2024 NBA Draft: G League Elite Camp preview

The G League Elite Camp on May 11 and May 12 will give NBA front offices a look at 45 prospects.

With the 2024 NBA Draft less than two months away, organizations across the league are fully diving into prospects, awaiting the results of the draft lottery this Sunday, and sending team representatives to Chicago for the upcoming week of combines and private workouts.

The NBA Draft Combine — which for the first time ever is mandatory for invited players — should be the headlining act in the Windy City. Before that, though, the G League Elite Camp on May 11 and May 12 will give front offices a look at 45 other prospects.

Typically, those attendees are projected in the second round of the draft or lower by scouts and team executives. 

Previous G League Elite Camp attendees who have achieved considerable NBA success include Terance Mann (48th pick in 2019), Jose Alvarado (undrafted in 2021), Max Strus (undrafted in 2019), and Vince Williams (47th pick in 2022).

Following the two-day event, a group of players will then be invited to attend the NBA Draft Combine and possibly continue boosting their draft stocks. However, the camp can be valuable even for prospects who don’t get “promoted,” as it gives them a chance to be evaluated in-person and considered for future opportunities.

Here are some notes on this year’s G League Elite Camp field, with a focus on prospects based out of the west coast.

Boogie Ellis is likely the best-known name on this list after averaging 15.5 points per game in three seasons at USC. The Trojans guard should be one of the best shooters at the Elite Camp given his most recent volume and conversion from three, having made 41.8% of his threes this season while firing off 7.2 per game. 

However, Ellis has not proven that he will be a steady enough decision maker or contributor to accommodate the touches he needs on the ball. He’s also a limited athlete at the basket and as a defender. Proving that he play almost strictly off the ball while answering questions about fitting into a much less focal role would help Ellis’ NBA stock, which is currently in the G League for next season.

Caleb Love had a remarkable college career at North Carolina and then Arizona, but his NBA outlook is a lot less clear. Like Ellis, he is a high volume score-first guard with questionable efficiency, although Love scales off the ball more comfortably. To some extent, he can already spot up and attack defenses who are scrambling or getting back in transition. 

Love was better this season from three than in past seasons, but he’s historically been inconsistent both at the rim and as a jump shooter. League front offices have known about the Arizona guard — a five-star prospect in the high school class of 2020 alongside the likes of Cade Cunningham or Jalen Green — for a while already, and they do not appear overly impressed. A G League deal seems like the most likely result for Love.

Thierry Darlan and Babacar Sane from the G League Ignite have very solid chances of hearing their names called on draft night. Darlan and Sane have followed similar paths until now, signing with the Ignite from the African NBA Academy in 2022 and 2023 respectively. 

Darlan, in particular, is appealing after having flashed the skillset of a big guard with the athleticism and measurements NBA teams look for in wings. However, he remains incredibly raw. That is why he was largely kept off the ball with the Ignite and, most importantly, why his production underwhelmed.

In 45 games with the G League club, Darlan averaged 5.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in about 19 minutes, per RealGM. Interestingly, the Central African Republic native later joined his hometown club Bangui for the fourth season of the Basketball Africa League, posting 17.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in six contests.

The BAL is a really distant cry from the NBA, though, and Darlan was given a lot of liberty to experiment in an environment that doesn’t really carry over. Ultimately, he is extremely green and he will require a lot of developmental time invested in him. That’s why some NBA organizations will be hesitant to draft and improve Darlan only for another team to possibly reap those benefits, but he’s worth a gamble in the second round.

Sane, on the other hand, might see a team pick him up after the draft. However, that also seemed probable for fellow Ignite alum Mojave King in the 2023 draft before he went 47th. The biggest question surrounding Sane is that the Senegal native has still not found a consistent role even after two seasons as a pro.

Sane has probably been at his best as a small-ball 5 for the Ignite — his role is narrowed down to basically catching and finishing, and using his athleticism on both ends — but that’s because he has struggled everywhere else. The Ignite prospect is a very rash decision maker who has a tendency to play recklessly. At this stage, Sane cannot be relied on to finish at the basket or shoot from deep, so he will need a major leap to stick in the NBA.

Adama Bal had a breakout season at Santa Clara, having transferred in last summer from Arizona after two seasons of very little game time. Bal, who is one of the countless French prospects looking to get drafted, is a big guard/wing who could potentially play on and off the ball. This is really valuable in today’s NBA.

