NBA Draft

French players selected with 1st, 2nd picks in NBA draft


This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

French players selected with 1st, 2nd picks in NBA draft

TOP CHOICE. Zaccharie Risacher (right) poses for photos with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected first overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

French teen Zaccharie Risacher, a 6-foot-9 known for his excellent three-point shooting and elite defense, goes to the Atlanta Hawks as the No. 1 pick

The French revolution in the NBA continued on Wednesday, June 26, when Zaccharie Risacher was selected first overall by the Atlanta Hawks and fellow Frenchman Alex Sarr was picked second by the Washington Wizards.

It marked the second consecutive year that a player from France was taken first after the San Antonio Spurs chose Victor Wembanyama, who went on to win Rookie of the Year honors, last year.

Another Frenchman, Tidjane Salaun, was taken sixth by the Charlotte Hornets this year.

Risacher, 19, was named the French league’s best young player as a member of JL Bourg-en-Bresse last season and is an excellent three-point shooter and elite defender with room to grow his game.

“It’s a blessing, it’s so exciting,” Risacher said.

“There are a lot of feelings and emotions right now. I don’t know what to say.”

In 32 games last season, Risacher averaged 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.9 assists for JL Bourg. The 6-foot-9 weighed at 195 pounds at the Draft Combine back in May.

Risacher joins a Hawks team that missed the playoffs after finishing 36-46 last season.

According to Spotrac, Risacher will sign a four-year, $57.2 million contract with the Hawks.

Atlanta does not own another pick in this year’s draft, which has been split into two days. The first round was held on Wednesday at Barclays Center in New York. ESPN’s Seaport District Studios – also in New York – will host the second round on Thursday.

Sarr, 19, joins the Wizards from the Perth Wildcats in the Australian league and he has also played in the US and Europe.

A versatile big man who can protect the rim and shoot three-pointers, Sarr will look to provide a spark for a rebuilding Wizards team following a woeful 15-67 campaign.

“Everywhere I played built me for this moment,” Sarr said.

Sarr has leaned on his brother, Oklahoma City Thunder center Olivier Sarr, for guidance as he prepares to play the next level.

“He’s shared a lot with me,” Alexandre Sarr told ESPN. 

“Everything I’ve learned is through him and he gave me all his knowledge, and to this day it’s really special to have someone like him in my corner.”

Reed Sheppard was chosen third by the Houston Rockets, Stephon Castle was taken fourth by the Spurs, and Ron Holland was taken by the Detroit Pistons to round out the top five selections.

France has produced more NBA players than any other country outside of North America, including four-time champion Tony Parker, four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum, and Boris Diaw.

The big night for France at the draft comes with a month to go before the start of the Olympic Games in Paris.

The US beat France to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Games three years ago and France, led my Wembanyama, will be out for revenge on home soil this summer.

Other picks

After another Frenchman, Tidjane Salaun, was taken by the Charlotte Hornets at No. 6, the Portland Trail Blazers grabbed big man Donovan Clingan. Clingan was a two-time champion with the Huskies in his only two seasons of college basketball.

San Antonio then had the eighth overall pick, and it opted to go with guard Rob Dillingham out of Kentucky. Dillingham is reportedly being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Purdue center Zach Edey, a two-time National Player of the Year, landed with the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 9. Edey averaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks last season.

Another Thunder player will be playing alongside his brother in the NBA, as the Utah Jazz selected Colorado’s Cody Williams with the 10th overall pick. Williams is the brother of Oklahoma City guard/forward Jalen Williams.

Matas Buzelis, a native of Chicago, will be staying in his hometown after the Bulls took him at No. 11 from the G League Ignite. 

Serbian Nikola Topic then went to Oklahoma City, Providence’s Devin Carter went to the Sacramento Kings and Pitt’s Bub Carrington was selected by Portland but will be heading to the Washington Wizards.

The Blazers traded the 14th overall pick earlier Wednesday as part of a package to acquire Deni Avdija from the Wizards.

Carter is the son of 13-year NBA veteran Anthony Carter.

“I caught him at the end of his career, so I had to watch highlights and stuff,” Devin Carter told ESPN. “I respect … how hard he worked, he always got on the court for how hard he played defense, the way he led the second unit.” –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!