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Could Donovan Clingan be the No. 1 pick in 2024 NBA Draft?

Donovan Clingan NBA Hawks
Donovan Clingan recently worked out for the Atlanta Hawks, who own the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Could Donovan Clingan be the No. 1 pick in 2024 NBA Draft?

We are mere days away from the 2024 NBA Draft, and one of the biggest storylines is what happens with the No. 1 overall pick, owned by the Atlanta Hawks.

To some degree, this draft at the top is very unique. There is no consensus No. 1 overall pick–with Alexandre Sarr (draft profile here), Donovan Clingan (draft profile here) and Zaccharie Risacher leading that conversation. Though recent reporting suggests that Sarr–who has been the consensus favorite for the majority of the pre-draft process–is slipping away from that conversation.

According to Yahoo Sports NBA Draft analyst and insider Krysten Peek, Clingan could be the top guy.

“Donovan Clingan is now in the conversation for the No. 1 pick,” she reported Friday. “He worked out for the Hawks last week and has also worked out for Washington and Detroit — three teams inside the top five. It all comes down to who’s making the pick within Atlanta’s organization, with many believing head coach Quin Snyder prefers Clingan over French wing Zaccharie Risacher.”

Clingan was on the outside-looking-in throughout the majority of the process, but now appears to really be in that conversation with Atlanta at No. 1.

He’s one of the top interior defenders in this class, recording the nation’s sixth-best block percentage as a purely dominant drop defender. Standing at 7-foot-2 with a near-10-foot standing reach, he was elite contesting and deterring shots around the rim without fouling.

He averaged 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest on 63.9 percent shooting and 63.7 percent true shooting. Most of his shot attempts came around the rim, unlike Sarr (who showed flashes of floor spacing), but he was an excellent play finisher and a better offensive rebounder than his counterpart was.

Either way, I’d expect the Hawks to move off of Clint Capela at some point; they could also move off of either one of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, who they almost moved ahead of the 2024 Trade Deadline. That backcourt hasn’t worked as well as anticipated and we have a three-year sample of it.

Teams will also have more draft picks to send Atlanta at the draft, but Landry Fields and that front office must decide how they want to go about it first. It’s safe to assume they don’t even know what they want to do, which is normal at this stage.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Clingan’s the top pick … he may be the safest bet of the aforementioned names, especially since the 20-year-old showed what he was capable of at the biggest stage.

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