2025 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Cooper Flagg, Ace Bailey lead way-too-early look at next year's loaded class (2024)

The 2024 NBA Draft is over and now a new draft cycle begins. Next year's draft class is significantly different from this year’s with a couple of players projected at the top who can be franchise cornerstones. NBA scouts and executives are able to get out to more and more high school and grassroots events and already have a good idea of the talent coming up.

Duke forward Cooper Flagg is the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school and was the nation's best rim protector, regardless of class. Ace Bailey, a 6-foot-9 wing, is headed to Rutgers with fellow five-star prospect Dylan Harper.

The Brooklyn Nets traded Mikal Bridges to the New York Knicks for five future first-round picks and now have 13 first-round picks in the next four years, positioning themselves to be in a good spot for either Flagg or Bailey next year. The San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons are other teams in rebuild mode to watch in the Cooper Flagg Sweepstakes.

Yahoo Sports breaks down the top talent to keep early tabs on and another French prospect projected toward the top in our way-too-early look at the first round of the 2025 NBA Draft.

2025 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Cooper Flagg, Ace Bailey lead way-too-early look at next year's loaded class (1)

1. Cooper Flagg, F

Duke | Freshman

NBA scouts first got a glimpse of Flagg at Nike Peach Jam when he was a top-two player on the 15-under circuit. Originally from Maine, Flagg and his twin brother, Ace, transferred to powerhouse prep school Montverde Academy (Orlando, Florida) after his freshman season and then reclassified up a grade right before his junior season to be in the 2024 high school senior class.

Flagg has an incredible feel for the game and is an elite passer with his size and ability to see over the defense. He can space the floor, create off the dribble and finish in a variety of ways. Defensively, he’s a grab-and-go rebounder and has great footwork and timing as a shot blocker. Teams will be watching how well he can guard the switch off the perimeter and his developing 3-point shot out of the pick-and-pop this season at Duke.

2. Ace Bailey, G/F

Rutgers | Freshman

Bailey was the No. 2-ranked player coming out of high school right behind Flagg. Scouts still believe this could be a two-man race for the No. 1 pick next year.

Bailey is a 6-9 wing and a high-volume scorer who has never seen a shot he doesn’t like. During the City of Palms Classic last December, Bailey put up 43 points, 19 rebounds and five assists. Scouts will watch his shot selection closely this season at Rutgers and how he adjusts to the physicality of the game, especially when getting downhill.

3. Nolan Traore, G

Saint-Quentin, France

The 18-year-old point guard is the next one up out of France. He showed NBA scouts and executives his elite court vision and passing at this year's Nike Hoop Summit, where he was the best point guard on the court.

The 6-3 point guard plays for Saint-Quentin in the LNB Pro A league and capped off his season on a high note when he finished with 45 points and nine assists against Barcelona during the Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals. Traore is electing to stay in France and play one more year for Saint-Quentin before hitting the NBA.

4. VJ Edgecombe, G

Baylor | Freshman

Edgecombe is playing for the Bahamas national team in the Olympics alongside Deandre Ayton, Buddy Hield and Eric Gordon, and looking like he fits right in during practices. The 6-5 guard initially relied a lot on his athleticism as a high school prospect, but has really improved his handle and first step while getting downhill.

2025 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Cooper Flagg, Ace Bailey lead way-too-early look at next year's loaded class (2)

5. Tre Johnson, G

Texas | Freshman

The 6-6 shooting guard was great in front of several NBA scouts and executives at both the McDonald's All American game and Nike Hoop Summit. He has really improved his body, adding weight to his frame, and shines in iso situations, where he can rise and get a shot up over anyone.

6. Dylan Harper, G

Rutgers | Freshman

Harper, the younger brother of Ron Harper Jr. and son of NBA veteran Ron Harper, is a big-bodied lead guard who has cleaned up his decision-making and can really put pressure on the rim. Harper will be playing with Bailey at Rutgers next year and scouts will be making New Jersey a priority stop this college basketball season. The 6-6, 210-pound guard can play on or off the ball and is a tenacious defender who can guard multiple positions.

