Risacher becomes latest international No. 1 pick in NBA draft

Hawks take Zaccharie Risacher with the No. 1 pick in the draft (1:47)

The Hawks select France's Zaccharie Risacher with the first pick in the 2024 NBA draft. (1:47)

The 2024 NBA draft began Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN and ESPN+) with another international prospect at the top of the order -- French forward Zaccharie Risacher, who the Atlanta Hawks selected No. 1 overall.

Risacher spent last season playing for JL Bourg in France's LNB √Člite league, averaging 11.1 points and four rebounds across the EuroCup and Pro A. He also appeared on France's U16, U17 and U19 teams.

With Risacher going at No. 1, Wednesday marked the second straight year and fourth time in the modern draft era (since 1966) that the top overall selection is an international player that did not play college basketball, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Here's a look at the other international prospects who went No. 1 in the NBA draft and how they fared in their rookie seasons.

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs, France

Year: 2023

Stats: 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.6 blocks

The first international player to be selected No. 1 overall since 2006, Wembanyama made his mark in his rookie season. He won the Rookie of the Year award, earned NBA All-Defensive Team honors and led the NBA in blocks per game.

Wembanyama is the third player to average 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.5 blocks and 1 steal in a season since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74 -- Hakeem Olajuwon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the others to do so, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Spurs phenom also became the first player in NBA history to have 250 blocks and 100 3-pointers in a single season.

Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors, Italy

Year: 2006

Stats: 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists

Bargnani helped the Raptors clinch their first playoff berth since 2002 in his rookie season. He had a slow start, but picked up as the season went on, earning All-Rookie honors.

Bargnani scored at least 20 points four times, including a then-career-high 23 against the Orlando Magic in December. The Italian finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy.

Yao Ming, Houston Rockets, China

Year: 2002

Stats: 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.8 blocks

The hype that followed Yao heading into the 2002 draft was similar to Wembanyama's 20 years later. The Chinese center became the highest drafted international prospect ever when the Rockets selected him.

Yao made the decision worth it, earning All-Star honors and finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. He had 27 double-doubles in 72 games, highlighted by a monster 29-point, 10-rebound and 6-block performance against the Indiana Pacers in December 2002.

The Rockets star was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, the first Chinese national to be inducted.