Assessing Zaccharie Risacher in a Eurocup Playoff Game

April 22nd, 2024

By Alan Lu

Early in the season, 6-8 French forward, Zaccharie Risacher had been playing superb basketball overseas. Midway through the season, his tremendous play combined with having great size, athletic gifts, skill set, and versatility seemed to catapult him to the top of the board, and he had been shooting the lights out of the ball in the regular season. I’ve watched him play this season once before, and he was consistently a really good player in the regular season. However, he has really struggled in the Eurocup and French League playoffs, and there may be concern that he may not be the elite prospect that he appeared to be early on.   The concern is that Risacher has been a prolonged postseason shooting slump that raises concerns and some doubts if he should be a top 3 pick in the 2024 draft.

Zaccharie Risacher put up tremendous numbers earlier this season, but his play has tapered off considerably in the postseason, and the 2024 draft could be shaping up to be one of the most polarizing drafts in recent memory, as there may not be a clear cut number one overall pick this year.
(Photo: Getty Images, via CBS Sports)

I decided to watch him play in a March 29th Eurocup playoff game that took place between Bourg and Besiktas, with thanks to YouTube via Top Basketball Highlights.  This was to get a further look and gauge at his approach and to see how useful a player he can be when his shots aren’t falling.  Here are my thoughts on how Risacher fared in this game, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Zaccharie Risacher didn’t play very well in his team’s loss to Besiktas.  This wasn’t a particularly good game that he had, but this was more to get a look at his approach and to see if he can still make an impact even when his jump shot isn’t falling. In this game, he didn’t seem to be very involved on offense, and his motor on the defensive end seemed questionable, though he was able to make some better defensive plays towards the end.

Risacher was at his best when he would attack the hoop to score on fast breaks and off of broken plays.  He seems to be at his best when he is able to get in motion to get the ball.  He ran the floor to get the ball once, and he was able to use a stutter step to score on a speedy drive in transition.  He also ran to get a loose ball off of a broken play, as he drove hard to score another time.  On the downside, he was unable to make any of his three-pointers regardless if they were open or contested, off the catch or dribble.  He missed a pair of corner threes late in the game, and he even seemed to kick out his right foot late in this game.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Risacher was able to throw an outlet pass to find a teammate ahead on the break to get him the basketball once.  He also drove on the baseline and was able to make a drop-off pass another time.  He did a good job of passing the basketball when he would look to do so, and he also took care of the ball as well. In this game though, he wasn’t able to grab a rebound, but he was able to tip balls to help his team get a couple of boards.  

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average. He defended better late in the game, but early on, his effort appeared to be sluggish.  For the positives, he was able to dive on the ground for a loose ball to nearly get a steal.  He also jumped on a loose ball to help his team get a steal.  He also would sometimes contest shots to force misses, and he was able to hustle back to prevent an opponent from scoring on a fast break.  On the downside, he would tend to be out of position, and he also made some careless fouls in this game.  Sometimes he would be late on his rotations, and he wouldn’t always make a great effort to get in front of his man, which would lead his team to easily give up baskets.  He also bit on a pump fake when rotating on a cut after being late to get there initially, which led him to give up the basket.  He also got outmuscled and committed a foul in the post once.  Another time, he struggled to get around a screen, and he then committed an aggressive foul on a three-point shooter, which put his opponent on the free throw line.

Overall, Zaccharie Risacher is a very athletic, offensively skilled swingman that has been streaky with his jump shot this season, as he’s had some very high highs and some low lows.  He played better defense as the game progressed, but he will need to be a more consistent shooter and focused defender in games.  Still, he is a very talented prospect that has had some dominant games this season, and he could be an NBA star if he puts his skills altogether.  

He may not be the slam dunk choice to be the number one pick, but in this year’s draft it seems that no one is.  Despite his late season struggles, Risacher is a sure bet to be a lottery pick in the 2024 draft, and if he can be a more consistent player in games, he could end up being a very good player similar to Orlando Magic’s forward, Franz Wagner in the NBA.

So with all of this in mind, do I think Zaccharie Risacher will be a star in the NBA? Based on what I’ve seen, it seems doubtful and unlikely, but he’s a very skilled, versatile player that definitely has star potential, and this may be a draft where it’s uncertain if there will be a future star in this draft. I still think Risacher will be a good player in the NBA, even if he doesn’t end up making an All-Star team in the future, but guidance from the right coach and system could unlock his full and true potential.

Besiktas’ 6-6 forward, Kerem Konan also had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Bourg.  He was able to get a handful of playing time, but other than grabbing rebounds, he didn’t really seem to do anything that stood out. He was able to score after being left open around the basket.  He also drew free throws on a turnaround jumper from the baseline.  However, Konan missed on a wide-open corner three once, as well as on a wild put back in traffic. He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Konan was able to push the pace and pass it out to a shooter, and despite showing loose handles with the ball, he was able to help set up a score for a teammate.  He played unselfishly, and he also would set screens for his teammates.

He also rebounded the ball well.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, when he would be in position, he would contest shots around the basket to force some misses.  However, he often had trouble guarding quicker players.  He would get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he gave up too much space when defending an opposing ball handler out on the perimeter, which led him to give up the three-point basket that time.

Overall, Kerem Konan didn’t have a great game, but he was able to get a handful of playing time in a meaningful Eurocup postseason game.  He doesn’t seem to be much of an NBA draft prospect, but his motor could allow him to carve out a role as a rotation player overseas for the time being.All in all, those are my thoughts on how Zaccharie Risacher and Kerem Konan played in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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