the rotation.

Johnson was the second-lightest player in this class and has significant questions on both ends of the floor. Reaching for him at 23rd overall was likely a mistake, and it is on the Bucks to help him realize his potential.

3. Timberwolves trading to draft Rob Dillingham at 8

Minnesota made a bold move in this draft. They traded an unprotected first-rounder in 2031 and a 2030 first-round pick swap to get the eighth overall pick from the Spurs. The Timberwolves selected Dillingham, which was surprising on multiple fronts.

Dillingham was campaigning to end up in San Antonio. The Spurs need a point guard, so it was telling they traded this pick. Clearly, they did not see their lead ball-handler of the future on the board.

Minnesota is a team built on defense, but drafted the worst defender in this class. Dillingham is 6’1 and weighed just 164.2 pounds at the combine. He was by far the lightest player and will be targeted on defense.

Dillingham profiles best as a sixth man. He can light up the scoreboard and does not have to be relentlessly attacked with the starters on the floor. Picking a sixth man at eighth overall seems like a reach, even in an uncertain draft class.

2. The Grizzlies taking Zach Edey at 9

Edey was the best player in NCAA basketball for the last two years, but translating his game to the next level won’t be easy. He produced monster numbers at Purdue, but the 7’4 big man struggles mightily defending on the perimeter. It won’t be as easy to bully in the post, and Edey made just one of his two college 3-pointers.

The 22-year-old may be a backup big man in his prime. Teams will try to play Edey off the floor. The Grizzlies need a center, but taking a drop-coverage big man with no jumper is dangerous. Memphis will be one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA next season, which only adds to the bust potential of this selection.

The Grizzlies filled a need, but it could become problematic quickly if Zach Edey cannot handle his workload. Memphis wants to contend, and Edey should reach his prime quickly after four years of college basketball.

1. Hornets taking Tidjane Salaun at 6

Many had Salaun going in the mid-to-late first round, but the Hornets fell in love with the 6’9 forward. He averaged 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 23.4 minutes per game this season. There is plenty of potential, but Charlotte desperately needs this pick to hit.

There is a ton to like, but the downside is a massive. He may never be a consistent role player in the NBA, which would be a gigantic disaster for Charlotte. The Hornets need this to work or bigger problems will arise.

The 2024 NBA Draft had multiple head-scratching choices. Only time will tell who becomes a star from this class, but these were the worst picks with the information everyone had on June 26.