Detroit Pistons 2024 NBA mock draft roundup: 2 French players you need to know about

The Detroit Pistons have 27 games left in the regular season after losing to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, meaning the end of the season is mercifully near and buckets of hope can be refilled through the promise of free agency and the draft.

The Pistons have been in the NBA cellar for virtually the entire season, thanks to an NBA-record 28-game losing streak that began in October and lasted just over two months. They will more than likely finish with a bottom-five record in the league for the fifth straight season, dating back to the franchise’s last playoff appearance in 2018-19.

It has been nothing short of a disastrous season for the Pistons, who entered the season ostensibly angling for a play-in spot under first-year head coach Monty Williams. Instead, the Pistons have been the least competitive team in the league and were on pace for the worst season in NBA history for half the season before making massive overhauls to the roster and pulling out some unexpected wins right before and after the trade deadline.

The Pistons will, in all likelihood, be one of the teams headlining the NBA draft lottery on May 12, which will determine the order of the first 14 picks in the draft. With the NBA’s worst record at 8-47, the Pistons currently hold the best odds for the first overall pick, 14%, along with the other two bottom-dwellers, the 9-46 Washington Wizards (who have two wins against the Pistons in three tries) and the 11-44 San Antonio Spurs. The 14-41 Charlotte Hornets have the fourth-worst record right now, giving them a 12.5% chance at the top pick, and the 15-39 Portland Trail Blazers are fifth with a 10.5% chance.

If the Pistons finish the year with the worst record, they will have a 52.1% chance to remain in the top four picks, and can only slide as far as the fifth pick. But as the organization learned the hard way last year, the gap between Nos. 1 and 5 can be drastic.

The Pistons were the worst team in the NBA last year and had high hopes of landing Victor Wembanyama, who has lived up to the potential as a generational prospect as a rookie. Instead, they dramatically fell to No. 5 and ended up taking Ausar Thompson, who has impressed with defense but is not on the same level as the 7-foot-5 star from France playing for the Spurs.

The good news for the Pistons, which brings a bit of bad news as well, is they likely won’t experience the same pain on lottery night with a similar drop, because the 2024 draft class is considered weaker in terms of blue-chip prospects at the top of the board. But the Pistons are in desperate need of NBA-ready talent to bring some wins and a modicum of respect back to the franchise still in search of its first playoff win since 2008.

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Since the Pistons’ hopes and dreams for this season are pretty much over, let’s get familiar with some of the prospects who could be heading to Detroit in the first round of the NBA draft, scheduled for June 26 (with Round 2 set for June 27) in New York.

*Player ages will be listed for how old they will be on draft night in June.

The Athletic

Are you ready for the possibility of another French prospect after the Pistons cut French point guard Killian Hayes?

The Athletic’s draft guru, Sam Vecenie, is projecting the Pistons will take Zaccharie Risacher, an 18-year-old wing listed at 6-8 who turns 19 in April. Risacher plays for JL Bourg in France’s top league and has also impressed in EuroCup competition, averaging 11.4 points on 50.1% shooting from the field and 45.1% from 3 on 3.3 attempts per game. Vecenie said Risacher’s ability to shoot, rebound and defend makes him an ideal wing in the NBA, but struggles to create for himself off the dribble due to a slower first step.

Vecenie wrote: “Risacher is clearly at No. 1 for me right now. The NBA is constantly on the lookout for big wing/forward types who can knock down shots, defend at a reasonable level and play with the ball in their hands. The French forward has done an enormous amount of that this season while producing at a high level in EuroCup competition.”


The Pistons selected at No. 2 in ESPN’s mock draft because they projected the Wizards to finish with a worse record on the season. Still, the Pistons will be at the top of the draft board with a different French prospect staring at them. ESPN’s draft experts Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo are predicting the Pistons will draft Alexandre Sarr, a 7-1 big from France playing in Australia’s National Basketball League. Sarr, who has a 7-4 wingspan, is averaging 9.7 points, 4,4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 17.2 minutes per game in 24 NBL appearances this season.

Here’s what Woo said about Sarr in December: “Sarr has the attributes teams dream of and the potential to be a high-level interior defender by NBA standards, able to play the 4 or 5 and offer rim protection, schematic versatility and some capability to switch on the perimeter. It’s easy to envision Sarr progressing into a top-flight defensive big.

“On the offensive end, Sarr’s contributions tend to come in flashes, but he’s quite talented for a player his size. He’s able to put the ball on the floor and attack, hit jumpers with range out to the 3-point line and finish around the rim. Consistency in all of those areas has been an issue.”

CBS Sports

CBS is projecting the Pistons to finish with the third-worst record, better than the Wizards and Spurs, but still slotted Sarr to the Pistons, with the top two picks as Risacher and then Nikola Topić of Serbia. CBS’ Kyle Boone believes Sarr’s defensive potential and versatility with his size make him a bonafide top pick in this class.

Boone wrote: “Sarr has a case to be considered the most high-ceiling defender in this class. He can be a shot blocking big and has shown the ability to switch onto the perimeter and be a terror on the defensive end guarding multiple positions.”

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has the Pistons picking No. 1 in his latest mock draft, and he has Sarr as his top-rated prospect. Despite Sarr’s fit as a center, Wasserman said he should be able to play alongside Jalen Duren because of his ability to space the floor and move without the ball.

Wasserman wrote: “The 7’1″ size, athleticism, mobility and production in the NBL create some level of certainty behind his finishing and defensive impact translating. Meanwhile, the 15 made threes, 11-of-25 made pull-ups, drives past closeouts and floater touch hint at Sarr possessing more scoring potential than your typical lob-threat/rim protector.”

Yahoo! Sports

Yahoo’s draft analyst, Krysten Peek, has the Pistons drafting No. 1 in her latest mock draft, and Detroit selecting Sarr. She didn’t give a team-specific fit, but noted Sarr’s defensive ability and versatility in the frontcourt, along with a recent impressive performance in front of scouts, will keep him in the conversation as the top prospect.

Peek wrote: “Sarr made his return to the court after being sidelined with a minor hip injury for the last three weeks. In his most recent game, he put up 17 points, four rebounds and two blocks off the bench in front of a handful of NBA scouts that made the trek over to Australia to see him in person. His rim protection and versatility will get him looks as the No. 1 overall pick in June.”

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