2024 NBA draft: Biggest post-lottery questions for the 12 teams

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CHICAGO — In a surprise twist, the Atlanta Hawks — with just a 3% chance to win — walked away atop Sunday’s NBA draft lottery.

The Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs will pick second, third and fourth, an unexpected scenario after chaos unfolded in the drawing room. Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio’s picks all jumped into the top four, which also bumped the Toronto Raptors out of the No. 6 spot, causing their pick to convey the Spurs a second lottery selection.

With the complete draft order now known, including ESPN’s mock draft projections, the 22 teams that have concluded their seasons are shifting gears toward the 2024 NBA draft, to be held June 26 and 27 (8 p.m. ET, on ABC, ESPN and ESPN+) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

NBA fans want to know what the state of these 12 teams entering the draft is now. Will landing the No. 1 pick push Atlanta to consider roster moves with its current stars, what type of player will San Antonio surround Victor Wembanyama with and how will the Wizards approach drafting No. 2 overall? Our ESPN NBA experts take a comprehensive look at these questions and more for each of the lottery teams as we patiently await the draft, which is less than two months away.

Jump to a team:
ATL | WAS | HOU | SAS | DET | CHA
POR | MEM | UTAH | CHI | OKC | SAC


Is it truly smart to break up the Dejounte Murray and Trae Young backcourt?

Getting the No. 1 pick does not dismiss how Atlanta should evaluate the Murray and Young backcourt. Per Cleaning the Glass, Atlanta was outscored by 6.0 per 100 possessions this season when both players were on the court together. The Hawks had a 120.7 defensive efficiency rating in their shared minutes, fifth worst among more than 225 duos to play 1,000 minutes together. Murray is entering Year 1 of a four-year, $120 million extension. His $24.8 million cap hit is $20 million less than a max player. Young has two years left on his contract ($43 million and $46 million) and can become a free agent in 2026. — Bobby Marks


How should the Wizards approach their highest draft pick in over a decade?

The Wizards’ regime of team president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins continue their overhaul of the franchise with their next biggest step — the draft. Winger loves building and doing so by piecing everything together patiently. For a franchise and fanbase that has often felt cursed, the Wizards got a win in the lottery by not falling lower than the top two after having the second worst record (15-67) last season. With the No. 2 overall pick in a draft with no consensus generational talent, the Wizards can afford to take a project who has potential, develop him and then wait. This regime’s first draft produced a find in French shooting guard Bilal Coulibaly, who was considered to be a project but flashed quicker than expected last season. Washington can use size inside but Winger and Dawkins will continue to slowly build the roster with players they want. At No. 1 overall, Washington has a history of draft hits such as John Wall and misses such as Kwame Brown. But the last time the franchise picked second overall in 1968, it landed Wes Unseld — arguably the greatest player in franchise history. — Ohm Youngmisuk


After a surprise jump to No. 3, how could Houston use this draft to continue its positive momentum from the end of the season?

The Rockets found some cohesion last season after the All-Star break and finished as a top-10 defense under coach Ime Udoka, a major turnaround from seasons past. Houston has an attractive collection of recent lottery picks on the roster, but the team is about to get much more expensive, with Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun up for extensions. The imminent offseason need is adding more shooting, and figuring out how to better balance some of the awkward personnel fits on the roster. Houston has traditionally swung big on talent and allowed the parts to fall into place, but they may be far enough along in their rebuilding process to tackle this draft with optimal roster fits in mind. There might not be a clear best answer at No. 3, but players such as Reed Sheppard, Donovan Clingan and Zaccharie Risacher all present intriguing options. — Jeremy Woo

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Woj: Donovan Clingan absolutely in conversation for No. 1 pick

Adrian Wojnarowski breaks the news that UConn center Donovan Clingan will enter the 2024 NBA draft.


What type of player would fit best next to Victor Wembanyama to help propel the Spurs in 2024-25?

