NBA Insider Says Teams Behind Atlanta Believe the Hawks will choose Zaccharie Risacher or Donovan Clingan No. 1

Who will the Atlanta Hawks take with the No. 1 Pick in Next Week's NBA Draft?
Potential No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher
Potential No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher / CBS Sports
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Five days until the Atlanta Hawks have to make a selection with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Who the Atlanta Hawks plan on taking has been subject to a lot of speculation, but it is increasingly looking like Atlanta might be down to two prospects.

Today, 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."

Things have seemingly been trending this way for the past couple of weeks. Risacher has been the player mocked to the Hawks in the latest mock drafts from ESPN and Bleacher Report, while Sam Vecenie at The Athletic mocked Clingan to the Hawks, the first major outlet to do so:

"The conversation around the Hawks has been fascinating to track. Despite Hawks’ general manager Landry Fields saying the team is comfortable selecting at No. 1, league sources continue to get the impression Atlanta is open to offers for the right deal.

One reason: Clingan is the name I have heard linked with the Hawks most often over this past week. He wouldn’t be the sexiest pick, but would fill a few objectives for Atlanta. Firstly, the organization has not yet shown any indication of rebuilding, so it might prefer to select a player who can fit with its roster sooner rather than later. Secondly, coach Quin Snyder had success in Utah building around an elite big man screener and rim protector in Rudy Gobert. Clingan, who impressed in a recent workout for Atlanta, would provide the Hawks a potentially dominant interior presence and high-character big locked up for the near term.

Clingan had a monster close to the season, helping lead Connecticut to a second straight national title while averaging 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks over his last 18 games, including 16 points, 9.4 rebounds and three blocks in his last seven. After returning from early-season ankle and foot injuries and getting back up to speed, he was one of the most dominant players in college basketball and was arguably the most imposing defender in the country through his sheer presence.

In my last mock draft in early June, I noted Clingan has been viewed as a potential option to go in the top three, and that remains the case. The Hawks might view Clingan more as a potential trade-down target and believe Risacher is a better potential option if they keep the No. 1 pick. The team has a workout with Risacher scheduled this week, which could result in a change of course in one direction or another. This selection process doesn’t seem like a done deal at this stage.

Atlanta might not even be able to move down all that far if it wants Clingan, as several teams picking below the top 3, including Memphis and Chicago, are interested in him and might try to trade up themselves."

Risacher worked out with the Hawks this week, while Clingan has already worked out for Atlanta.

On Monday, Hawks general manager Landry Fields said that as of then, they are planning to pick at No. 1, but it does seem that the Hawks are keeping their options open (as they should), and in Jonathan Givony's latest mock draft on ESPN, he dropped some interesting notes about some prospects the Hawks have brought in for workouts:

The Hawks have been unable to bring Alex Sarr in for a workout to this point, but the door remains open for that to potentially happen. Clingan appears to be Risacher's main rival at No. 1. His workout -- where he shot the ball extremely well, showed surprisingly good passing ability operating out of short rolls and was impressive both in film study and in interviews -- helped his draft standing and makes him as possible sleeper selection here, as we've discussed for several weeks.

The status of Atlanta's Trae Young is the big question hovering over the franchise. One option that has been widely discussed among teams is the possibility of the Hawks reacquiring their unprotected 2025 first-round pick from San Antonio (perhaps in a swap for the No. 4 pick), which would give the team far more flexibility for rebuilding. That would currently be difficult to fathom, with their next three draft picks (2025, 2026 swap rights and 2027) owned by the Spurs.

The Hawks worked out Reed Sheppard last week and Clingan before that, two attractive options at No. 4 should they elect to slide back. Atlanta also brought in Matas Buzelis, Cody Williams and Ron Holland for workouts."

It seems as though Atlanta is doing their due diligence just in case they decide to move back. The most popular tradeback has been them going to No. 4 and either getting the No. 8 pick or one of their future 1st round picks back. It seems unlikely (not impossible) that the Hawks would take any of those four players at No. 1 and it does indicate they are exploring this possibility.

As the draft gets closer, it does seem that the Hawks are going to stay at No. 1 and choose one of these two players. Keep in mind though to not rule anything out when it comes to this year's draft and something unexpected could always occur.

Buckle up for the next five days.

Jackson Caudell


Jackson Caudell covers the Atlanta Hawks and Georgia Tech Athletics for FanNation