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Experts are projecting an NBL star to go 1st Overall in June’s NBA Draft

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alex sarr, nbl, nba draft

The NBL’s rise in notoriety amongst the world of basketball is about to get another huge boost, with Perth Wildcats’ big man Alex Sarr a serious contender for the number one spot in the 2024 NBA draft.

The 18-year-old Frenchman has wound up playing in the NBL after two years in the ever-growing Overtime Elite system, and has shown off his natural-given ability on the court for all of the 2023-24 season.

His performances and clear potential have recently seen him climb up to be the projected the No.1 draft pick for the upcoming NBA draft according to ESPN’s draft-board.

Listed at an insane height of 7-foot-1, he has the exact dimensions and skills that is in high demand at the moment in the NBA, after the emergence of fellow Frenchman Victor Wembanyama.

He shows serious potential of being an elite rim protector that has the versatility to play the power forward and center positions, plus he can dominate in the paint with his size.

He may be an unfamiliar face even in Australia, but here’s why Alex Sarr is a hot commodity as we creep closer to the 2024 NBA draft.

Everything you need to know about Alex Sarr

Who is Alex Sarr?

Alex Sarr is an 18-year-old Frenchman currently playing in the NBL with the Perth Wildcats and is predicted to go with the first overall pick at the 2024 NBA draft.

It’s no surprise he is wanted from NBA franchises considering his insane dimensions — 7-foot-1, 98 kilos (217 pounds), a wingspan of 7-foot-4 and a 9-foot-2 standing reach.

In this season with the Wildcats, he has put up decent averages of 9 points per game, 4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks on 51% shooting from the floor.

alex sarr, nba draft, perth wildcats

What has Alex Sarr journey been to the NBA draft?

He’s projected to become another star player to come out of the NBL, following the likes of LaMelo Ball and Josh Giddey. But unlike them, Alex Sarr is the favourite prospect for the first overall pick when the NBA draft rolls around in 2024.

Born in France, Sarr comes from a family of basketball players, and has capitalised on his upbringing brilliantly to make the jump internationally to play ball. Initially he joined Real Madrid’s youth team, before heading to the bright lights of the states to play in the recently established Overtime Elite league based in Atlanta.

It was from there that he wanted to join a professional organisation, making the journey to the NBL to play with the Perth Wildcats under the league’s semi-new ‘Next Stars‘ program.

Outside of franchise basketball, he has laced up the sneakers on multiple occasions for his country, playing at the FIBA U17s World Cup in 2022 and the FIBA U19s World Cup in 2023.

What are his strengths?

Alex Sarr’s biggest asset is his defensive capabilities, not only due to his size but the other one-percenters he nails each game. Scouts have identified him as a mobile interior player that covers ground quickly and effectively.

After the hype of Victor Wembanyama’s rise to the NBA as an incredibly athletic 7-foot-4 center that can shoot the lights out and defender most positions, the NBA is clearly after players that can replicate this output — and Alex Sarr seems to be next.

The reports on him is that he has the potential to be a high-level interior defender in the NBA that is able to switch between the power forward and center roles. It seems people envision him to be a top end defensive talent, rather than a main scoring option.

However, on the offensive end, he can put the ball on the floor and score with ease at times because of how talented he is for someone his size.

He has the ability to stretch is offensive talent beyond the 3-point line, but so far this season with the Wildcats he’s only attempting a couple a game and averaging less than one made.

Does he have any weaknesses?

‘Consistency is key’ – a saying that’s been around forever, and is something that rings true for Alex Sarr heading forward.

In the NBL, he hasn’t dominated as much as you would expect someone of his height and ability to do, but that could be excused for a number of reasons — low playing minutes (15-20), guard-heavy game plan meaning he gets less ball, and injuries.

Shooting efficiency is another one where the Frenchman could improve. As a big man that’ll spend time competing in the paint, he’s going to get fouled a lot a needs to step up at the free throw line where he’s bee underwhelming, making 62% of his attempts, and since he’s versatile, 3-point shooting is something that he needs to work on, boasting a percentage of 33%.

ESPN reports that scouts have question marks surrounding his physicality and toughness, with his rebounding stats way too low for someone his size (averaging 4 in NBL), not punishing defender around the rim, and sometimes shying from contact.

When is the 2024 NBA Draft?

June 26 & 27, 2024

The NBA has decided to split the NBA Draft into two nights starting from this year, with the first round (picks 1-30) to be done on June 26 and the rest selected on June 27.

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