Spurs Draft Deep Dive: Zaccharie Risacher Isn’t as Safe as He Seems

Anyone who is closely following the 2024 NBA Draft can tell you that the lottery is filled with flawed prospects. Some lottery prospects can’t shoot, others are tiny. Some lottery prospects can’t defend, others can only run and jump. Zaccharie Risacher is starting to emerge as the prospect who is regarded as the safest bet to succeed — but he too comes with risks.

At one point in time, it looked like Risacher was a possible option at No. 4 for the San Antonio Spurs. However, after playing well in the playoffs of the French league, most pundits now agree that he’s a virtual lock for one of the top two selections.

Should the Spurs trade up to get Risacher? That’s something the franchise may consider. That said, trading up for Risacher would be risky — just like it’d be risky to trade up for any player in this draft. He may turn out to be a really good pro but the Frenchman is far from a sure thing. 

The Case for Drafting Zaccharie Risacher

As I’ve reported, the Spurs are in the market for multi-positional, multi-skilled players. Risacher might fit that bill as well as any lottery prospect. Approaching 6-foot-10, he’s a really good perimeter defender. He navigates screens extremely well and he’s fantastic at staying in front of smaller players. It looks like he could step into the league and be a plus defender from Day 1.

Offensively, Risacher was a knockdown shooter for a majority of the season. His release looks clean and, due to his height, he’s able to get it off even if there is a hard closeout. Risacher has even developed a step-back three-point shot that looks especially deadly.

The 19-year-old is outstanding in transition. If he gets the ball with a head of steam and a clear path to the basket, he’s going to find a way to finish. He can cover a lot of ground with his long steps while also staying under control. 

Even though he was young, Risacher exhibited a lot of maturity this season in the French league. He played a winning role and rarely tried to do too much. In the playoffs, he stepped up in a big way and it was clear that he’s a tall, talented prospect who may one day be a very good player in the NBA.

The Case Against Drafting Zaccharie Risacher

After reading all of the above superlatives, it’s easy to understand why Risacher is considered a safe pick. However, there is a lot of context that also needs to be considered.

First of all, according to all of the analytic models I’ve seen behind the scenes, Risacher grades out as a second round pick. Those models factor in his youthfulness but still don’t see him as a first round pick, much less a possible lottery selection.

Why are the models low on Risacher? The answer is simple: statistically, he doesn’t stand out in any category. His scoring rate isn’t special and he’s not especially efficient shooting-wise. He’s not a particularly good rebounder, especially for his size, and he doesn’t rack up steals or blocks at a notable rate. 

When it comes to playmaking and passing, both his numbers and the eye-test agree that he is very underwhelming. Risacher isn’t a good ball-handler in traffic and rarely makes plays for others. He can get to the rim when in transition but that’s about the extent of his creation skills. There are no signs that he will be a 6-foot-10 wing who will ever be able to handle a playmaking role.

Defensively, while he moves his feet well, Risacher doesn’t offer much disruption in the interior. His help-defense is still a work in progress and he’s not a rim protector at this stage of his development.

As far as his athleticism is concerned, Risacher grades out as about average compared to NBA players. He’s not an explosive jumper but he’s coordinated for his size. He shows quickness on defense but a lack of strength is an issue on both ends of the court.

Since he’s only 19, Risacher could — and likely will — improve but as of right now he’s a 3-and-D prospect without many extra bells and whistles. In fact, his three-point marksmanship is a relatively new development, so even that isn’t a certainty.

Zaccharie Risacher’s Fit on the Spurs

Risacher’s fit on the Spurs would be so seamless that I believe he’d be the pick if he somehow drops to the No. 4 slot. Assuming his development is heading in the right direction, he’d probably begin the year starting at small forward between Devin Vassell at shooting guard and Jeremy Sochan at power forward.

Final Thoughts on the Spurs Drafting Zaccharie Risacher

I think Risacher has some definite bust potential. Any prospect who is selected based on tools and not any tangible production comes with a hefty amount of risk. Risacher looked good in the French league but his actual production painted the picture that he was a replacement-level player. Typically, European prospects who have gone on to have successful NBA careers were much more impactful overseas than Risacher was this season.

But, despite any reservations I may have or the numbers may suggest, I wouldn’t be against the Spurs picking Risacher at No. 4. There are risks with him — but, then again, there are risks with everyone in this draft.