Why Alex Sarr Might Not Be Atlanta’s Top Pick

Atlanta's Top Pick
Image Credit: Alex Sarr

Alex Sarr’s basketball journey has taken him across continents, preparing him for the NBA draft in ways few others can claim. The towering 7-footer from Bordeaux, France, embarked on this odyssey at just 14, joining Real Madrid’s youth team in Spain. By 2021, he moved to Atlanta, playing for Overtime Elite, an incubator for top-tier talents like Amen and Ausar Thompson. Last season saw him down under with the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s NBL, all while finding time to visit family in Senegal. Now, he stands on the brink of potentially becoming Atlanta’s top pick in the NBA draft.

Why Alex Sarr Might Not Be Atlanta’s Top Pick

As the draft looms, Sarr is a picture of calm, lounging at the National Basketball Players Association’s headquarters in Manhattan. His future team remains a mystery, though many predict he might follow French star Victor Wembanyama to the Atlanta Hawks as the top pick. If not, the Washington Wizards might scoop him up at No. 2. Analysts compare Sarr’s versatile game to defensive stalwarts Jaren Jackson Jr. and Evan Mobley, adding a layer of intrigue to his potential.

“The beauty of this draft lies in its uncertainty,” Sarr mused on Tuesday. “In 24 hours, everything changes. I’m cherishing every moment.”

Joining Sarr at the draft’s pinnacle are French forward Zaccharie Risacher and Connecticut center Donovan Clingan. This year’s draft is a wildcard, especially after Atlanta’s unlikely lottery win. The Hawks, who had a mere 3 percent chance of snagging the No. 1 spot, now hold the key to this draft’s chaos.

The Hawks’ future strategy remains unclear. General Manager Landry Fields has fielded trade offers for the top pick but intends to keep it unless something extraordinary arises. This decision-making process encapsulates the draft’s unpredictable nature.

Risacher, averaging 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds for JL Bourg in France, represents one stylistic option. At 19, his ability to stretch the floor with a 35.2 percent three-point shooting record makes him a dynamic offensive threat. Conversely, Clingan, a 7-2 traditional center, anchored Connecticut to back-to-back national championships, showcasing his dominance with 13 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.

But it’s Sarr who stands out with his physical gifts. He glides on the court, inspired by legends like Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo. His game isn’t limited to defense; he’s worked tirelessly on his outside shot, understanding the modern big man’s role. His season stats with Perth—9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in just over 17 minutes per game—highlight his impact on both ends of the court.

Sarr’s basketball lineage is strong. His father, Massar, played professionally in France, and his older brother, Olivier, is with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sarr’s relationship with Risacher dates back to French youth tournaments, their rivalry giving way to camaraderie on the draft’s eve.

Despite his talents, Sarr remains a wildcard. He skipped a scheduled workout with the Hawks, a move hinting at his preference for other teams. This decision adds another layer of drama to the draft.

“I trust my team,” Sarr said at draft media day. “Bill Duffy and the Endeavor agency know the ropes. It’s about being drafted, not specifics.”

As the draft approaches, Sarr’s future is as open as his game. The next 24 hours will reveal where this globe-trotting talent will start his NBA journey.

Sarah Thompson
Hey there, basketball fanatics! I'm Sarah Thompson, and my world revolves around the heartbeat of the hardwood. With a background in sports journalism, I've turned my passion for the game into compelling narratives. From game-changing plays to off-court drama, I'm here to keep you in the loop. Expect insightful analyses and exclusive player interviews that dive deep into the soul of basketball. Join me on this court-side journey, where every hoop has a story to tell.

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