After the excitement of the last two NBA Drafts, it’s easy to envision that the league is about to undergo a flood of new talent.
With the longevity of professionals only becoming more and more secure with advances in medical technology and the shifted focus on health and conditioning for players, talent is lasting longer in the NBA than ever before, and with the ever-increasing influx of professional-caliber athletes joining the league every year, it’s not hard to see why the NBA and its Commissioner Adam Silver are seriously considering an expansion that would bring in two new teams.
That being said, while the draft has steadily produced more lasting talent each year for a while now, it appears that this upcoming class is due for a return to the mean. The 2022 NBA Draft class had four prospects that were considered top-tier in Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., and Jaden Ivey.
The 2023 crop may have had even more potential All-Stars with headliners Victor Wembenyama and Scoot Henderson leading the way, while players like Brandon Miller, Amen and Ausar Thompson, and Anthony Black gave teams lower in the lottery a strong chance at securing a franchise cornerstone despite not landing a top-three selection.
D.J. Wagner stats
That’s not expected to be the case in 2024, as this upcoming draft class is highly regarded as one of the weakest in recent memory, at least in terms of star potential.
The same thing was said for 2020, however, and that draft has already produced some very tantalizing young players just three seasons into their careers, with talents such as Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball at the top of the draft and sleepers like Tyrese Haliburton and Tyrese Maxey proving to be steals at their relative selections.
|1. Washington Wizards : Ron Holland | G League Ignite | SF/PF | Age: 17.9|
|2. Detroit Pistons : Matas Buzelis | G League Ignite | SF | Age: 18.6|
6. Utah Jazz : Cody Williams | Colorado | SF | Age: 18.5
While 2024 is supposedly a weak class, there’s already one potential sleeper that could rise up draft boards by the end of the season. Coming out of high school, D.J. Wagner earned ESPN’s nod as the number one recruit out of New Jersey and the fourth-best prospect overall.
He’d go on to win co-MVP at the highly acclaimed McDonald’s All-American Game and commit to a titan of college basketball in the University of Kentucky’s program.
Yet, despite the accolades that Wagner has secured already, many are doubting his NBA potential. Sports Illustrated recently had him nearly falling out of the lottery in their 2024 NBA Mock Draft.
Either Wagner will prove his critics wrong and fly up draft boards by year’s end, or he could become a potential steal a la Tyrese Maxey and Jaden Hardy after quiet seasons before joining the NBA.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) July 12, 2023
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| Title: D.J. Wagner is the 2024 NBA Draft class’s sleeping giant
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: July 12, 2023