Hawks: Legacy prospect receiving 'most bets' as projected No. 1 pick

One polarizing prospect is currently raking in the most bets to be the Atlanta Hawks' pick at No. 1 overall in the 2024 Draft.
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields insisted they were too early in the process to declare a plan with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft. Despite that, French big man Alexandre Starr is the favorite to be the choice. 

A need for more athleticism and – more importantly – length in the frontcourt could spark that decision. But another prospect has been getting bet on more than any other.

Bronny James, son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, is the culprit.

“Bronny James (200-1) has the MOST BETS (22.5%) to go No. 1 overall in the 2024 NBA draft at @BetMGM sportsbooks,” betting expert Ben Fawkes posted on X on May 20. “He represents the book's biggest liability to go No. 1 overall.”

“His odds remain at 200-1”

James was an uncertain entrant amid a murky draft outlook. He averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists for the USC Trojans last season.

He initially entered the draft pool with the idea that he would retain eligibility until hearing feedback about his draft stock. James even posted on Instagram that he was leaving the option to return to school open but would transfer out of SoCal.

At this point, James is expected to devote his energy to the NBA Draft process,” The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie wrote on April 12. “It is unclear if they have a range of picks in mind or a specific team. But the plan is for James to see what happens over the next couple months before the May 29 withdrawal deadline.”

According to Fawkes, Sarr is still the favorite at -300 and has “81.4% of the total handle.”

Little clarity on the Hawks' plans at this point

There has been no indication given that James is rethinking his decision, especially after he showed well at the 2024 Draft Combine in Chicago.

But it’s a far leap to go from being the No. 54 prospect on May 16 in ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony’s rankings to being the No. 1 overall pick on June 27. Especially considering the Hawks have two All-Star point guards on the roster.

Perhaps this is an indication of an expected trade.

Fields said they had no plans to trade the pick. But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t listen to offers, while there are reports teams could look to add Bronny in hopes of luring James away from Los Angeles this offseason.

The elder James can become an unrestricted free agent and has voiced his desire to play alongside his son, if that is his wish.

However, the younger James has said he wants to forge his own NBA path.

Such a pick could inspire LeBron to stay put or choose another locale to honor his son’s wishes, as he said he would. Until the actual favorite changes, though, it’s safe to assume this is bettors seeking value with the draft still over one month away.