Each year there are NBA prospects who experience disappointing seasons in comparison to expectations. While you never want to see a prospect struggle, it’s simply the nature of the NBA draft process. This causes some prospects to take dramatic slides down draft boards while others rise.
As scouts have gotten a better feel for prospects, let’s look at some 2024 NBA draft fallers who’ve had disappointing seasons.
2024 NBA Draft Biggest Fallers: Disappointing Seasons
1) Justin Edwards: Kentucky
It’s been somewhat of a nightmare season for Justin Edwards in his freshman year at Kentucky. Edwards came into the year as a possible, although not probable candidate for the number one overall selection. Most firmly had his draft stock inside the top 10 however. After what’s been a classic disappointing season for a blue-chip NBA prospect, Edwards has almost fallen out of first round conversations completely. This is mostly due to Edwards not having shown any one trait that an NBA team could bank on.
Edwards is averaging 8.1 points and 0.9 assists causing major concerns for a wing who’s supposed to be a plus offensive piece. Even with the projections in scoring and playmaking having not worked out, the ‘3-and-D’ archetype isn’t fitting either. He’s shooting 28.8 percent from three and isn’t averaging a full steal or block per game. Edwards has the physical tools that are appealing to scouts on the wing, but he’s almost purely an ‘upside’ selection at this point.
2) Tyrese Proctor: Duke
Differing from others on this list, Tyrese Proctor isn’t a freshman and was picked to have a breakout sophomore campaign. Sophomore NBA prospects are common, and after consistent top-five projections, it’s fair to say Proctor’s having a disappointing season. The injury bug hasn’t helped his draft stock, but Proctor just hasn’t shown he’s really a different player from his freshman season.
Scouts were looking for more aggression from Proctor on both ends as well as carving out a defined role at either guard spot. So far, he’s shown that he can be a good player but hasn’t proved that he can become anything more than average. His numbers are nearly identical to last year, averaging one more point and half an assist extra per game. That’s not what scouts wanted to see from the lead guard who was supposed to possibly be able to lead an offense. However, he may sustain a role-player-based stock due to an increased three-point percentage at 38.5 on 4.3 attempts.
3) DJ Wagner: Kentucky
Another Kentucky freshman, DJ Wagner entered the season as the number four ranked player in class. Wagner’s competed hard and isn’t necessarily playing bad basketball, but he hasn’t answered questions scouts had coming into the season. These questions mostly surround his perimeter shooting ability and his ability to play the true point guard role at the next level. He certainly has the physical tools to be a true point guard, but his live dribble playmaking hasn’t exactly popped. He’s averaging 3.7 assists and 1.6 turnovers per game with a fairly high usage rate.
Next, Wagner has NBA-level quickness but is just a solid vertical athlete. His downhill, rim-pressure-focused playstyle will most likely not be as effective in the NBA. If his perimeter shooting or mid-range game were promising, however, this wouldn’t be a major concern given his physical tools. Wagner’s shooting an uninspiring 31 percent from three this season on three attempts per game though. What’s even more concerning is his 69.8 free throw percentage. Wagner’s NBA prospect profile is still in tack, but he’s had a disappointing season in comparison to the top 10 projections he garnered coming into Kentucky.
4) Isaiah Collier: USC
Isaiah Collier’s slide down draft boards won’t be near as dramatic as others’ on this list. To begin the season, Collier was projected into the number-one overall pick conversation and a top-three prospect. While he’s still projected as a lottery pick, it seems it will be closer to pick 15 than pick five. Similar to Wagner, Collier has shown grit and competitiveness, but high turnover numbers and questionable shooting have caused concerns.
While he’s averaging 4.1 assists per game, he’s combined that average with 3.6 turnovers. This issue may be overlooked however as an NBA system and coaching with less usage should alleviate some issues. He’s also shown flashes of really high-level passes to teammates in a variety of situations. Even still, to really capitalize on his NBA potential he will need to become a more consistent perimeter threat. He’s only averaging three attempts per game from beyond the arc and shooting 31 percent (eerily similar to Wagner). Without a consistent perimeter or mid-range jumper, he will be limited in his role and ceiling as a player. It will be interesting to follow what Collier’s draft stock does from this point to the draft. He’s currently sidelined for at least a month with a hand injury and could possibly be done for the season.
5) Bronny James: USC
Bronny James’ position on this list mostly stems from an unfair amount of hype rather than draft positioning. Many wanted Lebron James’s son to go in the late lottery or first round, but there were always question marks. James play has definitely been underwhelming compared to the hype entering the season, but there’s also some reason for that. It’s easy to forget that James suffered from cardiac arrest before the season which caused him to miss eight games. This isn’t how anyone would want to begin their collegiate career and he was placed on a minutes restriction upon returning. It’s very hard to miss preseason conditioning and daily practices for months and then be thrust into action.
Granted, he’s been healthy by most accounts for nearly all of conference play and the numbers haven’t been there. James is averaging a meager 5.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Returning to school for another year could prove fruitful for James after a disappointing season as an NBA prospect.