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Adem Bona 2024 NBA Draft Profile

Adem Bona NBA Draft
Adem Bona is one of the most mobile bigs in the 2024 NBA Draft class. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Adem Bona 2024 NBA Draft Profile

We are just over three weeks away from the start of the 2024 NBA Draft. We are continuing our NBA Draft profiles with hyperathletic UCLA big Adem Bona. Let’s jump into it!

Height: 6’8.25″ (7’3.75″ wingspan, 9′ standing reach)

Weight: 243.2 lbs

Age: 21.2

Position: Center

Bona was a five-star prospect out of Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., being a top-20 prospect nationally, according to 247Sports. He graded out as a better prospect than Gradey Dick, Leonard Miller, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Donovan Clingan, among others. He chose UCLA over Kansas, Kentucky, Baylor, Miami (FL) and USC, among others.

Bona immediately entered the starting lineup as a freshman, but was the team’s sixth-leading scorer and the third-leading rebounder–behind only Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Jaylen Clark–in a smaller role. Though his role expanded as a sophomore, albeit in a much worse situation.

The 6-foot-9 big was perhaps UCLA’s biggest bright spot in 2023-24, averaging 12.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.8 blocks, helping UCLA be the Pac-12’s third-most efficient defense despite losing three of its best defenders from the season prior.

Let’s hop into a few of Bona’s strengths and weaknesses, shall we?


Bona is one of the most mobile bigs in the 2024 draft class. He finished in the top-5 in the shuttle run, lane agility and three-quarter sprint drills at the NBA Draft Combine. All of those qualities–foot speed, lateral quickness and hip mobility–all translate when you watch Bona on the court.

He was also incredibly athletic vertically, sporting a 35.0″ standing vertical and 40.0″ inch max vertical, among the combine’s best for not just centers–but everyone.

When you put on tape of Bona, you could tell how fluid and mobile he was with his movements. Bona can defend multiple positions and is one of the best shot-blocking bigs in this class. He was superb as a help side rim protector and had strong double-jump ability.

In these draft previews, I feel like I’m a broken record when I say that a lot of defense is a mentality. Not only did Bona put himself in good position defensively, but his motor. If you clocked his motor on a scale of 1-10, it was always an 11. Especially when you’re undersized at your position, you have to dig your heels just a little deeper and that’s what he did–despite being able to jump out of the gym with the best of them.

Offensively, Adem Bona was an excellent roll-man in the pick-and-roll. He could probably improve his pacing in the pick-and-roll to make life easier for the ballhandler, but I appreciate when a player of his skillset doesn’t just roll, but rolls hard.

Another thing I love about Bona’s game is that he always ran the floor hard. He was relentless on the glass, but he could beat his man (and the defense) down the floor as well as any big could in this class. There’s value in creating semi-transition advantages to make life easier for your offense.

Speaking of his rebounding, he may not be the biggest player. Though he was stout at positioning himself well on the glass–especially offensively. He ranked in the top-6 in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounding percentage and top-11 in total rebounding percentage in both of his two seasons, hauling down 10.3 rebounds per 75 possessions for his career.


One of my biggest questions is how his touch outside of the paint translates to the NBA.

Few organizations know how to develop shooting well. He struggled as a free-throw shooter, though he improved his free-throw percentage to 69.6 percent on 4.5 attempts (56.9 FTAr) in his final season. Bona showed some potential as a mid-range jump shooter as a sophomore– but only made 34.1 percent (30-88) of those attempts.

The results weren’t consistent enough for my liking. I also wonder, at his size, how he holds up against other bigs who are at least 3-4 inches taller than him. Due to his lack of true floor-spacing ability, I wonder how he’s valued positionally; Bona’s a small-ball 5, and I’m curious to see how his role shapes out when the NBA is, indeed, getting bigger. Will be slotted as a 4 or a 5?

Projection: Mid Second Round

I think the perceived gap between the bigs in the first round (Yves Missi, Kel’el Ware, etc.) and the second round (Ulrich Chomche, Bona, etc.) is bigger than I think it should be. If you’re a team with multiple picks or have a need for a big, I’d take a flyer on Bona in the second round. He’s one worth gambling on.


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