Atlanta Hawks Land Top Pick in French-Heavy 2024 NBA Draft

Atlanta Hawks Land Top Pick in French-Heavy 2024 NBA Draft

On Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks won the right to make the first pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, selecting from a crop of players seen to be the weakest in years. A year after the San Antonio Spurs grabbed eventual Rookie of the Year winner Victor Wembanyama, two other Frenchmen sit atop numerous big boards: wing Zaccharie Risacher and forward Alex Sarr.

Risacher, 19 years old, recently helped French side JL Bourg reach the 2024 EuroCup Finals. Sarr, also 19, averaged 20.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per 36 minutes of play in Australia’s National Basketball League. Two-time national champion Donovan Clingan also figures to be a top pick after dominating at the University of Connecticut. 

Winning the draft lottery is a first for the Atlanta Hawks.

 The uncertainty at the top follows the fact that this year’s group doesn’t include a surefire No. 1 prospect. Last month, NBA analyst Jeff Goodman reported that multiple NBA execs had told him that this year’s class was “the worst draft they have ever seen.”  In fact, Goodman later added, winning the lottery represents both a blessing and a curse this year, seeing as it comes with extra scrutiny and a preset salary 35% higher than the fifth overall selection. 

Given the lack of excitement around this year’s prospects, the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets all picked a bad year to have a bad year, finishing in that order atop the lottery odds coming into Sunday (the Hornets edged out the Portland Trail Blazers in a preceding tiebreaker drawing). Atlanta had a 3% of landing the No.1 pick, while the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs moved up to fill out the top four picks, following the Wizards at No. 2. 

Beginning in 2019, the NBA updated its draft lottery rules so that the three-worst finishers all have equal odds of picking first while the lowest-finisher overall is guaranteed a top-five choice. After the first four picks are determined via randomized drawing, the rest of the lottery order is filled in via inverse order of regular-season record. A representative from Ernst & Young oversees the entire process. Sunday’s was the 40th NBA Lottery since its inception in 1985.

Here’s the complete order of the NBA Draft:

1. Atlanta Hawks
2. Washington Wizards
3. Houston Rockets
4. San Antonio Spurs
5. Detroit Pistons
6. Charlotte Hornets
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. San Antonio Spurs
9. Memphis Grizzlies
10. Utah Jazz
11. Chicago Bulls
12. Oklahoma City Thunder
13. Sacramento Kings
14. Portland Trail Blazers
15. Miami Heat
16. Philadelphia 76ers
17. Los Angeles Lakers
18. Orlando Magic
19. Toronto Raptors
20. Cleveland Cavaliers
21. New Orleans Pelicans
22. Phoenix Suns
23. Milwaukee Bucks
24. New York Knicks
25. New York Knicks
26. Washington Wizards
27. Minnesota Timberwolves
28. Denver Nuggets
29. Utah Jazz
30. Boston Celtics

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