How these top 2024 NBA Draft prospects could impact the Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks won the NBA NBA draft lottery with a 3% chance, allowing them to add another young star to their franchise.
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields
Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields / Anadolu/GettyImages

The 2024 NBA Draft is upon us, and Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields, along with the rest of the front office, is in the midst of one of the most critical offseasons in the history of the franchise.  After winning the lottery with a 3% chance, it’s obvious the stars aligned to give the Hawks an opportunity to improve the team, and with this particular draft, the team fit will dictate which player goes where.

When given the No. 1 overall pick, it entails a gift of the first decision on draft night and a potential curse of choosing the wrong pick while a potential superstar is drafted to another team. 

Hawks must hit on plan for No. 1 pick in draft

1.) Donovan Clingan has risen exponentially through the draft ranks from November 2023 to the 2024 NBA Draft combine. His performance in the 2024 NCAA Tournament was outstanding, showcasing his ability to lead a team through a gauntlet of high-level competition two years in a row. The championship DNA will lead to rapid growth at the NBA level due to familiarity with high-pressure situations. His skill set could immediately impact the Hawks due to his 7 '2 frame, footwork, and playmaking ability.     

 One of the benefits of drafting the 20-year-old is the maturity he acquired playing under Dan Hurley and the high standard Hurley established at the University Of Connecticut.  A concern the Hawks should have is Clingan’s ability to stay healthy. He missed all of the collegiate preseason after suffering a foot strain at a September practice.

Later in December, during a matchup versus Seton Hall, he suffered a torn tendon in his right foot and was out for three weeks.  A pick-n-roll combination of Young and Clingan would be fascinating if Clingan can stay healthy. 

2.) Even though the Hawks have five wing players, Zaccharie Risacher is a real candidate to join the roster on June 26th. Risacher’s offensive potential is undeniable. His off-ball play would be excellent alongside Young. He is one of the best spot-up shooters in the entire draft, and his height at 6 '9 makes it difficult to contest his jump shot.

He is also an incredible perimeter defender and will only continue to improve on defense. Drafting him also adds a layer of security because they will have the option to build around Risacher if they want to move on from the Young era.

Related. 3 ways No. 1 can help. 3 Ways the No. 1 pick can help Landry Fields turn the Hawks into contenders. dark

3.) Young and Murray have both been in trade rumors this off-season. If Fields decides to trade either or both for draft capital, the Hawks could begin their rebuild and take the organization in a different direction. This would be the right time because of Uconn’s Stephon Castle. Even though guards like Reed Sheppard are available, Castle is the tallest point guard in the draft at 6 '7, and the 2024 Big East Freshman Of The Year is better for long-term success because of his well-rounded game. 

Castle has shown great flashes on both sides of the ball at this early stage. He can play either guard position, but his jump shot is still developing, so he is more valuable as a point guard.   Rebuilding wouldn't be the worst option with prospects like Cooper Flagg, Alijah Arenas, and Airious Bailey available in the 2025 NBA Draft. 

 4.) The final prospect the Hawks should consider is French big man Alexandre Sarr. Sarr is regarded as the best prospect in the entire draft and would impact the Hawks with his athletic skill set. At 7 ‘1, he has the size to play the center position, but he is better utilized at the power forward due to his speed. 

He is a great shot blocker and rim runner, which would be tailor-made for Young because of his affinity for lob passes. Sarr’s defensive potential, ability to shoot the ball, and athleticism separate him from the rest of the draft class. Sarr was listed last because He declined a private workout with the Hawks but could still be drafted. 

Sarr’s agent, Bill Duffy, believes he would not fit well in Atlanta for undisclosed reasons. Duffy was also Luka Doncič’s agent when the Hawks agreed to the infamous draft night trade in the summer of 2018. Only time will tell who the Hawks will select, but we will find out soon enough.