Breaking the Mold: The Unique Case of Zaccharie Risacher as the Top Pick in the 2024 NBA Draft

Breaking the Mold: The Unique Case of Zaccharie Risacher as the Top Pick in the 2024 NBA Draft

Although for months he saw Alex Sarr as the main favorite to stay with the primer pick of the 2024 NBA Draft, the days leading up to the event changed the panorama: now, another Frenchman like Zaccharie Risacher He appears as the top candidate to be chosen by the Atlanta Hawks with that first selection.

The truth is Risacher is nothing like the other top picks in draft history. and his selection by Atlanta would be truly unique. In what sense? We analyze it below.

What is sought with a first pick in the NBA Draft?

What is usually looked for in a first pick of the Draft is a differential talent. A player who has a virtue that stands out simply by sight and that places him clearly above the league average in that area.

Spectacular athletes. Dominant defenders. Lethal shooters. Talented creators. Surgical pins. And in the best of cases, young people who combine many of those aspects.

More | The 2024 NBA Draft Guide

Even the players who ended up being considered busts Within those first selections they had, in theory, a virtue that was very easy to highlight. Markelle Fultz was a annotator base, who missed the mark once he got to the NBA; Greg Oden was a fearsome defender, which did not work simply because of the injury factor; Andrea Bargnani, a giant with an excellent distance shotin an era of the league where that combination was much less common.

Names like Michael Olowokandi or Kwame Brown had the clear distinction of Height and potential as defensive interiors, at a time in the competition where that type of player was much more valued than today. Even Anthony Bennett, possibly the worst first pick in modern NBA history, had averaged 16.1 points in 27.1 minutes in his only NCAA year, with 38% in triples and enormous physical power. The arguments in his favor were there.

A different first draft pick

So why is Risacher different? Because The Frenchman completely breaks with that logic of differential talent and at least so far in his career, he looks more like a solid player in all areas, but without a virtue that really projects him as a NBA superstar.

The current JL Bourg player is a tall forward -2.08 meters- but without other physical or athletic virtues: he has small arms and hands, he lacks physical power -below 90 kilos- and he recorded the second lowest jump among all outsiders in the Draftduring the Combine athletic tests – just Cam Spencer, the definition of a non-athletejumped lower than Risacher.

Of course, other players without a great athletic or physical profile have been selected at the top of the Draft. But Risacher’s problem is that he doesn’t look like a particularly creative player on the ball either.

In his team it was fourth or even fifth attack option and his role was basically limited to that of a shooter and finisher via cuts or in transition. Two functions that, although performed at a very good level, are still much more linked to a role player than a superstar.

And while it is true that unlike their NCAA counterparts, Risacher was already competing against professional playerswho could be 10 or even 15 years older than him, other top selections from FIBA ​​basketball, such as Luka Doncic, Victor Wembanyama or LaMelo Ball, were already great protagonists of their respective teams when making the jump to the NBA.

The statistics of usage percentage It is very useful to graph this situation. It reflects the percentage of his team’s possessions that a player defines – with a shot, turnover or foul won – while he is on the field. This is how Risacher compares himself to the first eight perimeter picks elected in the last 20 years.

JugadorEquipo% de usoMarkelle FultzWashington (NCAA)31.4%Anthony EdwardsGeorgia (NCAA)30.4%Cade CunninghamOklahoma St. (NCAA)29.1%Kyrie IrvingDuke (NCAA)26.4%Ben SimmonsLSU (NCAA)26.4%Andrew WigginsKansas (NCAA)26.3%Derrick RoseMemphis (NCAA)26.0%John WallKentucky (NCAA)25.7%Zaccharie RisacherJL Bourg (Francia)22.4%

As can be seen, Risacher is not even close to the values ​​of the rest of the perimeter players, who aren all cases consumed more than a quarter (25%) of their teams’ possessions. Again, 22% of French is much more associated with a role player than a star.

Just for reference, in the 2023-2024 NBA season, the three perimeter guards who added the most minutes with 22% usage were Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kelly Oubre y Tim Hardaway Jr. In each case, far from being the first options of their respective teams.

Risacher is a good shooter – 39% in almost 6 attempts every 36 minutes -, he is very tall for the position and has interesting defensive versatility. But there are reasons why he had a very limited role with JL Bourg and why he rarely played with the ball: his handling is passable in the open field, but really insecure in confined spaces; He doesn’t have the best shot off the dribble nor is he particularly powerful at scoring between interiors; while his decision making and passing ability leave a lot to be desired.

In fact, among all the perimeter players who have options to be drafted, the 1.4 assists every 36 minutes of Risacher are located as the third worst brandbehind a mere defensive specialist like Ryan Dunn and another French outside like Melvin Ajinca, both projected as second-round picks.

Zaccharie Risacher, is it a safe pick?

Why then is Risacher emerging as the top candidate for number one in the Draft? The simplest answer is for the total lack of guarantees that offers the rest of the projects. There’s no doubt that in virtually any other year, the Frenchman would have a handful of players above him in consideration. But the class of 2024 simply doesn’t have that kind of talent, and those that did seem to have it had a disappointing season or that generated new doubts and questions.

In the long run, Risacher is still a pick safe. In the worst case, his combination of good defensive level, outside shooting and height should put him as a 3&D above average. And in the best case scenario, it will bring out some facets of his game that are still hidden.

Ultimately, the doubts with the born in Malaga, Spainare focused on whether or not he will be a star, while in other projects they focus directly on whether they can have long lasting careers in the NBA, by presenting strong questions in fundamental aspects such as height, athletic ability or outside shooting.

In that sense, it can be said that Risacher is a bet with a low ceiling, but a high floor. And in a draft like 2024, there is value in the guarantee. Even though they look very different from those usually presented by those chosen with a first pick.

2024-06-25 13:38:00
#Zaccharie #Risacher #pick #NBA #Draft


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