New favorite for top pick of 2024 NBA Draft, and it's likely someone you've never heard of

Unless you're a true NBA Draft nerd or a big fan of JL Bourg-en-Bresse (who? exactly...), then you probably have never heard of the player expected to be selected first overall in two days.

The 2024 NBA Draft has been dunked on repeatedly, called the worst ever many times, and that lack of excitement is understandable when you look at the top of the draft. For weeks, Alexandre Sarr was the favorite to go first overall. Before a month or so ago basketball fans probably had never heard of Sarr, a big man from France.

Sarr was replaced since late last week as the betting favorite to go first overall in the NBA Draft by Zaccharie Risacher, another French player you probably hadn't heard of. Risacher is a fairly big -225 favorite to go first overall at BetMGM, and Yahoo Sports NBA draft expert Krysten Peek agrees in her latest mock draft.

We've had underwhelming NBA Drafts before. It's rare when the first pick is a virtual unknown to all but the most hardcore of basketball fans.

Risacher being an unknown doesn't mean he won't be a good player in the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks hold the first pick in this oft-ridiculed draft and if the odds shift is correct, Risacher will be heading there.

It's just that Risacher is a mystery, as was Sarr. Other international players who are set to go first overall usually have a buzz surrounding them, most notably Victor Wembanyama last year. This could be the first time a majority of NBA fans tune in to the draft and are being introduced for the first time to the top overall pick.

Risacher is a 6-foot-9 forward who can shoot it well from behind the 3-point line. He averaged 11.1 points this past season for the French team JL Bourg-en-Bresse, whose home arena holds 3,548 people. Risacher has some upside if he bulks up, and that makes him stand out in this draft class. Late last week there were reports that Risacher would be the top pick, and that caused the BetMGM odds to change.

Soon, Risacher might be part of the historic list of names that went first overall in the NBA Draft, even if plenty of fans are unaware of him a couple days before he's picked.

The odds shift on Risacher isn't the first time the betting market has drastically moved draft odds in the days or hours before the first pick happens.

The trend of the betting market being ahead of the first pick of the NBA or NFL drafts slowed down lately, but that was mostly because picks like Caleb Williams and Wembanyama were obvious. This year's NBA Draft has no consensus top player, which means the draft odds were bound to bounce around a bit before the pick was made.

There is still time for another shift. For a while there were rumors that UConn big man Donovan Clingan could be the first pick. Casual basketball fans have probably heard that name, if they watch March Madness at all.

But for now, the market seems to believe that Risacher will be the pick. Then we can start to learn all about him.