NBA: Combine

The 2024 NBA Draft Combine tipped off Sunday for the 78 players who earned invites to this year's event and a select few players from the G League Elite Camp.

New to this year 's combine is the participation expected from each prospect. This is the first time under the newly ratified collective bargaining agreement that requires participation in the combine for draft eligibility. In previous years, top prospects frequently sat in competition and didn't participate in measurements and kept important medical information close to the vest.

But prospects and agents no longer will have as much power in the predraft process with respect to their participation in important events. The goal of the NBA is for there to be as much transparency as possible for teams to make decisions. The outcome for prospects may be that we see less agent meddling or steering prospects to or away from destinations. We'll see.

With the combine set to tip off in short order here's a look at five other storylines to watch as we gear up for the week in Chi-town.

Players with most on the line

Inevitably there will be players whose stock rise and fall based on incoming intel, scrimmage performances, measurements, interviews, etc. A few I'll be watching this week include:

  • Cam Christie, Minnesota: Behind the scenes it's hard to argue that anyone has risen over the last six weeks as much as Christie. Coming off a quietly very solid freshman season at Minnesota, interest in him has exploded, culminating with a big appearance this week in Chicago. He may already be flirting with first-round territory after what he did as a freshman at his size, and a big week might solidify his standing as a clear top-30 prospect in the class.
  • Justin Edwards, Kentucky: Edwards began the season ranked No. 1 on the CBS Sports Prospect Rankings after a stellar summer for Kentucky that included an impressive performance during a tour in Canada. He enters the combine ranked No. 3 on the Big Board ... among Kentucky prospects. Ranked No. 32 overall entering the week, Edwards still has believers with his smooth left-handed stroke and jumbo frame that could translate to high-level production at the wing. He has a lot to prove, though, and this week is a big opportunity for him.
  • Tyler Kolek, Marquette: Kolek led college basketball in assists per game last season and has the makings of a viable NBA backup point guard with the way he passes, creates, shoots and presents toughness. He's No. 29 in the CBS Sports Prospect Rankings, which is higher than consensus, but this week if he plays up to his potential, I have a feeling this might look sharp and ahead of the curve.
A good showing at the combine would help Bronny James, who struggled as a freshman at USC.  USATSI

Bright lights will be on Bronny James

Despite averaging just 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last season for USC, James, the eldest son of Lakers superstar LeBron James, will make his way to Chicago this week for the combine. James will reportedly remain in the draft after receiving clearance for full participation in combine drills and any later team workouts from the NBA's Fitness to Play Panel after dealing with a heart issue last summer.

Bronny didn't have a great season with the Trojans and doesn't currently project as a first-round pick, but LeBron can opt out of his Lakers deal this summer and where Bronny lands could be used as bait to lure his pops, theoretically. Bronny's a real NBA prospect even after struggling last season, but it may be difficult to break through the circus likely to follow him this week.

G League Ignite stars in the mix

Recent early-career struggles from some of the top G League Ignite products -- Jonathan Kuminga and Scoot Henderson among them -- have shined a light on the NBA's soon-to-be-defunct developmental league. But this year's crop of talent has a chance to show up in a big way. Three players from the league are projected first round picks and two -- Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland -- are very much in the mix to be top-five picks. 

Neither Kuminga nor Henderson are by any stretch considered busts, mind you, but the transition from G League Ignite to the NBA has for some players been tougher than expected. If Buzelis and Holland can put on a show it may quiet some of the skeptics, and in this setting, they both have a chance to flourish with their size and playmaking ability.

Does Zach Edey continue his dominance?

One of the most polarizing prospects in the 2024 class will be hard to miss this week in Chicago. All 7-foot-4, 300 pounds of Purdue big man Zach Edey are expected to be in attendance, another great chance for him to prove he belongs after destroying college competition the last two seasons with the Boilermakers. 

There's questions about Edey's game and how it will translate to the NBA, chief among them his lack of foot speed and whether he'll be able to defend in space, but there's no doubt his size and scoring efficiency at the college level has NBA teams interested. If he can show some shooting touch and hold his own defensively this week it wouldn't surprise to see his stock rise. Teams are more interested than you might think.

2024 NBA Draft Combine Invitees

Here are the 78 players who have been invited to the 2024 NBA Draft Combine.

Michael AjayiPepperdine
Melvin AjincaSaint Quentin (France)
Trey AlexanderCreighton
Izan AlmansaG League Ignite
Reece BeekmanVirginia
Adem BonaUCLA
Trevon BrazileArkansas
Jalen BridgesBaylor
Matas BuzelisG League Ignite
Carlton CarringtonPittsburgh
Devin CarterProvidence
Stephon CastleUConn
Ulrich ChomcheNBA Academy Africa
Cam ChristieMinnesota
Nique CliffordColorado State
Donovan ClinganUConn
Isaiah CollierUSC
Tristan Da SilvaColorado
Pacome DadietUlm (Germany)
N'Faly DanteOregon
Rob DillinghamKentucky
Nikola DjurisicMega (Serbia)
Ryan DunnVirginia
Zach EdeyPurdue
Justin EdwardsKentucky
Kyle FilipowskiDuke
Trentyn FlowersAdelaide (Australia)
Johnny FurphyKansas
Kyshawn GeorgeMiami
Tyon Grant-FosterGrand Canyon
PJ HallClemson
Coleman HawkinsIllinois
Ron Holland IIG League Ignite
DaRon Holmes IIDayton
Ariel HukportiRiesen Ludwigsburg (Germany)
Oso IghodaroMarquette
Harrison IngramNorth Carolina
Bronny JamesUSC
AJ JohnsonIllawarra (Australia)
Keshad JohnsonArizona
David JonesMemphis
Dillon JonesWeber State
Ryan KalkbrennerCreighton
Alex KarabanUConn
Bobi KlintmanCairns (Australia)
Dalton KnechtTennessee
Tyler KolekMarquette
Pelle LarssonArizona
Jared McCainDuke
Kevin McCullar Jr.Kansas
Yves MissiBaylor
Ajay MitchellUC Santa Barbara
Jonathan MogboSan Francisco
Tristen NewtonUConn
Juan NunezUlm (Germany)
Quinten PostBoston College
Antonio ReevesKentucky
Zaccharie RisacherBourg (France)
Jaxson RobinsonBYU
Tidjane SalaunCholet (France)
Hunter SallisWake Forest
Payton SandfortIowa
Alexandre SarrPerth (Australia)
Baylor ScheiermanCreighton
Mark SearsAlabama
Terrence Shannon Jr.Illinois
Jamal SheadHouston
Reed SheppardKentucky
KJ SimpsonColorado
Tyler SmithG League Ignite
Cam SpencerUConn
Nikola TopicCrvena Zvezda (Serbia)
JT ToppinNew Mexico
Jaylon TysonCalifornia
Ja'Kobe WalterBaylor
Kel'el WareIndiana
Jamir WatkinsFlorida State
Cody WilliamsColorado