2024 NBA Draft scouting report: Zaccharie Risacher

The French prospect is the son of a long-time overseas professional and is playing a big role for JL Bourg in the French Jeep Elite league and EuroCup at only 18 years old. Even in a weak class, Zaccharie Risacher is worth getting excited about as a first-overall pick.

All Star Game - Paris
All Star Game - Paris / Aurelien Meunier/GettyImages

Think of what your ideal NBA wing — not counting superstars like Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum — looks like and play like, build him in your head. He’s long, athletic, quick vertically and horizontally, and can space the floor at the other end. He can defend multiple positions comfortably, and can probably take the toughest matchup on most nights. 

On offense not only does he space the floor, but he can attack closeouts and put the ball on the floor. He’s not your isolation bucket-getter late in games, but he knows how to capitalize on moving and shifting defenses with a quality shot, touch around the rim, and by making the right play more often than not. 

This skill set is what made Trevor Ariza the ideal fit on those Lakers championship teams and the ideal small forward for the Chris Paul and James Harden Rockets. This same skill set allowed Caleb Martin to thrive in the Miami Heat’s underdog run to the NBA Finals last season. And, this skill set is what has caused French wing Zaccharie Risacher to rise up draft boards, and into many’s number-one overall slots such as ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie.

It’s also worth noting that we had Risacher as our top-ranked international prospect back in November. As we take a victory lap on that, only remember this about us if Risacher turns into a good NBA player. If he’s a bust, forget it ever happened, and keep reading our stuff, please. 

Risacher’s rise is impressive and driven by his solid play with JL Bourg in both France’s Jeep Elite league and Eurocup — EuroLeague’s secondary competition. It’s rare for 18-year-olds to have as big an impact in high-level professional European basketball as Risacher does. This doesn’t mean he’s Luka Doncic, who was the best player in EuroLeague his last season before entering the draft, but his performance against arguably the best possible competition available at this stage of his career is worthy of fascination and praise -- more than the rest of this draft class to say the least. 

To caveat Risacher’s rise and solid play as a young professional, he is primarily rising to first overall because this is a weak draft class overall. The highest Risacher would probably go if he was in the 2023 class is sixth, and you could argue he might even be late lottery or top-20. For as good as Risacher has been this season his position on draft boards needs that contextualization. Becoming an Ariza or Martin type of player may be his ceiling, and that could still be the best possible choice at first overall in this class. Handle your excitement for the French prospect accordingly. 

But what exactly is causing Risacher’s rise? What does he appear to bring to the table on day one that has scouts and front offices moderately excited for him? And what does it look like he might add to his game over the next few years that makes you feel confident about his upside as a number one overall pick? 

Zaccharie Risacher NBA Draft bio

Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 204 pounds
Birthdate: April 8, 2005
Position: Small Forward
Offensive Role: Slashing wing and potential floor-spacer
Defensive Role: Switchable wing
Projected Draft Range1-10

NBA Draft highlights


It’s unlikely Risacher steps on the court as a rookie and is capable of racking up 20-point games on his own like Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren, or Brandon Miller. The shot creation isn’t there yet, but more on that later. 

What Risacher can do is the easy stuff. He gets himself in open spots for spot-up 3s and makes them at a solid efficiency, 38 percent across all competitions and 44 percent on open looks per Synergy Sports. There are no guarantees with rookies and draft picks, but it would be a surprise if Risacher stepped on an NBA court and wasn’t an immediate shooter that opposing defenses knew they had to be aware of. He’s confident shooting the 3 in transition as well and has made 50 percent of his transition attempts on low volume so far this season. 

Risacher’s shot looks true and reliable, you can probably count on it like that early 2000s Honda someone you know still drives. Maybe they’ll never get the Mercedes, but having someone you can count on every day of the week is worth a lot too. 

Additionally, Risacher knows how to use his athleticism on the offensive end of the court. In transition, he’s scoring 1.26 points per possession across all competitions which puts him in the 71st percentile per Synergy Sports. He can glide towards the rim, and at times look like he’s teleporting there when his strides all connect perfectly. What really helps him is his comfort finishing with both hands and off the wrong foot. That skill combined with his physical traits makes him someone who should be able to do this from the jump as an NBA player. 

