Sun. Jul 21st, 2024


The NBA draft’s new two-day format debuts Thursday, with the second round getting a standalone slot after Wednesday’s Round 1. The biggest story line of the second day is where Bronny James will end up, with the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 55 circled by many as James’s likely destination. Outside of the James conversation, there are still several high-level players on the board entering the draft’s second day, many of whom could make an impact as soon as next season in their new homes. 

Here’s a look at the 10 best players still available. 

Bigs with Filipowski’s diverse offensive skill set are hard to find, with the 6’11” big man capable of handling the ball, shooting the three and distributing. He’s also not as stiff of a defender as he’s perceived, actually holding his own well against switches while at Duke. There could be some lingering concern about the double hip surgery he underwent last April, but assuming medicals are clear, he’s well worth a pick early in the second. 

Furphy slipping out of the first round was a surprise, as the Kansas product was seen as an option as high as the late teens. He’s an athletic slasher who settled into a valuable role for the Jayhawks this season after reclassifying from the 2024 high school class into ’23. Furphy’s far from a finished product, but should come off the board quickly Thursday. 

Teams hunting a second unit point guard would be smart to target Kolek, one of the best passers in the draft. As a four-year college player with athletic limitations, Kolek’s ceiling is fairly low. That may have kept him out of the first round, but Kolek shouldn’t fall long given his IQ, competitiveness and ability to get teammates involved. 

Kolek is one of the best passers in this 2024 draft class.

Kolek is one of the best passers in this 2024 draft class. / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Christie’s brother, Max, was a fringe first-rounder in 2022 who fell to No. 35 overall on draft night. Cam Christie faces a similar fate. His slender frame may make it hard for him to make a significant impact as a rookie, but Cam Christie was extremely impressive on film in his lone season at Minnesota and profiles as a big-time shooter long term. 

It would’ve been hard to imagine Edwards sliding to Day 2 of the draft when he enrolled at Kentucky last summer, but that’s the fate he faces after a disappointing year in Lexington. Edwards still possesses a good deal of upside given his size and slashing ability, but using his elite physical tools more consistently has been an issue since his time as a top high school recruit. Someone will roll the dice here. 

Centers have come off the board quickly in this draft, with Zach Edey, Kel’el Ware and DaRon Holmes II all drafted at the top of their projected ranges. That could spell good news for Bona, the freakishly athletic Turkish big man whose speed and explosiveness off the floor makes him an intriguing defensive prospect. If he falls to No. 38, the New York Knicks are an obvious fit given their need for a big and Tom Thibodeau’s emphasis on the defensive end. 

Smith played third fiddle behind Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis on the G League Ignite and was thought to be a strong candidate to land in the late first round. Instead, he’s available on Day 2. Smith is an interesting dice roll given his shooting ability, but it feels like he’s a long ways away from making a consistent two-way impact. 

Johnson is a highly accomplished college player, with a trip to the national title game at San Diego State before wrapping his career up with a huge season at Arizona. He’s an explosive athlete who defends multiple positions thanks to his plus length and mobility, and his three-point shot improved by leaps and bounds last season. Expect him to find a way as a role player at the next level. 

Johnson has the length to defend multiple positions and great mobility.

Johnson has the length to defend multiple positions and great mobility. / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Spencer struggled in the NBA draft combine scrimmages, but was such a fantastic player for UConn in the Huskies’ run to the national title this spring. He’s one of the most spirited competitors this college basketball writer can remember, and he adds value on the floor as a high-feel guy who shoots the lights out from three. He’s worth a guaranteed contract. 

Mogbo is a unique player, an undersized forward who can handle the ball and pass but lacks an outside shot. It’s going to take the right team context to find the best way of maximizing his funky game, but if things break right, Mogbo could go down as a Day 2 steal. 




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