Busting Brackets

NBA Draft 2024: From JUCO to the NBA - Dalton Knecht's untypical journey

2024 NBA Draft - Round One
2024 NBA Draft - Round One / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The NBA never seemed like it was in the cards for the newest Los Angeles Laker. It all started at Northeastern Junior College, where Dalton Knecht spent his first two collegiate seasons playing. He later made a huge jump to Division One when he transferred to the Big Sky Conference to play for Northern Colorado, leading the conference in scoring averaging 20.2 points per game. 

After all that, he made one final stop at the Tennessee Volunteers to play for Rick Barnes and an extremely talented roster. It didn't take long for Knecht's presence to be felt. Dominating from the get-go, Knecht averaged 21.7 points and 4.9 rebounds, while shooting 39.7% from the three-point line and 46.1% from the field. 

His age is the biggest glaring issue. But is it even really an issue? The Los Angeles Lakers needed an instant contributor, and Knecht still has a lot of room to grow and improve, yet he may be the most NBA-ready player in the draft. He could contribute tomorrow with his offensive skill set and overall build.

Standing at 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan and an 8-foot-10 standing reach. He checks every single box except defense. Yet he is more than capable with his measurables. He just needs more development, reps, and coaching on that side of the ball, which he will get at the NBA level. He is a three-level scorer, with the ability to make shots off the dribble and off the catch. He isn't afraid to attack the rim either and use his length to his ability. 

Next. WTE SEC power rankings for 2024-25. WTE SEC power rankings for 2024-25. dark

Many projected Knecht to be selected in the top ten, more so within the top seven. Not many saw him getting past the Portland Trail Blazers, yet he slipped ten spots further and fell into the Lakers lap. This very well could be a move that 16 teams in front regret when it's all said and done.