Hawks projected draft pick compared to Khris Middleton “with more defense”

BASKETBALL: APR 28 French National Basketball League Bourg en Bresse at Paris Basket

The Hawks are armed with the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since 1975, winning the NBA draft lottery for the first time in franchise history.

There’s not a consensus top prospect like Victor Wembanyama was last offseason, but there are stars in every single draft cycle; it’s up to Landry Fields, Kyle Korver, and Atlanta’s front office to sift through the draft class to find the gem.

A lot smarter people than me have effectively narrowed it down to one of a few prospects, one being a French wing in Zaccharie Rsiacher, who Jeremy Woo of ESPN compared to Khris Middleton “with more defense” on the high end and Trey Murphy on the low end.

Risacher brings a lot to the court as an athletic, 3-and-D wing with room to expand his game on both ends. While not likely to become a No. 1 option on offense, as he gets more comfortable playing off multiple dribbles and develops as a shooter, it’s easy to see him becoming a viable wing scorer a la Middleton, who has had an outstanding run in Milwaukee, including a title in 2021.

Assuming Trae Young is still in the fold, drafting a wing like Risacher makes a lot of sense. Atlanta doesn’t need a primary scorer, just a versatile secondary scorer.

Risacher’s season ended in the semifinals of the French League where the 19-year-old averaged over 15 points and 7 rebounds per game on shooting 67% from the field and 38% from deep. He’s a long, versatile wing who projects to be able to defend multiple positions and get his own shot. All of those things should appeal to a Hawks team that needs to get longer, tougher and better on the perimeter.

Risacher should also offer more defensively, where he has plus-lateral agility and should be switchable. There’s a high level of two-way upside here if one can get past the limited shot-creation ability. Floor-wise, provided Risacher continues to improve as a shooter, you can envision him functioning like Murphy currently does for New Orleans: bringing excellent size and athleticism coupled with quality floor-spacing and defense, but without creating a ton of offense for himself or taking many dribbles.

The floor of Trey Murphy isn’t ideal for a top pick, but the Hawks would love to add a guy like Trey Murphy, so it’s kind of funny.

The Hawks have to balance a prospect with a high enough floor to have an immediate impact to keep Trae Young happy, but a high enough ceiling to warrant making him the top overall pick. It’s a delicate balance and one I’m glad I don’t have to control.

Photographer: Glenn Gervot/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: