NBA Rumors: Surprise Hawks intel threatens to shake up the draft board

Trae Young
Trae Young / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

All eyes are on the Atlanta Hawks, who have the number one pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, which makes the latest draft intel all the more surprising. Potential number one overall pick Alexandre Sarr has thus far declined to work out for the Hawks, amid rumors that they are considering selecting two other players first overall. The fact that he has declined to workout with their team suggests that he might be taking himself out of the running to be picked first or that he doesn't want to play in Atlanta.

With him arguably having the highest ceiling of any player in this draft, either wouldn't be good for the Hawks but it may make their decision easier. They have generally been expected to pick Zaccharie Richasher first but center Donovan Clingan appears to be the dark horse.

If it's a two-man race, it dramatically increases the chance that the Hawks take a gamble and pick Clingan first. That would send shockwaves down the draft board, with Sarr likely going second to the Washington Wizards, Reed Sheppard possibly going to the Houston Rockets third and Richasher potentially being selected fourth overall by the San Antonio Spurs.

Surprise Hawks intel threatens to shake up the NBA draft board.

It would be one thing if Sarr was as high-profile of a prospect as Victor Wembanyama. That being said, he is still a talented player and someone who most teams would probably gamble on given his potential to be a two-way star. Then again, the Hawks are in an odd position.

Unlike most teams that pick first, they aren't terrible and with a few tweaks here and there, they might actually make the playoffs next season. Therefore, they may want a player who is ready to step in and immediately contribute.

That may be shortsighted if Rishasher or Sarr pop but Clingan at least projects to be a very good starting center for a decade and that is far from nothing. Ultimately, Sarr declining to work out for the Hawks is surprising, to say the least. However, it may make the Hawks' decision easier while simultaneously making draft night far more exciting.