Jay Bilas: 10 players who might change your mind about this NBA draft

The 2024 NBA draft will feature players such as: Zaccharie Risacher, Reed Sheppard, Matas Buzelis, Stephon Castle and Ron Holland. Illustration by ESPN

If you listen to analysts, pundits, observers and NBA personnel talking about the 2024 draft, you will get the distinct impression that this is a "weak draft" or a "bad draft."

Granted, there isn't a "no-brainer" selection at the very top and there aren't any surefire All-Stars in the lottery, as we have seen in past drafts, but there is still talent and value. Look at it this way: If Jalen Brunson (Villanova) and Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State) were coming out of college this year instead of a few years ago, people would still call this a weak draft.

The draft, which will take place Wednesday and Thursday (ABC, ESPN, ESPN+), is not as sexy or powerful at the top as last year's Victor Wembanyama draft or next year's Cooper Flagg draft. But there is a lot to like about the prospects who will be in the green room and beyond this year. Remember, the draft is a two-day event for the first time this year, with the first round on Wednesday and the second round on Thursday, giving teams more time to select and to make trades.

This year marks my 22nd straight NBA draft sitting at the main desk.

My first NBA draft for ESPN was in 2003, when LeBron James was the No. 1 selection -- and I had hair to comb before we went on the air. Over that time period, there have been great drafts and less-than-great drafts, but quality talent has always been found every year.

While I cannot argue persuasively with those who say this is not a red-carpet, marquee-name draft, here are 10 prospects I really like, and why: