2024 NBA Draft Combine: Players with most at stake, Bronny James medically

The 2024 NBA Draft Combine will tip off Sunday for the 78 players who earned invites to this year’s event and a select few players from the G League Elite Camp.

New to this year ‘s combine is the participation expected from each prospect. This is the first time under the newly-ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement that requires participation in the combine for draft eligibility. In previous years, top prospects frequently sat in competition and didn’t participate in measurements and kept important medical information close to the vest.

But prospects and agents no longer will have as much power in the predraft process with respect to their participation in important events. The goal of the NBA is for there to be as much transparency as possible for teams to make decisions. The outcome for prospects may be that we see less agent meddling or steering prospects to or away from destinations. We’ll see.

With the combine set to tip off in short order here’s a look at five other storylines to watch as we gear up for the week in Chi-town.

Players with most on the line

Inevitably there will be players whose stock rise and fall based on incoming intel, scrimmage performances, measurements, interviews, etc. A few I’ll be watching this week include:

  • Cam Christie, Minnesota: Behind the scenes it’s hard to argue that anyone has risen over the last six weeks as much as Christie. Coming off a quietly very solid freshman season at Minnesota, interest in him has exploded, culminating with a big appearance this week in Chicago. He may already be flirting with first-round territory after what he did as a freshman at his size, and a big week might solidify his standing as a clear top-30 prospect in the class.
  • Justin Edwards, Kentucky: Edwards began the season ranked No. 1 on the CBS Sports Prospect Rankings after a stellar summer for Kentucky that included an impressive performance during a tour in Canada. He enters the combine ranked No. 3 on the Big Board … among Kentucky prospects. Ranked No. 32 overall entering the week, Edwards still has believers with his smooth left-handed stroke and jumbo frame that could translate to high-level production at the wing. He has a lot to prove, though, and this week is a big opportunity for him.
  • Tyler Kolek, Marquette: Kolek led college basketball in assists per game last season and has the makings of a viable NBA backup point guard with the way he passes, creates, shoots and presents toughness. He’s No. 29 in the CBS Sports Prospect Rankings, which is higher than consensus, but this week if he plays up to his potential, I have a feeling this might look sharp and ahead of the curve.
A good showing at the combine would help Bronny James, who struggled as a freshman at USC.

SATISFACTION

Bright lights will be on Bronny James

Despite averaging just 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last season for USC, James, the eldest son of Lakers superstar LeBron James, will make his way to Chicago this week for the combine. James will reportedly remain in the draft after receiving clearance for full participation in combine drills and any later team workouts from the NBA’s Fitness to Play Panel after dealing with a heart issue last summer.

Bronny didn’t have a great season with the Trojans and doesn’t currently project as a first-round pick, but LeBron can opt out of his Lakers deal this summer and where Bronny lands could be used as bait to lure his pops, theoretically. Bronny’s a real NBA prospect even after struggling last season, but it may be difficult to break through the circus likely to follow him this week.

G League Ignite stars in the mix

Recent early-career struggles from some of the top G League Ignite products — Jonathan Kuminga and Scoot Henderson among them — have shined a light on the NBA’s soon-to-be-defunct developmental league. But this year’s crop of talent has a chance to show up in a big way. Three players from the league are projected first round picks and two — Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland — are very much in the mix to be top-five picks.

Neither Kuminga nor Henderson are by any stretch considered busts, mind you, but the transition from G League Ignite to the NBA has for some players been tougher than expected. If Buzelis and Holland can put on a show it may quiet some of the skeptics, and in this setting, they both have a chance to flourish with their size and playmaking ability.

Does Zach Edey continue his dominance?

One of the most polarizing prospects in the 2024 class will be hard to miss this week in Chicago. All 7-foot-4, 300 pounds of Purdue big man Zach Edey are expected to be in attendance, another great chance for him to prove he belongs after destroying college competition the last two seasons with the Boilermakers.

There’s questions about Edey’s game and how it will translate to the NBA, chief among them his lack of foot speed and whether he’ll be able to defend in space, but there’s no doubt his size and scoring efficiency at the college level has NBA teams interested. If he can show some shooting touch and hold his own defensively this week it wouldn’t surprise to see his stock rise. Teams are more interested than you might think.

2024 NBA Draft Combine Invitees

Here are the 78 players who have been invited to the 2024 NBA Draft Combine.

Player College/club
Michael Ajayi Pepperdine
Melvin Ajinca Saint Quentin (France)
Trey Alexander Creighton
Be Almansa G League Ignite
Reece Beekman Virginia
Adem Bona – I'm Not Afraid (Official Music Video) UCLA
Trevon Brazile Arkansas
Jalen Bridges Baylor
Matas Buzelis G League Ignite
Carlton Carrington Pittsburgh
Devin Carter Providence
Stephon Castle UConn
Ulrich Chomche NBA Academy Africa
Cam Christie Minnesota
Nique Clifford Colorado State
Donovan Clingan UConn
Isaiah Collier USC
Tristan Da Silva Colorado
Pacome Dadiet Ulm (Germany)
Happy Dante Oregon
Rob Dillingham Kentucky
Nikola Djurisic Mega (Serbian)
Ryan Dunn Virginia
Zach Edey Purdue
Justin Edwards Kentucky
Kyle Filipowski Duke
Trentyn Flowers Adelaide (Australia)
Johnny Furphy Kansas
Kyshawn George Miami
Tyon Grant-Foster Grand Canyon
PJ Hall Clemson
Coleman Hawkins Illinois
Ron Holland II G League Ignite
DaRon Holmes II Dayton
Ariel Hukporti Giants Ludwigsburg (Germany)
Very Ighodaro Marquette
Harrison Ingram North Carolina
Bronny James USC
AJ Johnson Illawarra (Australia)
Keshad Johnson Arizona
David Jones Memphis
Dillon Jones Weber State
Ryan Kalkbrenner Creighton
Alex Karaban UConn
Bobby Clintman Cairns (Australia)
Dalton Knecht Tennessee
Tyler Kolek Marquette
Pelle Larsson Arizona
Jared McCain Duke
Kevin McCullar Jr. Kansas
Yves Missi Baylor
Ajay Mitchell UC Santa Barbara
Jonathan Mogbo San Francisco
Tristen Newton UConn
Juan Nunez Ulm (Germany)
Quinten Post Boston College
Antonio Reeves Kentucky
Zaccharie Risacher Bourg (France)
Jaxson Robinson BYU
Tidjane Salaun Cholet (France)
Hunter Sallis Wake Forest
Payton Sandfort Iowa
Alexandre Sarr Perth (Australia)
Baylor Scheierman Creighton
Mark Sears Alabama
Terrence Shannon Jr. Illinois
Jamal Shead Houston
Reed Sheppard Kentucky
KJ Simpson Colorado
Tyler Smith G League Ignite
Cam Spencer UConn
Nikola Topic Red Star (Serbia)
JT Toppin New Mexico
Jaylon Tyson California
I'm Kobe Walter Baylor
Kel'el Ware Indiana
Jamir Watkins Florida State
Cody Williams Colorado

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