Wednesday, February 21, 2024

2024 NBA Mock Draft: French star Alex Sarr goes No. 1; Kentucky has two players in top four

2024 NBA Mock Draft: French star Alex Sarr goes No. 1; Kentucky has two players in top four

Sarr, an 18-year-old center could make the jump from the NBL to the NBA

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Every NBA Draft produces at least one All-Star — even the worst NBA Drafts. So don’t let anybody tell you that the 2024 NBA Draft is so weak that there’s not a future star available. Because there is. There always is. But good luck trying to correctly identify who that player will be.

It feels a little like 2013.

There could be a Giannis Antetokounmpo or Rudy Gobert type of talent emerge from this draft the way those future Naismith Memorial Hall of Famers emerged from that draft. But somebody really might select the next Anthony Bennett first instead. In other words, there’s a future star in here somewhere but nobody who could reasonably be described as a can’t-miss prospect like Victor Wembenyama was labeled this time last year. That’s why you’ll probably see as many as five different prospects slotted to go first in mock drafts between now and the time commissioner Adam Silver announces the first pick on June 26. To wit, consider that my colleague Kyle Boone has Isaiah Collier going first in his latest mock draft while I don’t even have the USC freshman in my top five. I’m not saying I’m right and Boone is wrong. I’m just saying reasonable minds can disagree on just about any of these dudes.

So which direction am I leaning?

At this point, I’m going with Alex Sarr — the 18 year-old center from France who is currently playing in Australasia’s National Basketball League. He’s a big and athletic versatile defender with a nice motor who can switch onto smaller players, guard in space and rim-protect. He checks all of those boxes. Offensively, Sarr remains more of an around-the-rim big than a stretch-the-floor big. Again, he’s not perfect. But with less than five months left until the draft, Sarr has emerged, at least in my eyes, as the prospect most likely to go first in June.

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