The NBA Draft begins Wednesday when the Atlanta Hawks make the first pick shortly after 8 p.m.

If you’re just a casual fan of the league whose only interest is seeing where players from ACC schools end up, you might not want to turn into the ESPN broadcast until around 9.

Or maybe even later.

Because, unlike the NFL Draft when North Carolina’s Drake Maye came off the board at No 3 overall, it’s going to take a while for the first ACC player to have his name called.

A consensus of 9 mock drafts compiled by NBA.com has Miami freshman Kyshawn George as the most likely candidate to be the ACC’s first selection.

At No, 14 overall to the Portland Trailblazers.

Only 3 conference players, Pitt’s Carlton “Bub” Carrington (+2000) and the Duke duo of Jared McCain (+2000) and Kyle Filipowski (+5000), have odds to crack the top 10, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

And all are long shots.

But as helpful as rankings, mock drafts and betting odds can be in assessing the potential for when and where players might go, they aren’t always a reliable indicator of what will actually happen once commissioner Adam Silver steps to the podium and begins calling names.

All it takes is 1 blockbuster trade or 1 team falling in love with a player and deciding to take a flier on him to throw everything out of whack.

So with that uncertainty in mind, let’s try our hand at handicapping who will be the first ACC player taken and how many might go in Wednesday night’s opening round.

Carlton “Bub” Carrington, Pitt

Carrington announced his presence with authority by recording a triple-double in debut with the Panthers, becoming the first ACC player to accomplish the feat in his college debut since Georgia Tech’s Dennis Scott in 1997. The 6-5 shooting guard bracketed that performance by giving North Carolina fits in a stellar 24-point performance in the ACC Tournament semifinals.

He’s quick and athletic with a strong mid-range game and an ability to finish at the rim. While he’s capable of knocking down the 3-pointer, he needs to work on his consistency, as well as his commitment to defense.

And yet, still only 18 years old with plenty of room to grow physically and developmentally, Carrington is an attractive prospect for a team looking for a young combo guard who can put the ball in the basket and has plenty of growth potential. His already-high draft stock has continued to soar since his performance at the NBA Combine and pre-draft workouts.

Best guess: 7 of the past 8 freshmen entering the draft after averaging at least 13.5 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game have gone in the top 15. And Carrington will almost certainly join them. He’s also the ACC’s best chance to have a top-10 pick this year, although his best fits might be the Chicago Bulls at No. 11 and the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 12.

Jared McCain, Duke

NBA teams love potential. But they also put a high premium on production. And of all the ACC players in this draft, McCain is the best combination of the 2. He’s a 20-year-old college freshman who improved steadily as his 1-and-done season with Duke progressed and has barely scratched the surface of his potential, even though he was arguably the Blue Devils’ best player from late January on.

The 6-3 guard wasn’t just 1 of the best 3-point shooters in the country at 41.4% and a volume scorer capable of putting up big numbers – as he did by scoring 30 or more twice in 4 NCAA Tournament games. McCain also showed an ability to be an effective rebounder, a reliable ball-hander who doesn’t turn it over and a willing on-the-ball defender.

Best guess: A 3-point sharpshooter of McCain’s ability would be the perfect fit for the San Antonio Spurs, the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA last season. But if No. 8 is a little too early and the Spurs aren’t willing to trade down to get him, then the Sacramento Kings at No. 13, the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 17 or the Orlando Magic at No. 18 might be his most likely landing spots.

Kyshawn George, Miami

Forget his college stats, which were pedestrian at best scoring at 7.6 points 3.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists with only 16 starts in his only season for the Hurricanes. He’s a 6-8 wing who has the ballhandling skills of a point guard, shot 40.8% from 3-point range as a freshman and has unlimited room for improvement.

He’s not overly athletic, but he has a long wingspan that will eventually become an asset on defense. He has a high basketball IQ and international experience, having played for the under-16 national team for his native Switzerland since the age of 13.

Best guess: George has by far the most volatility of any ACC player in the draft because of his inexperience. He’s an intriguing prospect in a weak draft who could find his way into the lottery if someone falls in love with his raw ability. But as a project who will almost certainly have to spend time in the G League working on his game, there’s just as much of a chance he’ll go later in the 1st round to an established team that can afford to be more patient with him.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke

If George is among the riskiest picks in this year’s draft, Filipowski is among the best-known available commodities. His profile on NBA.com describes him as one of the “safest” picks in the 2024 class.

He’s a proven stretch-4 with enough size at 7 feet, 248 pounds to score inside and a good enough perimeter game to cause matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. He’s a rim protector like his former Duke teammate Dereck Lively II and he needs to learn to be tougher both physically and mentally.

But he can score and rebound and is a better-than-average ballhandler and passer for a player his size. And based on his 2 seasons with the Blue Devils, the team that drafts him can be relatively certain they know what they’re getting.

Best guess: If he doesn’t go to Philadelphia at No. 16 or Phoenix at No. 22, teams in need of frontcourt help, the Filipowski watch will likely begin in earnest when the New York Knicks take their back-to-back picks at No. 24-25. If they also take a pass on him, he won’t slip any farther than Denver at No. 28 or Boston at No. 30.

Potential wild cards

Several mock drafts have North Carolina’s Harrison Ingram and Virginia’s Ryan Dunn sneaking into the bottom of the 1st round.

Ingram is a seasoned Swiss Army Knife type player who has an edge to his game who raised his draft profile in his 1 season with the Tar Heels after starting his college career at Stanford. Dunn is a big, physical forward whose defensive skills are NBA ready, but has a lot of work to do on the offensive end of the floor.

Both are more likely to go in the 2nd round than the 1st. But all it takes is 1 team to fall in love with you. And in a draft considered as weak as this one, anything is possible.