Hawks opt for 'increasingly attractive option' in new mock draft

A new mock draft has the Atlanta Hawks going in a different direction than previous projections, selecting a fast-rising prospect.
Bourg en Bresse Basket Zaccharie Risacher
Bourg en Bresse Basket Zaccharie Risacher / Aurelien Meunier/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks have been projected to select big man Alex Sarr since landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

However, things have quickly shifted in the aftermath of the lottery and draft combine. 

There were rumblings that UConn center Donovan Clingan could be an option. But Sarr’s countryman, Zaccahrie Risacher, is the one who is climbing draft boards and gaining buzz as the potential top pick.

“The intel out of the Hawks continues to indicate that their front office is at an early stage in its decision-making process and there likely won't be clarity on which way the team is leaning with this pick until closer to draft night,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote on May 31. “Should Atlanta stand pat at No. 1, Risacher is looking like an increasingly attractive option.

“Every team in the top five has significant interest in Risacher, and it is looking highly unlikely, barring a major surprise, that he'll drop out of the top two.”

This aligns with a recent mock from Bleacher Report that also had Risacher going No. 1.

“Every Zaccharie Risacher playoff possession right now is likely monitored under the microscope of the Atlanta Hawks and other lottery teams. And he just delivered consecutive standout performances with a combined 39 points and five threes against AS Monaco,” Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman wrote on May 30.

“In a draft where there isn't an obvious, sure-thing All-Star at the top, Risacher's floor and valued three-and-D archetype could give him an edge with a team that saw AJ Griffin struggle with injuries and Saddiq Bey go down late to an ACL tear.”

Hawks general manager Landry Fields led a group of personnel on an excursion to see Risacher in action earlier this offseason.

Zaccharie Risacher could solve several issues for the Hawks

Risacher averaged 13.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists while falling just shy of 1.0 steals per game in 17 games of EuroCup play.

The 6-foot-8 wing could be the answer to a lot of has held the Hawks back in recent years.

He will undergo medicals and interviews at the NBA Global Camp [2024 Adidas Basketball Euro Camp] in Treviso, Italy on June 1-3. That could be his best chance to separate himself from the pack if he has not already.

The 2024 NBA Draft will debut its new two-day format starting on June 26. Notably, the No. 1 pick is the Hawks’ only selection in this draft due to previous trades.

A decision on the backcourt or the rest of the roster could come long before the draft.

If the Hawks are eyeing more prospects in this year’s class to embark on a more serious rebuild, they could dominate draft night with picks and trades. The free agency negotiation period begins on June 30.