Latest ESPN NBA Mock Draft Keeps Zaccharie Risacher As The No. 1 Pick, Suggests Alex Sarr Still in Play for Atlanta (2024)

Welcome to NBA Draft Week everyone, especially Atlanta Hawks fans.

Since winning the NBA Draft Lottery back in May, there has been a lot of speculation about what exactly the Atlanta Hawks are going to. Alex Sarr was the heavy favorite right after the lottery, then French forward Zaccharie Risacher took his turn as the favorite, then there was a lot of talk about UConn center Donovan Clingan going with the top pick. The one thing that has been a constant though has been the thought that the Hawks have not figured out what they are going to do. Some of that has to do with this being a down year for the NBA Draft in terms of talent and some of it has to do with the Hawks team as currently constructed. Atlanta was not expecting to win the Draft Lottery and with a team that has talent on it, it makes this more interesting than if the Wizards had won the lottery. Until the Hawks have picked, nobody might not know what Atlanta is going to do.

For the past few weeks though, ESPN's Jonathan Givony has been mocking Risacher to the Hawks and that did not change in his latest mock draft that was released this morning. Givony had more intel on the Hawks, including that they might not know exactly what they are doing yet, a trade down scenario, and the possibility that Alex Sarr is still the pick:

"The Hawks continue to signal that they have not yet determined their draft night direction, which makes sense considering the nature of this draft, how even the talent at the top is and trade opportunities that could unfold once they are on the clock.

They simultaneously have decisions to make with players already on their roster, especially Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, who seem destined to part ways in the not-too-distant future. The New Orleans Pelicans loom as a potential destination for one of them, with Brandon Ingram the most attractive and attainable target on the Pels' roster. Jalen Johnson appears to be the only player the Hawks will not consider moving.

Risacher, as he has for much of the pre-draft cycle, continues to hold firm as the choice at No. 1 following a positive workout with Atlanta. The feedback from those who have seen him in the United States is that he is a better passer and does a better job of initiating contact and playing through physicality than is expected with his lean frame.

Donovan Clingan, another favorite of the Hawks' coaching staff, remains in play at No. 1, but he might be a more realistic option if the Hawks trade down a few spots with the San Antonio Spurs, something that might not materialize until the Spurs are on the clock at No. 4.

The Hawks getting back their 2025 unprotected first-rounder from San Antonio would be a huge boon, but it isn't clear whether the Spurs would be willing to pay such a high price, while other great trade opportunities do not appear to have materialized thus far.

NBA teams say the Hawks are indicating they could take Alex Sarr at No. 1, which some speculate might be more an attempt to force the Washington Wizards to trade up."

There has been a lot of speculation about whether Sarr would prefer to play for Washington and the rumors seem to be pointing that way. If the Hawks think Sarr is just the best player that would help them though, they should take him. Givony is right in saying that it might be a ploy to get the Wizards to trade up, as it is no secret that they like Sarr. Givony mentioned they also brought in Risacher for a workout and he might be their pick if the Hawks take Sarr.

The possiblity of trading back is still being talked about, but the Spurs have been the only team that has been consistently mentioned as the destination at No. 4.

Last week, prominent NBA insider Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports had some reporting on what teams behind Atlanta think the Hawks will do on Wednesday night:

"Atlanta will listen at No. 1, but the Hawks appear intent on holding firm, sources said, while the front office finalizes which prospect to select at the top of a draft class that’s full of question marks. At this point, most team personnel picking in the slots behind Atlanta believe the Hawks will ultimately choose between French wing Zaccharie Risacher and UConn center Donovan Clingan."

Fischer also had this to say about the Hawks and Clint Capela:

"Atlanta, sources said, continues to pursue deals for veteran center Clint Capela, who’s entering the final year of a contract that still owes the 30-year-old rim protector $22 million."

I would still lean towards the Hawks selecting Risacher right now, but there is still plenty of uncertainity out there. The Hawks have a little more than 48 hours to make one of their most important decisions of the summer.

Latest ESPN NBA Mock Draft Keeps Zaccharie Risacher As The No. 1 Pick, Suggests Alex Sarr Still in Play for Atlanta (2024)
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