Risacher’s defense pops in a way we don’t often see in prospects. The versatility catches your eye first. He locks down opposing wings with ease and almost looks like he makes them scared to put the ball on the floor. He can jump onto opponents' primary ball handlers and pick them up full-court, annoying them to the point where he makes them more error-prone than usual. Switching onto a strong low post body? Not his favorite, but he can hold his own just fine. He breaks up dribble handoffs and simply makes plays on the defensive end in a variety of ways that are beyond rare for a player his age. 

Versatility is great, perhaps the most valuable defensive skill in the modern NBA besides elite rim protection, but to be a top-level versatile defensive player one needs more than just the physical tools. They need to be a strong communicator, letting their teammates know what they want to do defensively and how they need them to fit around that to get stops. This communication needs to happen with chemistry, and in a split-second at times. Risacher has shown he’s capable of this during the 2023-24 season with Bourg.


Risacher has shown flashes of more offensively this season, but none of these skills are guaranteed to reach a level that leads to solid efficiency at the NBA level. To note, they all could, or none of them could, that’s how development works. His step-back looks smooth, it creates space, and with his high release, he looks comfortable letting it fly. It just doesn’t go in yet as much as you would like to. 

For Risacher’s grace in transition attacks, that hasn’t fully translated to his half-court game yet. His drives are very direct, which can be a problem against good rim protectors and clogged lanes. He doesn’t adjust in mid-air well, which means alterations usually result in a miss. Like the step-back, this could get better with reps and growth. Only time will tell. 

Risacher has been solid as a cutter on a low volume of possessions this season. He’s scoring 1.3 points per possession on 32 possessions, good enough for the 67th percentile per Synergy Sports. If he can continue to find opportunities as a cutter this is a skill that will grow as far as his ability as a finisher in the halfcourt grows. Together, they could be a deadly combo. 

Finally, if Risacher can become a good team passer, on top of developing some other offensive skills, it would help his offensive fit in the long run. He doesn’t need to turn in an elite pick-and-roll operator or a top-level short-roll threat. He just needs to make the right passes around shifting defenses, whether he’s driving or spotting up, being able to consistently find the next open guy will open the floor for him to do even more of what he’s best at. 

With what Risacher has already put on display as a versatile defender and communicator, he’s someone who could earn the free safety style responsibility players like Robert Williams and Giannis Antetokounmpo have gotten over the years. If your team has another good perimeter defender, have them take the opposing team's best player and put Risacher on someone he can drift off of and just read and react to the game. 

With Risacher likely ending up on a bad team for the first few seasons he’s in the league, we probably won’t see this until after his rookie contract. But if he adds it, he’ll be one of the most desirable defensive players in the league. 

While some have alluded to Risacher’s ability to develop an offensive game like Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic, and that’s something he should certainly aim for, we just don’t see it. Significant leaps would need to happen in his ability to attack off the dribble, finish in traffic, and score in that 10-18 foot range that defenses love to push opponents toward. 

Risacher doesn’t project as anyone who you want running a lot of pick-and-roll or someone you have set a lot of ball screens either. It wouldn’t be impossible for Risacher to add these skills to his game, we just think it’s unlikely. And that’s what limits his overall offensive ceiling. 

Another skill Risacher is unlikely to develop is being a defensive quarterback, someone who’s almost a full-on play-caller for their team's defense. Think Draymond Green and Anthony Davis. For as excited as we are for Risacher’s defensive upside, it’s unfair to project any prospect's ability to add this generational skill. 

Final summary

Our concerns about Risacher are two-pronged. For starters, we could see him struggling out of the gate and even during his first season or two in the league. What Risacher brings to the table for an NBA team from the jump are skills that are optimized around star talent, not something the teams picking toward the top of this year's draft are known for. 

How does his shot look if he’s not getting enough open looks? How does he find secondary offense if his team isn’t creating enough transition opportunities? Risacher is a tough player, he will take these challenges in stride at a minimum. But remember to not treat him like your standard top-five pick and to be patient, because in many drafts he wouldn’t go this high. 

The final concern, is what exactly is Risacher’s ceiling? What if he never adds much more to his game? Even if he optimizes his current skill set that probably taps out at being an elite role player. If you think that’s likely, is he worth the first overall pick? Will you regret taking him over Alex Sarr, Rob Dillingham, or Cody Williams?   

Risacher’s floor is impressive for someone who’s still only 18, but do you believe enough in his upside to take him first overall, even in a weak class?

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