Alexandre Sarr Emerges As Heavy 1st Overall Favorite For 2024 NBA Draft


Updated on

The 2024 NBA Draft appears extremely weak at the top, especially compared to last year’s Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. However, stars are found in every draft, and this iteration could be no different.

The Atlanta Hawks are on the clock for the June 26-27 NBA Draft, as they won the lottery despite have only a 3% chance. 

NBA Draft first overall pick odds and analysis

The following public NBA betting information and odds are from DraftKings this week. Implied probability refers to the likelihood of a betting outcome based on the odds. For example, by setting Alexandre Sarr at odds of -220, DraftKings is essentially giving him a 68.7% chance of being the first overall pick.

Odds (May 20)Implied ProbabilityTicket% (May 20)Handle% (May 20)
Alexandre Sarr, Australia-22068.7%38%65%
Donovan Clingan, UConn+12007.6%18%12%
Ron Holland, G League+40002.4%7%6%
Nikola Topic, Serbia+20004.7%4%4%
Stephon Castle, UConn+50001.9%10%4%
Matas Buzelis, G League+25003.8%4%2%
Zaccharie Risacher, France+22031.2%6%2%
Reed Sheppard, Kentucky+20004.7%6%2%
Rob Dillingham, Kentucky+30003.2%3%1%
Cody Williams, Coloardo+100000.9%1%0.3%
Per DraftKings

With 65% of the handle on Sarr at DraftKings, the public also sees him going No. 1 as inevitable. Plus, per BetMGM this week, Sarr has a whopping 81.4% of the handle.

On the other hand, Zaccharie Risacher of France has only 2% of the handle at DraftKings despite possessing a 31.2% implied probability. It appears that online sportsbooks are much higher on Risacher’s first overall pick chances than the general public.

It’s murky outside of those two. Donovan Clingan of UConn has the third-largest implied probability at 7.6%, and he’s the only prospect besides Sarr with at least 10% of the handle.

UConn’s March Madness run could be persuading the public, as teammates Clingan and Stephon Castle are second and third, respectively, in ticket percentage at DraftKings.

Top contenders for first overall pick

The Atlanta Hawks did not have much chance of getting the first pick in the NBA lottery betting odds, so forgive them if they weren’t prepared. Plus, management roster could go any number of ways going into next season.

Which prospects could be first off the board in the 2024 NBA Draft? Here are the two favorites, according to the odds. For additional betting information, you can also check out our basketball betting guide.

Alexandre Sarr, Perth (Australia) Wildcats

The 7-foot-1 center showed immense defensive promise this season in the Australian National Basketball League. Alexandre Sarr anticipates rotations from the weak side at a high level and utilizes his 7-foot-4 wingspan to shut down rim attempts. He is also extremely quick and mobile, thus allowing him to comfortably operate near the arc and defend high ball screens.

Given the NBA’s perimeter-oriented nature and the rise of stretch fives, Sarr projects to be a valuable defensive chess piece. 

On the other end, his speed makes him a devastating weapon in transition and on cuts. Sarr has decent touch around the rim, too, and his catch-and-shoot form inspires hope that he will be able to knock down triples at a respectable rate. 

However, Sarr’s offensive game is still raw, especially regarding self-creation and playmaking. It’s possible that he will never expand beyond being solely a play-finisher, which limits his ceiling. Plus, rebounding may be an issue against physical NBA centers, although this could resolve once he adds more muscle to his slender frame. 

Team fit also may help his chances of being the top pick. If Atlanta keeps Trae Young, Sarr would be an excellent lob partner. The Hawks ranked 27th in defensive rating this season, and Clint Capela is aging and has one more year left on his contract. Therefore, it could be a logical move to snag Sarr’s defensive chops and hope that the offense develops. 

Overall, he’s favored over the field to be the first pick due to his potentially massive defensive impact, athleticism, and team fit. 

Zaccharie Risacher, JL Bourg (France)

However, Atlanta may ride with Capela and Onyeka Okongwu at center for another year and instead target a long-term wing partner next to Jalen Johnson. If that’s the case, then Risacher could be the Hawks’ top prospect. In fact, Tankathon has the Frenchman going to Atlanta.

Risacher boasts desirable size on the wing due to his 6-foot-9 frame. He’s a solid outside shooter with untapped off-the-dribble scoring potential. A tighter handle and improved footwork could unlock a reliable scoring kit at the NBA level. However, Risacher is somewhat limited to spot-up shooting and cuts until that develops. 

Defensively, he sticks to ball handlers and performs closeouts well. The 19-year-old also understands rotations and passing lanes, thus giving him defensive versatility. Factor in his length, and Risacher will likely be a switchable, disruptive defender on the wing. 

Playmaking may be his swing skill. He lacks the court vision and processing speed to consistently orchestrate advanced reads; however, there were a few intriguing flashes this season. 

Risacher owns a translatable all-around skill set, so he has real potential as a crucial connective piece. Although his overall ceiling is unimpressive compared to past first-overall picks, Risacher could still provide plenty of value in a complementary role.

Photo by Associated Press