2024 NBA Draft: Atlanta Hawks’ Top Pick Faces Late-Stage Drama

2024 NBA Draft: Atlanta Hawks' Top Pick Faces Late-Stage Drama
Image Credit: 2024 NBA Draft

As we approach the NBA Draft, the tension is mounting, and new contenders are emerging in the race for the coveted No. 1 pick. The Atlanta Hawks’ decision, which seemed to be a showdown between Alex Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher, has taken an unexpected turn, with Donovan Clingan now making a strong case for himself.

Clingan, a towering 7-footer, has impressed the Hawks with a solid workout, positioning himself as a serious competitor against Risacher, who remains the favourite. Sarr, on the other hand, has yet to undergo a private evaluation with the franchise. While Risacher leads the race, this decision is far from settled.

Adding to the intrigue, the Hawks might consider trading down to acquire additional assets, making the draft night even more unpredictable.

Currently, three players are the frontrunners for the top spot, with their likelihood of being chosen listed below according to NBA Draft Kings odds:

  1. Zaccharie Risacher
    • Odds: +150
    • Case: Risacher’s 35.2% shooting from three-point range and top percentile ratings in transition and catch-and-shoot scenarios make him a compelling pick. Despite being a developmental prospect, his blend of size, defensive versatility, and an improving jumper has caught Atlanta’s attention. The Hawks have thoroughly scouted him, and his strong finish with JL Bourg bolsters his case as the safest bet in a draft full of uncertainties.
  2. Donovan Clingan
    • Odds: +500
    • Case: Clingan is arguably the best big man in the draft, noted for his exceptional block rate and defensive prowess. His dominant sophomore season with the title-winning Huskies showcased his ability to shut down offences and protect the rim. Clingan’s potential to develop offensively adds to his high floor as a future defensive anchor. If he isn’t picked first, he might drop out of the top three, with Washington and Houston likely to go for other top prospects.
  3. Alex Sarr
    • Odds: -130
    • Case: Sarr combines an impressive frame, agility, and perimeter skills, making him a high-risk, high-reward prospect. Despite being the betting favourite, his position is the most volatile. He’s yet to work out for Atlanta, and rumours suggest Washington has a keen interest in both Sarr and Risacher. Unless things change, Sarr is expected to be projected at No. 2 to Washington.

The final week leading up to the draft promises more twists and turns, as teams continue their evaluations and strategies in this high-stakes game.


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