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Who’s No. 1 in NBA Draft? Top Projected Pick Not Best Fit for Hawks

This year’s NBA Draft class has already been heavily scrutinized. Unlike 2023, which featured a generational talent in Victor Wembanyama, or in 2025, where Cooper Flagg is projected to be the unanimous No. 1 overall pick, there is no clear front-runner in 2024. However, NBA odds are leaning toward two candidates for the Atlanta Hawks, who luckily fell into the first overall pick.

It is always good for the franchise when it wins the draft lottery. On lottery night, the Hawks had only a 3% chance of winning the first overall pick, the 10th-best odds. It is a potentially franchise-changing move for a team that needs one.

Who’s No. 1 in NBA Draft? Top Projected Pick Not Best Fit for Hawks
Atlanta Hawks wins the NBA draft lottery/Jacek Boczarski / Anadolu

The backcourt duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray has become expensive and has yet to lead to the success the Hawks have been expecting. In the duo’s first season (2022-23), the Hawks went 41-41, earning the eighth seed before being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Last season, Young missed a lot of time due to an injury and the Hawks went 36-46, missing the playoffs.

While no franchise-changing player is at the top of this draft, this Atlanta roster may not need one. Young and Murray each averaged over 22 points on more than 18 shots per game last season, which would make it hard for a young star to break into.

Getting a franchise-changing player with the first overall pick is any team’s dream, but the Hawks need a good role player to make an impact, which could be perfect in this draft class.

However, that is why there are so many rumors of the Hawks trading back in this year’s NBA Draft. If they do not trade their pick, two players are favored to go first overall. Remember that this draft has no clear-cut No. 1 pick, and any rumor could change what happens on June 26.

 

Alexandre Sarr Favorite to Go No. 1 Overall

Alexandre Sarr is the clear favorite to go first overall to the Hawks, with his betting line set at -200 to be the top pick. This would be the second straight draft in which a prospect from France is selected first overall, following Wembanyama being taken by the San Antonio Spurs last year.

 

 


Like Wembanyama, Sarr is an intriguing big man. He is listed at just under 7 feet tall, with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, which should be more than enough to make Sarr an immediate shot-blocking presence around the rim. He also shares the same potential physical issues as Wembanyama, weighing just 224 pounds, but Sarr will grow into his body over time.

Defense seems to be where Sarr will have the most success, possibly more as a roaming shot blocker. He played for the Perth Wildcats in the National Basketball League (NBL) of Australia and New Zealand, averaging 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 17.2 minutes.

Sarr’s offensive game does need some growth, shooting 52% on 7.1 attempts, and he will be better suited to play more in the paint, catching lobs from Young and Murray. However, he did experiment with a 3-point shot last season, taking two per game but only making 29.8% of them.

Sarr could be a complicated fit for the Hawks. They already have big men Clint Capela, whose contract does end after this season, and Onyeka Okongwu on the roster. Both are rim protectors who offer little to no outside offensive threat, with most of their scoring opportunities coming from lobs.

Not long ago, John Collins was on the Hawks before his trade to Utah. He was another big that could not space the floor and mainly got most of his shots at the rim or the occasional corner 3-pointer. Drafting Sarr has the potential to recreate all the same issues that led to Collins being traded to Utah in 2023.

 

Zaccharie Risacher Could Be Better Fit for Hawks

The next player with the following best odds to be taken first overall is Zaccharie Risacher, another Frenchman, but a much different player than Sarr and Wembanyama. Risacher’s odds of going first overall to the Hawks are +150. This is a surprise because he is a better fit for the Hawks than Sarr.

If Capela or Okongwu are with the Hawks next season, Sarr will have trouble finding minutes immediately. On the other hand, Risacher can come in and immediately be an impact player. The weakest position for the Hawks over recent seasons has been on the wings.

They have tried to fix it with so many different players. Bogdan Bogdanović is too small, De’Andre Hunter is inconsistent, AJ Griffin hasn’t stepped up yet and Saddiq Bey is a restricted free agent. Jalen Johnson is the only one who has worked, having a breakout season in 2023-24 before getting hurt.

 


That is a lot of assets invested into one position group, but none of them have worked and maybe Risacher can rectify that. In 49 games last season for JL Bourg of the LNB Pro A basketball league in France, he averaged 11.1 points per game, shooting 38.7% from three.

His size, at 6 feet, 8 inches should help Risacher be a capable defender and rebounder, but again, his most significant threat is as a shooter, with the upside of being a solid overall player. The Hawks need two consistent 3-and-D players, and Risacher has the potential to fill in one of those slots.

 

Honorable Mention: Clingan Unlikely Choice

This will be quick. The honorable mention is center Donovan Clingan, the back-to-back national champion with UConn. His odds are set at +400, with no other player being close to being selected first overall, so he must be mentioned.

However, the 7-2 Clingan lacks the 3-point shot of Sarr and is older. The big thing going for Clingan is that he is a proven winner and an elite paint defender, but unless the Hawks’ center position goes through a massive change soon, it does not make sense to select him.

 

Best Bet for No. 1 Overall Pick

While Sarr is the favorite, the best option for NBA picks is Risacher. He offers a lot more for the Hawks now, a team that needs consistency from its wing position. Risacher seems like a player who has the size to be a solid defensive player and already has the shooting stroke. There is also much more betting value with Risacher.

 

 

Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.

 

Questions Of The Day

Will the Hawks trade the first overall pick?


Currently, the line is set at +300 for the Hawks to trade the first overall pick. Despite trading the pick making sense, they will likely keep it.

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