NBA GM on ‘awful’ 2024 draft: ‘This is the type of draft that gets someone fired if they get the No. 1 pick’

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Having the first pick in the NBA draft is universally considered a franchise-changing moment (in a good way), but according to one general manager, this year’s draft is so bad that having the No. 1 selection could get someone fired.

That observation on the quality of the 2024 NBA Draft is especially stark when one compares it to last year’s draft, when generational phenom Victor Wembanyama was available to the San Antonio Spurs with the top selection.

This year, the top pick may be another player from France but someone who is not nearly as talented or likely to be as impactful as Wembanyama was as a rookie.

According to the latest mock draft released by ESPN this week, Zaccharie Risacher, a 19-year-old wing who plays in France’s top division, will be the No. 1 overall pick. He is followed by Alex Sarr, a big man playing in Australia at No. 2 overall and University of Connecticut star center Donovan Clingan at No. 3.

The team that gets the No. 1 pick will be determined in the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery to be held May 12. The Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards – the teams that had the two worst records during the 2023-24 regular season – have equal chances at winning that No. 1 overall pick (14 percent).

The Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets tied for the third-worst record, a position that also has a 14 percent chance at the top selection. A random drawing before the lottery will break the tie between the Blazers and Hornets.

Risacher reportedly offers a strong combination of perimeter shooting and defensive versatility.

“Risacher is No. 1 for me,” an NBA scout told HoopsHype. “I like his shot-making potential, his size, he can guard one through three in the league right now, and I like his feel with the ball.”

But however talented Risacher or others in this class may be, the anticipation for the top pick in this draft likely will never rival what surrounded Wembanyama during this process last year. San Antonio won the No. 1 overall pick last May after entering with equal odds to the Pistons and Houston Rockets.

The heralded young player certainly lived up to the hype and is considered a runaway choice for Rookie of the Year. It did not help the Spurs’ record, however, and they will enter this year’s lottery with the fifth-worst record and a 10.5 percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick again.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.