2024 NBA Draft

Hawks take French teen Zaccharie Risacher with 2nd top overall pick in franchise history

The Atlanta Hawks select French teen Zaccharie Risacher as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Wednesday night.

The Atlanta Hawks selected French teen Zaccharie Risacher as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft Wednesday night.

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ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks are looking for French teen Zaccharie Risacher to help revive the franchise after making the forward the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft Wednesday night.

The 19-year-old Risacher (pronounced Ree-zah-shay) impressed the Hawks as a catch-and-shoot scorer with ideal size for a wing player. Risacher — at 6-foot 9 and 215 pounds — will be expected to join guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray and forward Jalen Johnson as foundation players for a team which has not won a playoff series since advancing to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals.

In a year there was no consensus choice as the top player in the draft, the Hawks could have traded down for more selections. The No. 1 pick was their only selection in the the draft. Instead, general manager Landry Fields didn’t pass up the rare opportunity to take advantage of the top pick.

The Atlanta Hawks select Zaccharie Risacher (France) as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft at Barclays Center.

The Hawks passed on another French star, 7-footer Alex Sarr, who had been projected by many to be the top selection, following France’s Victor Wembanyama, who was last year’s No. 1 pick by San Antonio. Among other options for Atlanta at No. 1 were UConn’s Donovan Clingan, who could have been the team’s center of the future, and Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard.

The Hawks didn’t expect to be making the No. 1 pick before they were the surprise winner of the NBA draft lottery. Atlanta had only a 3% chance of landing the top pick.

Fields faced pressure to make good on the second No. 1 overall selection in franchise history. In 1975, the Hawks made David Thompson the No. 1 pick before Thompson opted to play for Denver in the ABA.

Fields said he fielded calls from executives interested in trading for the No. 1 pick. Fields acknowledged he had to consider offers because the Hawks had no other draft picks this year and few selections in the next few drafts.

The Hawks’ future drafts were weakened by their 2022 trade with San Antonio for Murray. Atlanta traded 2025 and 2027 first-round picks to the Spurs and also included a 2026 pick swap in the trade.

Fields also must decide if the Hawks, will continue to lean on their backcourt of Murray and Young for scoring leadership. The Hawks kept Murray at the trade deadline in February despite speculation he could be available in exchange for draft picks.

Other key offseason decisions may be looming for such veteran players as center Clint Capela, who is entering the final year of his contract, and forward De’Andre Hunter.