2024 NBA Draft: Ranking the top small forwards, led by projected No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher

Yahoo Sports is breaking down the top players in the 2024 NBA Draft by position. Today, we're ranking the best available small forwards.

Over the last decade, NBA teams have been successful when drafting versatile wings who possess the ability to act as a primary ball-handler. There are a lot of young, lengthy wings in this draft with upside but who are not polished products. All wing players projected in the lottery are 19 years old or younger, with the first pick of the draft projected to be the 6-foot-8 wing out of France, Zaccharie Risacher. Risacher, along with projected lottery pick Tidjane Salaun, had a solid run in the LNB Pro A playoffs, finishing on a high note in front of numerous scouts and executives who made the trip to France in May.

The NBA Draft is less than two weeks away, taking place June 26-27 in New York. Here's a breakdown of the potential star wings of this draft and others to keep tabs on in the second round.

Position rankings:PG | SG | SF | PF | C


(Grant Thomas/Yahoo Sports Illustration)
(Grant Thomas/Yahoo Sports Illustration)

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 204 pounds | Age: 19

Risacher took a page from Victor Wembanyama's playbook and switched French teams, going from ASVEL, where he wasn't logging many minutes two years ago, to JL Bourg-en-Bresse. His minutes increased, his offensive touches increased and he started every game from March all the way to the playoffs.

Risacher might be one of the most improved players in the draft. His bread and butter is his 3-point shot, but he showed more versatility as a shot creator for JL Bourg as the season went on. In the playoff series against Monaco, Risacher averaged 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He was tasked with guarding the best player on the perimeter all season and has great size as a wing who can contribute right away for Atlanta or whichever team drafts him.


Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 210 pounds | Age: 19

Buzelis had a slow start to the season with the G League Ignite, coming off an ankle injury. But once he hit the court, his impact on offense stood out immediately. He is comfortable handling the ball in the backcourt and has the size to dip down to the paint in different sets. Buzelis added muscle prior to the season and really settled into the pace of the pro game. He is creeping up draft boards with his improved motor and versatility playing positions 1-4. His draft range is anywhere from Nos. 5-10 in the lottery.


Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 203 pounds | Age: 18

Salaun is one of the youngest players in the draft, turning 19 in August, and has had a similar rise in the draft as Bilal Coulibaly last year. Both Risacher and Salaun could be targets for the Spurs to bring in some defensive versatility on the wing and continue the French connection with Wembanyama. Like Risacher, Salaun exploded in the LNB Pro A playoffs, averaging 13.3 points in 25 minutes per game during the second round against Paris Basketball. Salaun comes from a family with a rich basketball background; his older sister, Janelle, plays on the women's French national team. Salaun's draft range all season has been from late lottery to 20, but don't be surprised if he's picked inside the top 10.


Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 195 pounds | Age: 19

Williams might be the most intriguing prospect projected in the lottery. He is the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams, and many scouts believe Cody is further along in his development than Jalen was at 19. Jalen played four years at Santa Clara before being drafted with the 12th pick in the 2022 draft.

Cody showed glimpses of playmaking in his one year at Colorado, but due to injuries, including a facial fracture that left him sidelined for multiple games, it was difficult to see any consistent rhythm. The Thunder might have a chance to draft Cody with the 12th overall pick, with his draft range being anywhere from 10-15.


Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 206 pounds | Age: 18

Holland led the G League Ignite in scoring this year prior to a thumb injury that required surgery. The buzz on Holland has been relatively quiet, but he's recently worked out for the Trail Blazers and Lakers. His defensive versatility and athleticism are what teams love, but his 3-point shot still needs some work (he shot just 24% from 3 this past season), and he hasn't shown enough off-ball movement for teams to feel comfortable about bringing Holland in as a secondary piece on the perimeter. Holland could slip in the draft, but that might be a best-case scenario for him long term because he is an ultra competitor and would come into the NBA with a chip on his shoulder.


Minnesota's Cam Christie has been a buzzy name leading up to the draft. The 6-5 freshman shot 39.1% from 3-point range and is a projected early second-round pick after a solid showing at the combine and consistent workouts with teams. Cam is the younger brother of Max Christie, who was drafted in the second round by the Lakers in 2022.

Weber State's Dillon Jones was a walking double-double in the Big Sky conference this season, averaging 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game (and recording 18 double-doubles). He finished well through contact and improved his outside jump shot. Jones has an all-around game that can positively impact any team that drafts him.

Ryan Dunn is the best defensive wing in this draft, averaging 2.3 blocks and 1.5 steals per game during his sophomore season at Virginia. The main area of concern for scouts is his 3-point shot. He connected on just 20% of attempts this past season.

North Carolina's Harrison Ingram has that X-factor to his game that teams love and is a smart, patient offensive player who does a lot of the little things very well. Ingram averaged 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds during his junior season. He's a plug-and-play guy who can play in the paint or knock down 3s.

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