NBA draft 2024: Best players at shooting, defense, more

Zach Edey, a center out of Purdue, worked out during the NBA draft combine last month at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

Thirty teams have spent the past year canvassing the globe to make sense of the 2024 NBA draft class, identifying the top prospects and what makes them intriguing.

Scouting reports are filled with details and descriptors to better distinguish one player from another. Evaluation encompasses myriad factors, of course -- but which prospects have earned superlatives? Which players come to mind as the best playmakers, shooters and defenders?

As draft night approaches less than three weeks from now (June 26-27 in Brooklyn, New York, on ABC/ESPN/ESPN+), who is truly the best in the class at each individual skill?

ESPN draft analysts Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo put together their list of the leading prospects, assessing traits in 20 categories.

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Best pick-and-roll finisher: Zach Edey, C, Purdue

Edey, ranked No. 16 in ESPN's Top 100, is a dream target for playmaking guards to pair with in pick-and-roll actions. He sets wide, bruising screens at 7-foot-5, 298 pounds and is an outstanding mark rolling to the paint and catching everything thrown his way with his huge, magnetic hands and 7-foot-11 wingspan. Purdue's small guards would often throw the ball up in the general vicinity of the rim under duress and let Edey go catch it.

He understands the art of rescreening if his initial pick doesn't achieve the desired outcome, and has improved his ability to operate out of zoom actions/dribble-handoffs, catch-and-make decisions out of short rolls, or mix-in slips to keep defenses off-balance. Even if he doesn't catch the ball rolling to the basket (where he is absolutely devastating), the amount of gravity he attracts sucking in off-ball defenders tagging off shooters often creates wide-open corner 3s for teammates -- a big reason the Boilermakers shot 40% for 3 this season, the second-best rate in college basketball. -- Givony