Hawks linked to 2-time national champion with No. 1 pick in 2024 NBA Draft

A new prospect may be under consideration by the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields was clear that they will be broad in their scope as they comb through the prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft.

With a little over one month until Day 1, league sentiments reflect those comments.

“At this stage, NBA executives don't have a firm grasp of what the Hawks might do,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote on May 22. “Many around the league expect the Hawks to select Sarr with the top pick, as there are compelling reasons to consider him the best prospect in this class with his elite physical tools, mobility, defensive versatility, finishing ability and potential as a perimeter shooter. 

“We'd expect Fields and the Hawks front office to consider other options here as well, including Risacher, Donovan Clingan and trade opportunities.”

Sarr has been the betting favorite to go No. 1 since the pick locked in. And Fields was in attendance for one of Risacher’s recent outings, though he missed a career night soon afterward. 

However, Clingan in a new link which Givony’s colleague Jeremy Woo doubled down on.

“Clingan was arguably the top prospect most harmed by how the lottery shook out, as none of the teams picking in the top five as constituted have an express need to select a true center,” Woo wrote, “even if NBA executives expect him to be firmly in play with Atlanta, Washington and Houston.”

Like Sarr, Clingan is a 7-footer – 7-foot-2, to be exact – with a projected ability to step out and shoot the three-ball despite limited exposure at the previous level.

He attempted nine in two years at UConn, connecting on just two of them.

Clingan was also not a strong free throw shooter, sinking just 55.8.% of his tries at the charity stripe. That includes a 58.3% mark this past season as he helped the Huskies win back-to-back national titles.

The big man averaged 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 1.5 assists, setting career-high marks in each category.

Donovan Clingan fits what Hawks have done with Clint Capela

Shades of Roy Hibbert,” The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote. “Massive interior presence who projects as a post threat on offense and a paint protector on defense.”

Clingan is O’Connor’s No. 8 prospect and projected sixth in Givony and Woo’s exercise. There is a big difference in terms of value between those slots and taking him with the No. 1 pick. But he does fit what the Hawks have done with Clint Capela defensively.

The questions the Hawks have to answer are two-fold: is Clingan’s size enough to pass on the seemingly greater potential Sarr possesses? 

Is he even good enough to replace what they already have?

Clingan would be the biggest player on the roster from Day 1. And his championship pedigree speaks for itself. Of course, that last part is potentially compared to someone who played professionally last season in Sarr (Perth Wildcats) at a position of potential need for Atlanta.

This is why, despite Fields’ “wide net,” in search of the right option for the top pick, Sarr remains the betting favorite to go No. 1 overall.