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The Next Generation of the NBA is Here!

Bronny James was recently chosen as the 55th pick in the NBA Draft. He will be a Los Angles Laker just like his dad LeBron.

Just days after the Boston Celtics won their league-record 18th title, the next generation of potential champions were chosen by NBA teams, as the league held Round One of the 2024 Draft in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday night. While draft analysts say this year’s draft class isn’t as proven as others in years past, there is one consensus: there is plenty of upside with these players. Let’s dive into some of the more notable selections from Wednesday.

#1 Overall Pick – Zaccharie Risacher – Atlanta Hawks

Many analysts, even up until draft time, had no idea what the Hawks would do with the #1 overall pick in the draft. Coming off of a disappointing season in which they went 36-46 and lost in the Play-In Tournament to the Bulls, many around the league saw Atlanta as a potential rebuilding team. However, Zaccharie Risacher will be expected to contribute immediately on a team that is trying to go further than the Play-In game.

Risacher, a 6’8 forward, is known as a high-end athlete with height and length advantages to his game. He uses his length to his advantage, providing the Hawks with much-needed defense. However, his offensive profile will need to be developed at the next level, and he’ll need to improve at the free throw line as well.

Most Surprising Pick – Zach Edey – Memphis Grizzlies

In my opinion, the most surprising pick of the night was the Memphis Grizzlies taking Purdue center Zach Edey with the 9th overall pick. Before the draft, analysts saw Edey potentially landing outside of the top 15 picks in the draft. The Grizzlies had other plans. They took the 7’4, 300-pound center at #9. Edey slots in immediately as one of the tallest players in the NBA, joining last year’s #1 pick Victor Wembanyama, and veteran bench players Boban Marjanovic and Bol Bol.

At Purdue, Edey succeeded at scoring and rebounding, as he averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds per game in his final season. However, the main knock on Edey is that he doesn’t move particularly well, and in a league that is all in on speed and athleticism, it will be interesting to see how much his game translates at the next level, especially with a team like Memphis, who still believe they’re in their competitive window.

Matas Buzelis is the newest member of the Chicago Bulls.

The Hometown Kid – Matas Buzelis – Chicago Bulls

The Bulls seem to be moving away from the core group of players assembled back in 2021 (LaVine, DeRozan, Vucevic, Caruso, Ball) and that was evident by the trading of Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for young guard Josh Giddey. The selection of Matas Buzelis, a native of Hinsdale, IL (about 30 minutes from the United Center) with the 11th overall pick, shows that the Bulls seem to be ready to embrace a youth movement and a potential rebuild.

Buzelis isn’t a bad place to start, either. Listed at 6’10, 209 pounds, Buzelis provides length at the forward position to a team that has desperately needed it for several seasons. He was also projected to be a top 10 selection, but he just fell out of that tier. He’s a very good athlete who has very good downcourt speed, solid defense, and finishes at the rim consistently. His main concerns lie in his slim frame and his shooting from the three-point line. However, the Bulls, if they do decide to follow through with the youth movement, are getting a player with very high upside in Matas Buzelis.

Like Father, Like Son — Bronny James — Los Angeles Lakers

The excitement didn’t stop on Day One of the draft. Day Two saw the Lakers snag LeBron James’ son, Bronny James, with the 55th pick in the draft, to much fanfare.

James, who played college basketball with the University of Southern California last season, has been linked to the Lakers ever since he declared for the draft a few months ago. With his father getting ready to enter his 22nd season in the league, Bronny and LeBron will be the first father-son duo to play on the same team in NBA history.

James, a 6’2 guard, averaged 4.8 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, and 2.1 assists per game for the Trojans last season. Bronny will need to develop, and he isn’t expected to have a major role with LA this season. Nevertheless, this is still a historic moment and something to keep an eye on this season.

By Jermale Dabney, Junior, Lindblom Math and Science Academy

Instagram: @jermale_d

 

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Written by Jermale Dabney

Hi, I’m Jermale! I love roller coasters, theater, and Chicago sports.

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