Sarr in the mix for NBA No.1 pick, Aussie Furphy firms

Alex Sarr was born in France and spent last season playing in Australia.

Zaccharie Risacher was born in Spain and is coming off a breakout season in France.

The next step in their global basketball journey is the NBA, with one of them potentially heading to Atlanta on Thursday morning (AEST) as the No.1 pick in the draft.

Sharp-shooting 19-year-old Johnny Furphy, the only Australian in the mix, could also go in the first round.

Memphis have pick nine and are reportedly considering the guard after his standout college campaign at Kansas Jayhawks also saw him make the initial Boomers Olympic squad.

Australian guard Johnny Furphy (with ball) has stormed into first-round NBA draft contention. (AP PHOTO)

"We grew up together, competing against each other, and now we are here in New York for the draft and it's one day to realise our dream, you know?" Risacher said of his French connection with Sarr.

"This is special."

It's a special time for France, which could have the No.1 pick for a second straight season after Victor Wembanyama went to San Antonio last year amid enormous expectations and lived up to the hype in a Rookie of the Year season.

Neither Sarr, Risacher or anyone else will arrive with that type of promise in a 2024 draft long viewed as a weak one.

It's unclear which way the Hawks will lean, or even if they are focusing on the two French players.

They will find out at the start of what this year becomes a two-night draft.

The first round will be held as usual at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the second round moving Thursday (Friday morning AEST) to ESPN's Seaport District studios.

Much of the speculation surrounding the Hawks' choice since they won the draft lottery last month initially focused on Sarr, a well-travelled seven-footer from Bordeaux, France.

Sarr began his pro career in Spain with Real Madrid's youth team, spent two years in the United States playing with Overtime Elite, a developmental league, and last season was with the Perth Wildcats in Australia's NBL.

He should soon be able to settle in somewhere, whether it's Atlanta, Washington, Houston, San Antonio or Detroit, the teams that round out the top five spots.

"It's been a long journey of me changing a lot of countries and now I know that I'm going to be probably in the same place for a couple of years, so it's really exciting," Sarr said.

If Sarr or Risacher is taken first, it would mark the first time that the draft went consecutive years without the No.1 pick being someone who played at an American college.

"It would mean a lot," Sarr said.

"I played with Zaccharie three years in a row, I'm really close with him ... it's really special for France in general."

Furphy, whose brother Joe in on Geelong's AFL rookie list, only joined Kansas after starring at the NBA Academy Games in Atlanta last July.

He's been invited to the NBA Draft green room, generally an indication the player will be called in the first round.

But Bronny James may have to wait until Friday to be called.

Most mock drafts have the 19-year-old going to the Lakers at 55th overall, where his superstar father LeBron James has until this weekend to opt in to the final year of his current contract.

With AAP