Here are the players to watch for in Thursday's NBA Draft

Kevin Domas

The NBA Draft isn’t expected to produce the next LeBron James, Victor Wembanyama or even Anthony Edwards. By all accounts, this is one of the weaker drafts in recent memory for potential superstars. But that doesn’t mean Wednesday’s first round won’t have players capable of altering the success of a franchise.

The top of the draft could feature French players — Zaccharie Risacher and Alex Sarr — taken No. 1 and No. 2. College stars like Reed Sheppard of Kentucky and Stephon Castle and Donovan Clingan of national champion Connecticut aren’t likely to be far behind.

What should you know ahead of the first round? Let’s dive into the key storylines.

How to watch the NBA Draft

Date: Wednesday, June 26

Time: 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT

Location: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York

Network: ESPN and ABC

First-round draft order

1. Atlanta Hawks

2. Washington Wizards

3. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn)

4. San Antonio Spurs

5. Detroit Pistons

6. Charlotte Hornets

7. Portland Trail Blazers

8. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto)

9. Memphis Grizzlies

10. Utah Jazz

11. Chicago Bulls

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

13. Sacramento Kings

14. Portland Trail Blazers (via Golden State)

15. Miami Heat

16. Philadelphia 76ers

17. Los Angeles Lakers

18. Orlando Magic

19. Toronto Raptors (via Indiana)

20. Cleveland Cavaliers

21. New Orleans Pelicans (via Milwaukee)

22. Phoenix Suns

23. Milwaukee Bucks (via New Orleans)

24. New York Knicks (via Dallas)

25. New York Knicks

26. Washington Wizards (via Los Angeles Clippers)

27. Minnesota Timberwolves

28. Denver Nuggets

29. Utah Jazz (via Oklahoma City)

30. Boston Celtics

Who are the top prospects?

Zaccharie Risacher | 6-8 wing/forward | 19 years old | JL Bourg

A big and long playmaker, Risacher is known as a great passer, a solid ball handler and a strong defender in the French league. He showed improved scoring ability this season, but there are questions about his ability to become a knockdown shooter. In his first 34 games this season, he made 48.2% of his 3s; however, he hit only 32% over the final 31 games. Which numbers are for real? That’s what teams are looking to determine.

Alex Sarr | 7-0 big man | 19 years old | Perth Wildcats

Sarr is a very long, athletic big man who is arguably the best defensive player in the draft. With his 7-foot-4 wingspan, he is great at blocking or altering shots in the post and can guard multiple positions. The questions lie on the offensive side, though. He averaged only 9.7 points per game on 52% shooting in the Australian league. Compared to players like Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley, Sarr can be scary if his offensive output matches his defensive.

Reed Sheppard | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Kentucky

Sheppard, a guard, is a tad undersized at just under 6-foot-2, but he makes up for his lack of frame with IQ and versatility. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists last season while hitting 53.6% of his shots. He was also deadly from 3-point range, making 52.1% of his attempts from distance.

Stephon Castle | 6-6 wing | 19 years old | Connecticut

A playmaker who can play either guard position, Castle has the body and athleticism teams covet. His best asset is he’s an elite defensive player. Huskies coach Dan Hurley constantly asked him to lock down the opposing team’s best backcourt player, and he did just that en route to a national championship. Castle’s biggest concern is his shooting ability, as he shot just 26.7% from 3-point range.

Donovan Clingan | 7-2 center | 20 years old | Connecticut

While Castle provided perimeter production for UConn, the back-to-back champs, Clingan did it inside. At a massive 7-foot-2 and 282 pounds, he will help NBA teams with scoring, rebounding and defense around the rim. Farther away from the hoop? That’s the issue. He hit only 58.3% from the free-throw line and 25% from 3-point land.

Will Bronny James be selected?

This might be the most intriguing question of the draft. James, the eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, was expected to be a sure-fire first-rounder when he left high school for Southern Cal. But his lackluster production as a freshman left many believing he wasn't ready to make the jump to the pros.

James, a 6-foot-4 guard, averaged only 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists over 19.4 minutes per game while shooting 36.6% from the field. Could a team be enticed to pick him with hope of luring his father down the road? It sounds crazy but not totally unrealistic, especially in a mediocre draft. Why not take a flier late in the first or second round?

“I got to be on the floor with Bronny,” LeBron told ESPN last year. “Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him. … I ask him what his aspirations [are] and he says he wants to play in the NBA. So if he wants to do it, he’s got to put in the work. I’m here already, so I’m just waiting on him.”

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