How drafting Zaccharie Risacher affects the Atlanta Hawks long term

Zaccharie Risacher is destined to be the key to unlocking the full potential of the Atlanta Hawks in the Trae Young era.
Atlanta Hawks forward Zaccharie Risacher
Atlanta Hawks forward Zaccharie Risacher / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

On the night of June 26th, the Atlanta Hawks made a historic decision for their franchise when they drafted Frenchman Zaccharie Risacher as the No.1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Nearly 50 years in the making, this was a momentous occasion for the Hawks and their fan base. In a post-NBA Draft press conference, General Manager Landry Fields answered questions from the media, one of which was about Risacher's fit on the team.

“ Having this pick wasn’t necessarily about any direction. I think we took this as an opportunity to get who we thought was the best player in the draft,” Fields told reporters on June 26. “ That's a player we weren’t going to sit and project what the roster will look like at the end of the day. We feel like this is a guy, no matter what the roster looks, we can build with.”

Given the odds of the lottery, Risacher's impact on the team will provide a boost that the Hawks were not supposed to have. He must dispel all doubt about his ability, as he is arguably one of the most disrespected No.1 overall picks in recent memory.

A successful rookie season will gain the respect of the masses and excite the Hawks fans about the future. Luckily, playing next to Young will accelerate Risacher's development, especially on the offensive side of the ball. His skill set benefits the Hawks in multiple ways. And at 19 years old, he has a lot of room to grow in the coming years, promising a bright future for the team.

Risacher is a great shooter with the potential to become elite and has excellent perimeter defense. He can guard multiple positions on the floor with his 6.9’5 wingspan.

He is a tall wing at 6 '10, so it will be hard to block his jump shot, and he is super athletic, especially on the fastbreak when finishing at the rim. His playstyle, particularly his shooting and defensive abilities, next to Young will make for some electric highlights, but it will come at the expense of De'Andre Hunter, who will likely see a shift in his role to accommodate Risacher's strengths. 

Hunter would be a great bench piece if the front office wants to pay his contract

Summer League could be very telling for Zaccharie Risacher, Hawks

Risacher’s performance in the NBA Summer League and the 2024 Summer Olympics will dictate his playing time in the rotation. If he performs at a high level, there's a significant possibility Head Coach Quin Snyder will include the 2024 EuroCup Rising Star in the starting lineup in October. However, it's important to note that his development will require patience and strategic planning from the coaching staff.

Even though it will be a project, Hawks fans should be excited about what will happen in State Farm Arena.

Over the next few years, Head Of Player Development, Reggis Onwukamuche, and the rest of the staff will do whatever it takes to ensure Risacher maximizes his potential to become a star. Especially now that the front office has parted ways with Dejounte Murray, Risacher’s organizational role has become more substantial and will dictate the fate of the franchise. As Jalen Johnson steps into the role as 2nd option, Risacher will have to develop as a solid 3rd option.  

Risacher, Young, and Johnson are the only untouchable members of the roster. Usually, Risacher would have to carry a franchise at a young age in a traditional No.1 overall pick situation, but the Hawks already have a franchise centerpiece, making him the final piece to a long-term core. He has more potential at the small forward position than Hunter ever did and the Hawks need to capitalize on that.

As time passes, we will witness how the trio play together and form their unique offensive tandem. Johnson and Risacher will provide great defensive coverage on the wings while being two primary offensive weapons for Young. Both have the potential to become stars in different ways.

If Risacher reaches his full potential in Atlanta, the Hawks will have three star-level players acquired from the draft. Young will finally gain the respect he deserves as one of the best point guards in the league as he flourishes in a system built for him. Even though it can be stressful, fans can only cheer from the sidelines while the front office tries its best to improve the team, and drafting Risacher was a massive step in the right direction.