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What the odds say: Who will go 1st overall in the NBA draft?


As the Celtics continue their celebrations after capturing a league-leading 18th championship, the rest of the NBA shifts its attention to the NBA draft. Round 1 begins next Wednesday and the second round is Thursday.

It's rare to see universal agreement across the NBA landscape, but executives, scouts, media members, and fans contend the 2024 draft class is one of the worst in recent history with no true star power at the top.

Teams selecting toward the top typically hope their pick can become a franchise cornerstone who helps turn their fortunes around. It doesn't always work out that way, but nobody expects the top picks in this draft to emerge as All-NBA-caliber players.

The ceiling for the top picks might be impactful role players, but there are undoubtedly gems on the board. The uncertainty associated with this draft creates unpredictability at the top of the chart.

There's no consensus on who the top selections should be. At this point, oddsmakers rely on scarce intel and trustworthy mock drafts to determine the odds of the No. 1 pick.

The Hawks select first overall and are followed by the Wizards, Rockets, Spurs, and Pistons. Let's dive into who Atlanta might take.

No. 1 pick odds

Player Odds
Alexandre Sarr -110
Zaccharie Risacher +110
Donovan Clingan +450
Reed Sheppard +10000
Matas Buzelis +10000
Rob Dillingham +10000
Ronald Holland +10000
Cody Williams +10000
Dalton Knecht +10000
Nikola Topic +10000
Stephon Castle +10000
Bronny James +20000

The Hawks are in a peculiar situation. They have a backcourt pairing of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray but are expected to trade one at some point this offseason.

Front offices will likely target positional needs more than pure talent with no remarkable prospects who jump off the screen. The Hawks could trade the pick, but they won't select another small guard if they keep it. They need a reliable big man or wing who can improve the league's fourth-worst defense.

Atlanta has a few options to fill its void, including Alex Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher. According to's consensus mock draft, which compiles the best online mock drafts, four mocks project Sarr will land first overall and four predict Risacher.

Oddsmakers favor Sarr, who has a 52% implied probability of hearing his name called first. Part of the reason this is a difficult decision for the Hawks is because both prospects are unproven. They each have international profiles, which has been a positive for scouting departments in recent years after the influx of overseas talent that has dominated the NBA.

Sarr is a long, athletic center with elite defensive instincts, but he has offensive limitations, especially as a shooter. He grew up in France before moving to the U.S. in 2021 to play for Overtime Elite. He then left for Australia's National Basketball League, where he only averaged 17 minutes, 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game this past season.

Risacher is also from France. He's a knockdown shooting wing with the length and athleticism to be a great defender. He made 39% of his threes this season and fits the bill as a 3-and-D wing.

Donovan Clingan has been linked to the Hawks. He's a traditional back-to-the-basket and rim-protecting big man but isn't a shooting threat; he shot just eight threes last season. Clingan is a rim-running center but with solid passing instincts already, he could become an elite big if he developed an outside shot. The UConn product is a proven winner, capturing back-to-back national titles during his two-year college stint.

Reed Sheppard is a long shot to go first overall because of positional fit. If the Hawks decide to trade back, a team could move up to draft Sheppard, who's undoubtedly the draft's best shooter - he shot 52% from three last season - and possesses playmaking attributes as an undersized guard.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported that Risacher is the favorite to go first overall and Clingan is his biggest threat. Clingan already worked out at the Hawks' facility, while Risacher will work out for them Wednesday. Sarr has yet to work out for Atlanta, and it's unclear if he will.

The Hawks aren't in a complete rebuild, although they could enter one soon by trading their stars. They finished 10th in the East, so it's conceivable that Atlanta acquires a prospect who could help to win games immediately, like Risacher or Clingan, rather than a raw project like Sarr.

Either oddsmakers aren't buying the latest report or they haven't adjusted. Regardless, expect the unexpected in a lackluster draft.

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X @soshtry for more betting coverage.

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