7. Asa Newell, F

Georgia | Freshman

Newell played alongside Flagg at Montverde Academy and was one of the best players during the Nike Hoop Summit. His combination of size at 6-9, shot-creation from behind the arc and skill cutting off the ball makes him a prospect many scouts will monitor next year at Georgia.

8. Kwame Evans Jr., G/F

Oregon | Sophom*ore

Evans showed glimpses of his upside as a hybrid big during his freshman year but didn't have a big enough sample size to test the NBA waters. His return is a huge win for Oregon and a great opportunity for him to settle into the pace of the college game and improve his 3-point jumper. If he can become more polished as a 6-9 wing, teams will give him looks inside the lottery next year.

9. Ian Jackson, G

North Carolina, Freshman

Jackson is quick at getting a shot off and creates separation off the dribble very well. He is also a solid passer and sees the court so well, especially in transition. Jackson and Elliot Cadeau are going to be a fun pairing in the backcourt next year with both players able to find seams in defenses and consistently get jump shots at the end of possessions.

10. Noa Essengue, F

Ratiopharm Ulm, Germany

The 6-9 French wing will play for the same team first-round pick Pacome Dadiet played for last season. He's still a very raw prospect who thrives on defense, but Essengue will see his minutes and touches increase. During the Adidas Next Generation Tournament, he was second in blocks, averaging 4.4 per game, and fourth in rebounds with 17.6.

11. D.J. Wagner, G

Arkansas | Sophom*ore

Wagner had a very underwhelming freshman season at Kentucky and elected to stay an extra year, following head coach John Calipari and transferring to Arkansas. The 6-3 guard likes to play a little too much with the ball in his hands, but if he can clean up his decision-making and become a more consistent shooter, he'll continue to trend up.

12. Boogie Fland, G

Arkansas | Freshman

Fland is a smaller guard at 6-2, but he has long arms and can pick up full court, keeping players in front of him. His biggest asset is his shooting, and he's also crafty with the ball in his hands. Calipari might have left Kentucky, but he kept almost his entire recruiting class filled with five-star one-and-done talent intact.

13. Isaiah Evans, G/F

Duke | Freshman

Evans is a prolific scorer who really cleaned up his shooting percentage at the tail end of his high school season. He'll be an excellent complementary piece next to Flagg on the wing at 6-7. The duo came into summer workouts already building on their chemistry after the McDonald's All American game.

14. Donovan Freeman, F

Syracuse | Freshman

Freeman was the biggest surprise in the best way possible during the postseason All-Star games, leaving a lasting impression on NBA scouts who got a chance to see him at IMG Academy. The 6-9 forward showed more promise as an outside jump shooter in the pick-and-pop and his shot-blocking off the weak-side block was impressive.


15. Jalil Bethea, G

Miami | Freshman

16. Saint Thomas, G/F

USC | Senior

17. Aaron Bradshaw, C

Ohio State | Sophom*ore

18. Karter Knox, G/F

Arkansas | Freshman

19. Khaman Maluach, C

Duke | Freshman

20. Alex Karaban, G

UConn | Junior

21. Xavier Booker, C

Michigan State | Sophom*ore

22. Cade Tyson, F

North Carolina | Junior

23. Kylan Boswell, G

Junior | Illinois

24. Kon Knueppel, G

Duke | Freshman

25. Jaland Lowe, G

Pittsburgh | Sophom*ore

26. AJ Storr, G

Junior | Kansas

27. Adama Bal, G

Santa Clara | Senior

28. Malik Dia, F

Junior | Ole Miss

29. Andrej Stojakovic, G

Cal | Sophom*ore

30. Baba Miller, C

FAU | Junior

2025 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Cooper Flagg, Ace Bailey lead way-too-early look at next year's loaded class (2024)
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