The 2024 NBA draft class should see a strong presence from international prospects come June. It seems France will put out a great class, with four out of the five prospects appearing on this list. This is, of course, coming right on the heels of French superstar and 2023 number-one overall pick Victor Wembanyama.
At the beginning of the NBA season, there were a reported 120 international players on official rosters. Based on fluctuating NBA roster sizes, this makes up around 20-25% of the league. Top-five NBA lists are currently filled with international superstars such as Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Luka Doncic.
It’s hard to project anyone to the liking of the names mentioned above, but these international prospects are hopeful. Here are the top international prospects for the 2024 NBA Draft class.
2024 NBA Draft Top Prospects: International Players
1) Alex Sarr: Perth Wildcats (Australia)
The French big man Alex Sarr is the top international prospect and is in contention for the number one pick. Sarr is extremely mobile and active for his size, standing at a lanky seven-foot-one with a seven-foot-five wingspan. Although a seven-footer, Sarr is heralded for his mobility that better mirrors an NBA wing.
Sarr put himself in contention as the top prospect in the class with a breakout performance against the G League Ignite. He exploded for 26 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks, playing for the Perth Wildcats out of Australia. Sarr is already a proven defensive impact player, as he can be mobile on the perimeter while also having an uncanny ability to block shots at a ridiculous rate.
To become the number one pick, however, scouts will want to see that these offensive flashes can be consistent throughout the season. This is especially true for Sarr’s jump-shooting, which passes the eye test, but percentages need to back it up.
2) Nikola Topic: Mega MIS (Serbia)
Nikola Topic is a Serbian international prospect who projects to be a top-10 pick. Some opinions have him as high as number two on their board. Topic is a six-foot-six lead guard with a high level of feel for the game. Topic isn’t just a combo guard but can run the show at his size. He’s a gifted passer and runs the pick-and-roll with ease. He also keeps defenses honest with a solid shooting stroke that has steadily improved each season. Topic will also be one of the younger prospects in the class, as he will still be only 18 years old on draft night.
The biggest knock scouts may have on Topic will be his lack of elite athleticism and play style as a below-the-rim finisher. However, with his positional size and craftiness, there’s plenty of reason to ease these concerns.
3) Zaccharie Risacher: JL Bourg (France)
Zaccharie Risacher is our second French international prospect. He’s currently projected as a top-seven pick, making him the third projected lottery talent for the international class. Risacher is a six-foot-eight wing who is a fluid mover on both ends with a clean shooting stroke. Risacher projects and has shown flashes of being able to fill various roles on the court. He can be a 3-and-D player or a secondary playmaker on the wing with his excellent passing skills. The flashes of playmaking ability combined with movement shooting really raised his stock.
Risacher’s biggest mark will be his lack of high-end self-creation or isolation scoring, which may limit his upside. It’s possible whichever team drafts him will simply be looking for a high-end complimentary wing, however, so this concern won’t be as significant.
4) Tidjane Salaun: Cholet Basket (France)
Tidjane Salaun is another French international prospect who has gotten a lot of draft attention. Salaun is the desirable archetype for many teams as a jumbo wing. He’s six-foot-10 with great athletic ability and is a fluid mover on the perimeter. Over the last year, he’s improved his three-point shooting ability and the mid-range. He’s shown these flashes as a creator for himself and off the ball. He has a fluid and clean release that should only continue to improve.
At first glance, teams will be reminded of Michael Porter Jr.’s player profile for the NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets. Also similar to Porter, though, teams will want to see Salaun improve on the defensive end regarding physicality and foot speed.
Salaun is raw, but he will be one of the highest-upside prospects in the 2024 NBA draft. Playing professionally in France and being one of the youngest prospects in the draft, it will be interesting to see how much Salaun gets to show off over the season.
5) Melvin Ajinca: Saint-Quentin Basket-Ball (France)
Melvin Ajinca rounds out our list as another international prospect out of France. Ajinca is a six-foot-seven wing who has an easily translatable skillset on the wing at the next level. The U19 FIBA World Cup immensely helped Ajinca’s stock. He emerged as a reliable knockdown shooter on the move or from the spot up. Ajinca also plays with an incredible amount of energy, especially on the defensive end of the floor, where his mix of size and mobility will be highly valued.
Scouts will want to see the numbers back up Ajinca’s projected 3-and-D archetype at the next level this season. He also doesn’t possess an elite trait yet, although he’s solid at everything. If he can show more self-creation upside and continue to shoot the ball at high percentages, his stock will likely increase dramatically.