Hawks select Zaccharie Risacher No. 1 overall in NBA draft

League: NBA

Posted on: 27 Jun, 2024 at 03:53 AM

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With Victor Wembanyama on the table, there was little doubt as to who was going No. 1 overall at last year's NBA draft.

It was a different story this time around.

Fellow Frenchmen Zaccharie Risacher and Alexandre Sarr frequently traded places atop the board in mock drafts over the past month, but it was Risacher who went No. 1 overall when the Atlanta Hawks selected him to open the first round on Wednesday.

Risacher most recently played for JL Bourg-en-Bresse of LNB Elite, France's premier division of professional basketball.

"So exciting. There's a lot of feelings and emotions right now," Risacher told ESPN. "I don't know what to say, but ... I'm so blessed."

In 32 games last season, Risacher averaged 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists for JL Bourg. The 19-year-old is 6-foot-9 and weighed in at 195 pounds at the draft combine in May.

According to Spotrac, Risacher will sign a four-year, $57.2 million contract with the Hawks.

Atlanta does not own another pick in this year's draft, which has been split into two days. The first round was held on Wednesday at Barclays Center in New York. ESPN's Seaport District Studios -- also in New York -- will host the second round on Thursday.

The Washington Wizards took Sarr off the board with the second overall pick.

Sarr, 19, spent the 2023-24 campaign with the Perth Wildcats of Australia's National Basketball League. He averaged 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 27 games.

It marked the third time in NBA draft history that the top two picks had no college experience. Sarr is leaning on his brother, Oklahoma City Thunder center Olivier Sarr, for guidance as he prepares to play the next level.

"He's shared a lot with me," Alexandre Sarr told ESPN. "Everything I've learned is through him and he gave me all his knowledge, and to this day it's really special to have someone like him in my corner."

Kentucky's Reed Sheppard went to the Houston Rockets at No. 3, while UConn's Stephon Castle landed with the San Antonio Spurs at No. 4. Ron Holland II of G League Ignite, who will be joining the Detroit Pistons, rounded out the top five.

In his lone season with the Wildcats, Sheppard posted averages of 12.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.1 boards across 33 games.

Castle also spent just one season at the collegiate level, helping the Huskies secure their second straight national title by recording 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

"This guy when you look at fit right there, the Spurs value winning, they value workers, they value championships, and this is just the perfect player for them to draft," UConn coach Dan Hurley told ESPN. "This guy is just scratching the surface."

Holland appeared in 14 games last season. He averaged 20.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals.

After another Frenchman, Tidjane Salaun, was taken by the Charlotte Hornets at No. 6, the Portland Trail Blazers grabbed UConn big man Donovan Clingan. Clingan was a two-time champion with the Huskies in his only two seasons of college basketball.

The Timberwolves traded up to the eighth overall pick to grab guard Rob Dillingham out of Kentucky. Minnesota sent San Antonio a 2031 unprotected first-round pick and a protected 2030 pick swap to grab the No. 8 slot, per multiple media reports.

Purdue center Zach Edey, a two-time National Player of the Year, landed with the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 9. Edey averaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks last season.

Another Thunder player will be opposing his brother in the NBA, as the Utah Jazz selected Colorado's Cody Williams with the 10th overall pick. Williams is the brother of Oklahoma City guard/forward Jalen Williams.

Matas Buzelis, a native of Chicago, will be staying in his hometown after the Bulls took him at No. 11 from the G League Ignite. Serbian Nikola Topic then went to Oklahoma City, Providence's Devin Carter went to the Sacramento Kings and Pitt's Bub Carrington was selected by Portland but will be heading to the Wizards.

The Blazers traded the 14th overall pick and Malcolm Brogdon earlier Wednesday as part of a package to acquire Deni Avdija from Washington.

Carter is the son of 13-year NBA veteran Anthony Carter.

"I caught him at the end of his career, so I had to watch highlights and stuff," Devin Carter told ESPN. "I respect ... how hard he worked, he always got on the court for how hard he played defense, the way he led the second unit."

Outside of the lottery, the Miami Heat snatched Kel'el Ware of Indiana with the 15th overall pick, the Philadelphia 76ers took Duke's Jared McCain at No. 16 and Tennessee's Dalton Knecht went to the Los Angeles Lakers, who had the 17th overall pick.

The Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers had the next three picks, selecting Colorado's Tristan da Silva, Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter and Cal's Jaylon Tyson, respectively.

Highlights of the final third of the first round included the Phoenix Suns trading the 22nd overall pick to the Nuggets, who ended up bringing Dayton's DaRon Holmes II to Denver, and the Minnesota Timberwolves selecting Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. with the 27th pick.

The NBA champion Boston Celtics chose Baylor Scheierman out of Creighton with the 30th pick to close the first round.

--Field Level Media