Let’s take a look at the numbers to help us answer this question. The only two-man lineups that played more than 250 minutes with Wembanyama this season and finished with a positive net rating included point guard Tre Jones (+4.3 in 1,288 minutes) and shooting guard Devin Vassell (+1.3 in 1,222 minutes). There were quite a few more lineups that worked with Wembanyama after the All-Star break that showed he was getting used to his teammates. But the two players who worked best with him throughout the season were Jones, a true point guard to help set him up, and Vassell, who led the team with 166 3-pointers. Putting more shooting around Wembanyama will never be a bad idea. — Andrew Lopez


How will the Pistons handle adding a rookie to an already-young roster core?

For the fourth consecutive year, the Pistons entered the lottery with the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick. And for the second year in a row, they slid in the lottery to No. 5, although last year that slide resulted in them missing out on a generational talent. This year the top talent leans more toward rotational players than star power, which leaves Detroit with a dilemma on how to shake up their roster no matter where it lands in the lottery. The Pistons’ top seven players by games played were all 23 years old or younger this season. What would the addition of a front-court player mean for Jalen Duren? Would they draft a guard two years after using a top-5 pick on Jaden Ivey? Do they still believe enough in their young core to take a step forward that they would try to trade the pick instead? And the biggest unknown for the Pistons: Who will be making those roster decisions with the team set to hire a new president of basketball operations this summer. — Jamal Collier


How is the future of Miles Bridges impacted by a new front office and coaching staff?

At his introductory news conference, new executive vice president of basketball Jeff Peterson laid out the vision for the roster. “Our main goal is to have sustained success,” Peterson said. “We don’t want to make the playoffs one year and then we’re out for another three or four years. We want this to be sustainable and turn this team into a consistent winner.” That leads into the question of how Bridges fits into the future that already includes LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller and now the No. 6 pick. Bridges was arrested for felony domestic violence in June 2022, missed the 2022-23 season and pleaded no contest to the charge. He averaged a career high 21.0 points this season but ranked in the 46th percentile at his position in effective field goal percentage and 40th percentile in 2-point percentage, per Cleaning the Glass. He also had career-highs in usage rate, rebounds and steals. There are seven teams with projected cap space to sign Bridges, including Detroit and Utah. If there is no interest from those teams and the Hornets’ intention is not to sign Bridges, both sides could explore sign-and-trade options. — Bobby Marks


Scoot Henderson struggled as a rookie and Shaedon Sharpe missed time with an injury. Have the Blazers found the centerpiece for their rebuild?

This is Portland’s third consecutive year drafting in the top seven, and the Blazers have yet to find the superstar who can succeed Damian Lillard as the face of the franchise. The hope is still that 2023 No. 3 pick Henderson will be that player after a strong finish to his rookie campaign. (He averaged 19.4 points per game and 9.7 assists per game in April, shooting 42% from 3.) Sharpe, the 2022 No. 7 pick, flashed late in his rookie season before missing 50 games in 2023-24. Given the complementary talent on hand, Portland will draft for upside, perhaps one of the G League Ignite duo of Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland II. — Kevin Pelton


Can the Spurs attract a veteran star to get on the Wemby train? Do they need one?

The time will come when the Spurs get a star to play alongside Wembanyama because he’s poised to be a very good player for a very long time. They should also be able to attract veterans who will take lesser deals to play next to him. But next season might not be the time to make the all-in push. The Western Conference will once again be stacked. The Houston Rockets went 41-41 and didn’t even make the play-in. The Memphis Grizzlies should be better when healthy. Competition will be fierce. The Spurs’ starting lineup — and the lineup inserting Keldon Johnson for Julian Champagnie — were net positives after the All-Star break. San Antonio could opt to grow for another year before going star-hunting. –Andrew Lopez


Can the Grizzlies find a big to complement Jaren Jackson Jr.?

Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman was not shy in his postseason media availability when addressing their roster needs this offseason. “I envision we’ll add at least one big,” Kleiman said. “Whether that’s a starting big or a rotation big, I think we have some work to do on the roster there.” How the Grizzlies do that will not come via free agency but in a trade or the June draft. However, because Memphis moved back in the lottery, centers Alex Sarr and Donovan Clingan will likely not be available at No. 9. Memphis would be left with a decision on whether to pick the best available player – perhaps guards Stephon Castle or Nikola Topic – drafting a player such as Purdue center Zach Edey, or moving the pick for an established player. One thing to keep an eye on is the Grizzlies’ finances for next year. Including the No. 9 pick and guard Luke Kennard, Memphis is over the luxury tax threshold for next season. The Grizzlies have until June 28 to exercise Kennard’s $14.7 million team option. — Bobby Marks


With cap space and money, Utah has a bevy of offseason options. What ranks as their top priority?

The Jazz rightfully aren’t in much of a hurry to accelerate their rebuild, with plenty of future draft capital on the way and a team that’s likely multiple seasons away from a firm playoff return. The roster is approaching a crossroads, with a mix of young players in need of minutes and established veterans who aren’t likely long-term fits. If the Jazz can stay patient with their roster, it might behoove them to become sellers, and wait at least another season before pushing in their chips. With future flexibility in mind, the most important thing should be re-signing top scorer Lauri Markkanen to an appropriate long-term contract, whether to keep him as part of their core, or to eventually move him for value if Utah decides to go even younger. And frankly, this isn’t the draft to bank on landing a franchise-transforming player anyway. — Jeremy Woo


What does Coby White‘s breakout season mean for the Bulls’ future?

Despite missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, White’s breakout was the biggest bright spot for Chicago. Couple White’s ascension with Ayo Dosunmu sliding back and excelling in a role more suited for him and Patrick Williams’ improvement before an injury and the Bulls have a few interesting young players. However, team vice president Arturas Karnisovas took responsibility after the season, saying that missing the playoffs wasn’t good enough and they would look to improve. He has been aggressive in trading away picks in the past — dealing a first-rounder in 2021 and ’23 to Orlando with a ’25 first-rounder still owed to San Antonio — but what will the Bulls do with a low lottery pick as they try to find ways to improve the roster? — Jamal Collier


What does the Thunder’s recent draft history tell us about what they could do with this pick?

Sam Presti, the Thunder’s executive vice president and general manager, is going to try and maximize the value of this pick as best he can. Last year, he slid back two picks and still wound up with Cason Wallace, who has played a big role in the Thunder’s playoff run. The incredible stash of picks at Presti’s disposal will allow him to go after who he wants if the Thunder want to move up or slide back and acquire extra assets for the inevitable cash-in of that hoard. — Andrew Lopez


If Malik Monk leaves in free agency, how can the team fill the gap and remain competitive?

One positive thing about missing the playoffs is the Kings have a late lottery pick, something they might need to not only improve the roster in a cost-effective way but potentially to fill a big hole if Monk departs. Monk is a free agent and was a leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate before he missed the final nine games of the season and the play-in games because of injury. Monk had a career season. He was third on the team in scoring with a career-high 15.4 points per game. But he was a playmaker off the bench, averaging a career-best 5.1 assists. Perhaps the Kings can find some insurance for Monk with the No. 13 overall pick. Sacramento has shown the ability to find gems in the draft, taking Keegan Murray fourth overall in 2022 and Tyrese Haliburton at 12th overall in 2020. — Ohm Youngmisuk


What’s the best-case scenario for Portland drafting at No. 14? The answer might be trading it. The Blazers’ roster is overflowing with young prospects and they hold four of the top 40 picks. With 11 players under guaranteed contract for 2024-25 and three more they’re likely to guarantee (Dalano Banton, Toumani Camara and Jabari Walker), there’s not room to keep everyone. The Blazers surely weren’t counting on getting a second lottery pick when they acquired this one from the Boston Celtics as part of the Jrue Holiday trade last fall, making this a bonus they could choose to spin forward via another deal. — Kevin Pelton

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