2024 NBA Draft: 5 High Upside Players Your Team Should Draft

There are a handful of high-risk, high-reward players from every draft class who are worth gambling on. Here are our 5 favorites from the class of 2024.
Carlton Carrington high-upside draft prospect
Carlton Carrington is a high-upside PG who we think could go earlier than experts think.

Matas Buzelis and Stephon Castle are a few lottery players who have the highest upside in this draft class, but who are some sleepers who can end up as top-tier players in their class?

In this article, we will break down the games for each of the high-upside lottery players in this year's draft, as well as some of the late-first-round players whose careers could surprise to the upside.

F Matas Buzelis (GLI)

6’9 Two-Way Wing

After watching this year's NBA Finals, teams are likely to start searching for their own version of Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum through the draft.

Matas Buzelis from the G-League Ignite program stands out as the closest fit to that "do-it-all" wing in this draft class. The Ignite program has already produced top 10 selections like Scoot Henderson, Dyson Daniels, and Jalen Green, albeit with mixed results. While Buzelis has room to grow, particularly with his slight frame, his shot creation, length, and potential as a top-tier offensive connector should secure him a spot within the top five picks of this draft.

Looking at San Antonio who own picks 4 and 8, Buzelis’s efficiency in transition and ability to guard 1-4 would make for an ideal fit next to Wembanyama. Add in his extremely high motor and what seems to be a low-maintenance personality and you have two stars who could truly compliment each other for a long time. Buzelis will have to work on his streaky shooting and 3-point ball (just 27% on over three 3PA for the Ignite).

The upside for Matas is the best player in this draft class - a prototypical playmaking wing who can develop into a plus defender similar to Banchero, Barnes, and Jalen Williams of recent years.

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G Stephon Castle (UCONN)

6’5 Shot Creating Athlete

Searching for a human highlight reel on both ends of the floor in this draft class? Look no further than NCAA Champion Stephon Castle out of UConn. Castle bought into Dan Hurley’s system which took a hit on his collegiate stats but ultimately helped his draft stock. Stephon reportedly sees himself playing point guard in the NBA but would be a more natural fit as a 2 guard that handles secondary playmaking duties.

Castle is a jumbo guard who plays well on or off the ball and seems to always be in the right spots on both ends of the floor. His potential as a shooter is the only thing holding him back from a consensus top 3 tag this draft cycle. Castle shot sub-30% from beyond the arc as a Freshman and was a poor free-throw shooter for his position.

Washington at 2 and San Antonio at 4 are my favorite landing spots for Castle, who has that energy and willingness to make an impact on the defensive end that you need down the stretch of games and in playoff scenarios. Castle has a bit of Anthony Edwards to him coming out of UConn.

G Jared McCain (DUKE)

6’3 Sharpshooter

I’d be surprised that in a weaker class, a playoff team that is in need of 3-point shooting (cough, cough, Dallas) doesn’t trade up for the Blue Devil. In a league where defense and 3-point shooting rule off the bench, Jared’s 41% deep shooting on 5.8 3PA per game at Duke stands out from the rest of his class.

Even with a smaller frame, his decision-making and defense are added factors that in my opinion, will make McCain a top 10 player in his class when it is all set and done.

Miami at 15, the Lakers at 17, and Bucks at 23 are ideal landing spots for the best three-point shooter in this class.

G Carlton Carrington (PITT)

6’4 Modern Point Guard

Bub Carrington is the type of player to go in the 20-30 range of the 1st round but ends up as a top 10 player in his class. The Pittsburgh product is one of the youngest players in this draft cycle but might be the most electric point guard coming out of the college ranks.

While his efficient mid-range, playmaking skills, and length on defense are all points of emphasis that make Carrington a high-upside player, the first game of his college career tells us all we need to know. An efficient triple-double is Bub’s ceiling, which you can’t get in the later stage of the 1st round nowadays anymore.

A minus for Bub is his unwillingness to attack the rim, which results in settling for jumpers and poor decisions with the ball at times. Only shooting 32% from 3, playing a year in the G-league or coming off the bench will be huge for the guard as he gets his footing in the league.

The Cavs at 20 and Suns at 22 are great fits, but Chicago at 11 and Miami at 15 are sleepers as there is a need for offensive production from the PG spot.

F Pelle Larsson (ARI)

6’5 Connector

Connectors, or Swiss Army Knives (SAKs) are so important to a team’s everyday success. These players don’t show up all the time on the stat sheet but have a low-maintenance personality that puts the team before themselves.

“Veteran” wing Pelle Larsson is a 2nd round steal who plays a similar game to Christian Braun of the Nuggets and Nickeil Alexander-Walker of the Wolves. While these aren’t superstar names, these are players who made an impact this postseason and will easily get 2nd and 3rd contracts in the league due to their play style. Larsson is a dream role player for a contender or rebuilder due to his catch-and-shoot threat, playmaking skills from the wing, and hustle on both ends.

43% from beyond the arc and 3.7 APG on just 1.9 TOV per game as a Senior at U of A are Pelle’s calling cards. Milwaukee, San Antonio, New York, and Philly are four teams that should spend their 2nd rounder on Pelle, who can instantly make a positive impact on both ends of the floor.

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