Bal showed some interesting flashes out of ball screens this season, using his passing creativity and size to create advantages. However, the Frenchman also found it tough to finish at the rim and create space against defenders with NBA size. Bal needs to reduce his dribbles and become a quicker decision maker. Most of all, he must get stronger. The Santa Clara guard plays off balance too often — even against the relatively low level of competition he faced — and his shot diet might not be feasible at the next level. Still, there should always be some interest across the league in a 6-foot-7ish ballhandler who can create for himself and others off the bounce.

Branden Carlson out of Utah will turn 25-years-old in June, but he should get real G League looks from NBA teams. The 7-footer served on a two-year LDS Church mission after graduating high school and then played five years of college basketball. Carlson is a high volume shooter who scored well from everywhere around the floor. His three-point shooting is especially worth monitoring, because he has a quick trigger with pure touch that cannot be bothered at his size.

Carlson was productive around the basket in college, but that translation will be different in the NBA. At Utah, Carlson played out of the left block a lot and punished smaller defenders with right-handed hook shots and turnaround jumpers. In the NBA though, he probably lacks the strength to consistently bang inside despite playing with a degree of toughness. Carlson barely rolled to the basket this season, but team should explore his athleticism to see if he can dive into the paint more.

Jaedon LeDee from San Diego State is a five-year college player who blew up this season. He started in all 36 games for his team after starting a total of four games combined in all of his previous seasons combined. LeDee averaged 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds on his way to winning the 2023-24 NCAA Karl Malone Award for best power forward in the nation.

The former Ohio State and TCU prospect has NBA-level physicality, which is how he parks himself in the middle of the paint and then gets to either his right hand or to a fallaway jumper. However, LeDee plays in the midrange too much, and he’s reliant on bully ball touches in the paint that will not exist for him at the next level. He’s also a tweener defensively who could get targeted. Going to the G League and continuing to work on his three-point shot to become more of a power wing, rather than an undersized big, is likely LeDee’s short-term NBA future.

Isaac Jones comes from an interesting path and has an interesting blend of two-way size, length, and mobility. He recently measured in at 6-foot-9 with a wingspan slightly over 7-foot-3, which would be ideal for a wing but is less typical for the big that Jones truly is. The Washington State forward played three seasons at Wenatchee Valley Community College before going Division-I at Idaho and then transferring to the Cougars. Jones turns 24 in July, but he is the definition of a late bloomer.

He projects very well on defense with his ground coverage and ability to smother shots. Washington State played a lot of zone, but Jones’ tape defending in man checks out. Opponents shot 38.4% from the field against him, per Synergy. As a scorer, Jones does not take jumpers at all, which makes him a tricky fit as a small-ball 5 type of forward in today’s NBA. He scores almost strictly at the rim but on high volume and good efficiency, converting on 67.3% of his shots there. Jones can put the ball on the floor out of face-ups, although he is more fluid with fakes and footworks than explosive going hard to the rim. Realistically, the Cougars forward faces an uphill climb when it comes to making an NBA roster, but there should be organizations interested in getting his skillset into their developmental system.

Keion Brooks Jr. is a pure bucket-getter who led the Pac-12 in points per game this season. Brooks spent the last two seasons at Washington, but he might still be better known for his first three years in college at Kentucky under John Calipari. The 6-foot-7 wing’s game has largely stayed the same throughout his college career, with a midrange-heavy shot profile. This past season, the difference was that Brooks took a big leap from three, averaging 38% from deep after having averaged 26.5% from three in his first four college seasons. Still, his method of scoring is not what NBA teams are looking for from older, complementary wings late in the draft and it’s unclear how Brooks adds value on defense.

Isaiah Stevens was a highly productive scorer at Colorado State, but it’s a tough ask for a fifth-year 6-foot guard to stick in today’s NBA. Stevens can playmake out of ballscreens without turning the ball over and he does well to get to his spots despite his size, but he’s also very reliant on midrange shots. With the Rams guard turning 24 before the end of the year, it’s Stevens will probably use the G League to some extent in order to secure future professional opportunities.

Outside of the west coast prospects, other names to keep an eye on are Isaiah Crawford (Louisiana Tech), Garwey Dual (Providence), Tristan Enaruna (Cleveland State), Xaivian Lee (Princeton), Malique Lewis (Mexico City Capitanes from the G League), Baba Miller (Florida State), Emanuel Miller (TCU), Mantas Rubštavičius (New Zealand Breakers from the Australian NBL), and Jarin Stevenson (Alabama).