In 2023, expectations and awe surrounding the mystery and magic of French prospect Victor Wembanyama reached deafening levels before he was eventually selected No. 1 overall by the San Antonio Spurs. That.
Now, in 2024, another Frenchman could again hear his name called first on draft night.
France has not one but two realistic candidates to go No. 1 overall later this summer — including Zacharie Risacher — who is the new No. 1 in the latest CBS Sports NBA Draft prospect rankings. Risacher had a lackluster summer but has been highly productive this season playing for JL Bourg with a jaw-dropping combination of size and fluidity that packages him like a wing in a forward’s body. He continues to polish his tools and has shown flashes of stardom that may help him to be a high lottery pick this summer.
As for Risacher’s primary competition atop the draft, right now it may be another French sensation in Alex Sarr. Sarr, up to No. 2 in our latest Big Board, is one of a handful of potential No. 1 pick contenders, and evaluators seem enamored with his growth this season. At 7-foot-1 he brings the movement and agility of a wing with the length and court coverage of
Ed Reed a center. Neither Risacher nor Sarr are on Wembanyama’s level as a prospect overall — and on the whole, this class is seen as one of the weakest in the last few years — but both are nonetheless big prizes with big boom potential who could be difference-makers if things go right.
So that’s where we’ll start with our updated NBA Draft rankings, which can be found here. We have also spotlighted some of our biggest risers and fallers since our last update in the space below.
Rising: Zaccharie Risacher, France
Current rank: 1 | Previous rank: 14
I’m of the belief that in picking at the top of the draft, teams should do their best to swing for the fences and bet on the biggest upside. Right now, Risacher appears to be one of the leading candidates in that mold. At 6-10 and still just 18 years old, he has had a great season with JL Bourg, continuing on an upward trajectory after a lackluster summer.
Risacher’s offense has room to grow (in other words: he’s not a polished prospect on that end and is still somewhat limited) but he has been good in what he’s been asked to do this season for Bourg. That has primarily been as a spot-up shooter and downhill attacker. He also generates offense as a cutter off the ball, and does a great job of reading defenses and finding slivers of space to sneak into. The flashes he has shown with the ball in his hands as a creator have been promising as well.
Defensively he fits the mold of what you want from a multipositional defender in the modern NBA. He has a long frame and he’s eager as a defender with capability to stretch himself from on the perimeter to stay in front of guards to down in the paint with bigger forwards.
Gaining more strength will be key to Risacher’s continued development, as he sometimes struggles to fight through screens on defense and is prone to getting pushed around at times, but his fight and willingness on defense coupled with his frame are foundational strengths to his game that he could build upon to be a valuable asset in the NBA.
Current rank: NR | Previous rank: 7
Proctor just missed our updated top 30 after struggling to start the season but he has largely been solid since returning from injury a few weeks ago. The idea of Proctor making a sophomore leap and developing into an All-American was in hindsight wish-casting on our part for a player who was the youngest in the sport a season ago, but there’s still a valuable NBA player here even if he hasn’t quite matured into the lottery talent many hoped. At 6-5 he can be a good creator with a long frame and promising defensive chops on the perimeter. Developing more confidence in his shot and doing it with more consistency could go a long way toward helping him up draft boards this summer.
Current rank: 9 | Previous rank: NR
On a Kentucky team that’s been ranked inside the top 10 most of the season, Sheppard has been the most efficient two-way player despite the lack of recruiting accolades he accumulated as a high school prospect. Sheppard, a freshman guard, leads UK in EvanMiya.com’s on-court defensive metrics and leads UK in adjusted team efficiency on offense when on the floor. He’s a controlled bundle of chaos who consistently shows touch as a shooter not just from beyond the arc, but also in the mid-range and on floaters. His catch-and-shoot efficiency ranks in the 99th percentile on the season, according to Synergy data, and he has shown improvement as a creator in getting to spots on the floor as well. On defense he is already an advanced defender who reads the game well and has a nose for the ball.
Current rank: 8 | Previous rank: 3
Collier has not played for USC in over a month due to a hand injury and USC has gone 1-5 in his absence. Still, the Trojans weren’t exactly setting the world on fire when he was on the court, and his current injury has paved the way for other players to bypass him for the time being in a pretty wide-open lottery. Collier still has the juice and explosiveness you want from a playmaking guard but he tended to be turnover prone when playing and his defense remains a work in progress. It’s hard to see a world where he falls out of the lottery whether he plays again this season or not, but I’m taking a more measured approach right now in ranking him in the middle of the lottery until we get more data points.
Current rank: 3 | Previous rank: 17
The younger brother of OKC star Jalen Williams, Cody Williams, is a gifted guard who has the size, skill, and smooth-as-butter game to match his older brother – and the prospects to be a top-five pick in 2024. The younger Williams is learning on the job as a playmaker this season but he’s advanced beyond his years already as a defensive prospect, and he has the complementary offensive skill set as a 3-point weapon and downhill driver you want from a potential star guard in the NBA. He isn’t the most explosive 0-60 guard with the ball in his hands but he’s a long strider who can get anywhere he wants on the floor and has an advanced understanding of the game as far as angles, leverage and reading defenses.
Falling: Ron Holland, G League Ignite
Current rank: 7 | Previous rank: 2
Holland has come on strong of late playing for G League Ignite and shown developmental flashes as a scorer and active defender. That’s a positive sign for anyone but especially for Holland, who left high school as mostly a developmental prospect in terms of scoring – with excitement centered primarily around his frame and athleticism. We bumped him down to No. 7 in our latest rankings but there’s still a world where goes top-three in this class, and the fact that he’s here is more proof more that the top 10 is wide open than Holland has necessarily “fallen.” The defensive ability and incredible bursts of athleticism are exciting tools to build on and it feels like he’s just learning what he can become on offense. A team will need to be patient in developing his game but the payoff could be significant.
Top 10 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings
Check out Kyle Boone’s entire Big Board of 2024 NBA Draft prospects