How bad is the 2024 NBA Draft? Why this year’s class has been labeled among worst in history

The 2024 NBA Draft has been touted as a bad draft.

On the heels of a 2023 NBA Draft that produced a generational talent in Victor Wembanyama, it’s tough to stack up to that level of hype. This year’s draft class is not expected to have that type of franchise-altering talent at the top or anywhere throughout.

“It reminds me of the 2013 draft when Anthony Bennett went No. 1,” a Western Conference executive told Fox Sports’ Ric Bucher back in May. “There are good players in this draft. The issue is, even in the top three, there are no franchise changers,” an Eastern Conference executive said.

The former part of that second quote feels important to specify.

Draft classes are often judged by their star power. In 2024’s case, the two prospects jockeying to go No. 1 — Zaccharie Risacher (France) and Alexandre Sarr (Australia) — did not play college basketball. Nor did four other players who are projected to go in the lottery.

That unfamiliarity leaves the general public lukewarm on the headliner names (and also explains why there’s so much interest in where college stars like Zach Edey and Bronny James will end up).

But is this draft class as bad as it’s being made out to be?

Comparing 2024 NBA Draft to 2013 NBA Draft

The 2013 NBA Draft is widely considered to be the worst in recent history. Even if the 2024 NBA Draft isn’t loaded with star power, it feels deeper than the 2013 class.

UNLV’s Anthony Bennett went No. 1 overall and turned out to be one of the biggest busts of all time. He only played four seasons and 151 games in the NBA, averaging 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds.

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Victor Oladipo (No. 2 overall) was the only player picked in the lottery who ended up being an All-Star.

The 2013 draft class was somewhat salvaged by future international stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 15) and Rudy Gobert (No. 27).

Beyond that duo, the next group of names to highlight would be Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J. McCollum, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder, and Kelly Olynyk.

Out of 60 picks, that is … bleak, from both a star-power and role-player perspective.

There are no prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft class who are complete products. Even the top-ranked players have very clear weaknesses, and their improvements in those areas will define how their careers shake out.

But some prospects excel in certain areas that will allow them to carve out roles in NBA rotations for years to come.

That is why this draft class — from a depth perspective — feels more like 2020 than it is 2013.

Comparing 2024 NBA Draft to 2020 NBA Draft

The 2020 NBA Draft class was also labeled a bad draft. In hindsight, that aged poorly.

Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball were anticipated to be superstar-caliber players, but there wasn’t much hype beyond those two.

Four years later, it has produced All-Stars like Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey. There are also more than a handful of key role players from that class around the NBA.

Desmond Bane, Jaden McDaniels, Devin Vassell, Obi Toppin, Payton Pritchard, Deni Avdija, Immanuel Quickley, and Aaron Nesmith are a few. Patrick Williams, Onyeka Okongwu, Isaiah Joe, Cole Anthony, Isaiah Stewart, and Tre Jones are worth mentioning, too.

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Ahead of that draft, I wrote about how that class had a different type of potential. Why can’t 2024 be the same?

Risacher, Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham, Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, and Duke’s Jared McCain can all shoot the cover off the ball. Sarr and UConn’s Donovan Clingan are ready to contribute as defensive anchors and lob-catchers from Day 1.

UConn’s Stephon Castle, G League Ignite’s Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland, and Colorado’s Cody Williams are jack-of-all-trades-type prospects with a ton of potential. Colorado’s Tristan da Silva and Marquette’s Tyler Kolek are upperclassmen ready to provide minutes off the bench right now.

And that’s just to name a couple of projected first-rounders.

In the same way that few anticipated Haliburton, Maxey, Bane, and McDaniels turning into rising stars, there will be players from the 2024 class who break out unexpectedly.

No, this class does not have an Edwards or Ball-type franchise cornerstone, but there are plenty of players who do certain things really well and will make a long career in the NBA because of it.

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