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Hawks select Frenchman Zacharie Risacher first overall in NBA draft

NEW YORK — The Atlanta Hawks have selected French forward Zaccharie Risacher with the first overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Risacher became the second consecutive international prospect – and fourth overall – to be taken with the first pick in the draft. He succeeds his compatriot Victor Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs’ number one pick in last year’s draft.

Italian big man Andrea Bargnani was selected first overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2006, while the Houston Rockets selected Hall of Fame center Yao Ming with the first pick in 2002.

Risacher, 19, played last season for JL Bourg in the French LNB Elite league and averaged 11.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in all competitions in the EuroCup and French championship. He is the son of longtime French professional basketball player Stéphane Risacher, who won a silver medal with the French team at the 2000 Olympic Games.

The 6-foot-9 forward has been parting ways throughout the draft process, with Atlanta – which moved from 11th place to the top spot in the NBA draft lottery last month for the first time in the history of the franchise. Now, Risacher will step into the frontcourt alongside forward Jalen Johnson with the Hawks, who enter the offseason with many questions regarding the future of their star-laden backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

Fellow forward Alex Sarr, also 19, was named No. 2 to the Washington Wizards, while Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard joined the Houston Rockets at No. 3.

During his introductory speech, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver congratulated the Boston Celtics on winning the 2024 NBA title – drawing boos from the thousands of fans gathered here – and highlighted how The Celtics built their team by selecting Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum third in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

Silver’s comments came with an ironic twist, as the draft was being held here at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the Nets call home — the team that sent the Celtics the picks that became Brown and Tatum as part of the trade that brought Paul Pierce. and Kevin Garnett here in 2013.

Unlike last year’s draft, with Wembanyama the obvious selection throughout, the process has been much more confusing this year, with Risacher, Sarr, Sheppard and Connecticut center Donovan Clingan all discussed as possible options before Atlanta lands on Risacher with the selection.

After the Hawks took Risacher, Washington then selected Sarr, a versatile 7-foot forward who drew some comparisons to longtime NBA star Al Horford, with the second pick, as was widely expected , setting the stage for the first real dramatic moment when the Rockets ran the clock with the third overall selection.

Houston, which had that pick because it acquired it from the Nets in the 2021 James Harden trade, then took Sheppard, the Kentucky sharpshooter who made 52 percent of his 3s with the Wildcats, with the third overall selection, adding to a burgeoning draft pick. a young Rockets talent base that includes guard Amen Thompson, forward Jabari Smith Jr. and center Alperen Sengun.

News Source : www.espn.com
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