Hawks send notable group to watch 'sleeper candidate' for No. 1 pick in draft

The Atlanta Hawks put the wheels in motion in the next phase of their offseason, preparing for the 2024 NBA Draft with a visit to a dark horse prospect.
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. But they appear to agree with the consensus that there is no clear-cut favorite for the slot. 

General Manager Landry Fields said they weren't considering trading the pick at this point. He also pushed back on the idea that the incoming class lacks talent.  In his latest act, Fields and Co. turned heads with an appearance to see French wing Zaccharie Risacher face Nanterre.

“Sunday evening, Atlanta inherited the first draft pick #NBA to everyone's surprise,” Be Basket's Alexandre Lacoste posted on X on May 16. “Four days later Hawks coach Quin Snyder and assistant GM Kyle Korver traveled to Bourg to watch Zaccharie Risacher in the #BetclicÉLITE playoffs.”

Fields completed what Locked On Hawks’ Brad Rowland termed a “prominent group” in attendance to see Risacher.

Risacher was not at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

“Shades of Michael Porter Jr.,” The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote of Risacher. “Connective piece on offense who could quickly earn a role with his two-way versatility.”

Risacher averaged 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in league play this past season with JL Bourg. He shot 35.2% from beyond the arc and finished just a hair below 1.0 assists per game across 32 appearances. He averaged 13.1 PPG and shot 56.1% from deep in 17 EuroCup games.

The 6-foot-8 wing put up 14 points, six rebounds, and one assist in the win over Nanterre.

Risacher is O’Connor’s 12th-ranked prospect in the 2024 class. Here of the bullet points of O’Connor’s assessment:


- Rapidly developing into a knockdown shooter

- Solid ball handler for his size

- Quick decision-maker as a passer

- Long-armed defender with good awareness as a helper


- Struggles to score at the rim

“His ability to stretch the floor … guard everyone from point guards to small forwards, and make good decisions with the ball gives him a high floor playing a coveted NBA role similar to that of New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote in November. “If Risacher continues playing with improved confidence, productivity and efficiency while showing more flashes of shot-creation prowess, he could emerge as a sleeper candidate at No. 1.”

Fields was clear the Hawks would cast a “wide net” in their pre-draft research. 

Frenchman Alexandre Sarr is the betting favorite to go No. 1 overall. O’Connor compared the Perth Wildcats big man to 2023 Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies and Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic.

Sarr is also O’Connor’s No. 1 prospect and has spoken highly about the idea of suiting up for the Hawks next season.

An argument can be made that Rischer would fulfill a bigger need.

The Hawks have starting center Clint Capela – a trade candidate this offseason – ahead of Onyeka Okongwu with rising star Jalen Johnson at power forward. They also have Mouhamed Gueye, who profiles similarly to Sarr, albeit with a much lower projected ceiling.