"He flies around the court, both as a rim protector and in help rotations."

18 Nov

Could an NBL Next Star be the first pick at this year's NBA Draft? The latest Mock Draft from The Athletic's Sam Vecenie affirms that could definitely be the case. 

Alex Sarr has been on an upward trajectory ever since he signed with the Perth Wildcats in May.

Already touted as a first round NBA draft prospect at the time, Sarr's star has risen again and again over the past few months.

Whether it be his performances against the G League Ignite, during the Blitz on the Gold Coast, or across the first seven rounds of the NBL season, the 18-year-old has taken all before him.

Now, according to Vecenie, Sarr looms as a legitimate option as the number one overall pick at the NBA Draft. 

"He’s looked the best of the guys who have played in games so far, and the guys who have played so far are the ones in this class with the upside that most enthuse scouts," Vecenie said. 

"Sarr is a little more than 7-foot tall with real length, but his athletic fluidity is more important, as he slides his feet incredibly well for a big man. A big phrase gaining buzz in NBA scouting circles right now is "ground coverage". In today’s NBA, where there is more shooting than ever and better, more well-spaced offenses, it is essential for great defense to be able to cover as much ground as possible. The ability to do so through length and movement, whether in off-ball help defense or in switching on the ball, is a differentiator for prospects.

"Sarr covers ground on defense better than any player in this class. He flies around the court, both as a rim protector and in help rotations."

Across 10 games this season, Sarr has averaged 9.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and a block, playing 18.5 minutes a night. 

He scored a season-high 17 points in the Wildcats' win over Melbourne United last week.

The French sensation isn't the only Next Star getting attention, with Cairns Taipans star Bobi Klintman projected at pick 20, Illawarra Hawk AJ Johnson at 43 and Melbourne United's Ariel Hukporti climbing up the rankings to 49.

But it's the Sydney Kings' Alex Toohey who's enjoyed the most meteoric rise in recent months, ranked at number 30 by Vecenie.

Toohey has averaged 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds across ten appearances this season and at just 19 years of age, his ceiling is incredibly high.


Sydney head coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah piled praise on the youngster after his strong performance over the weekend.

“I truly think he’s talented and everyone can see that and the skills he has, but the way he plays, his ability to guard one through five, I’m not sure who else can do that,” Abdelfattah said.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">?????? <br>UPDATED 2024 NBA MOCK DRAFT. <br>??????<br><br>An explanation of the top of the draft as well as a top-58 right now. Where we&#39;re at one week into the CBB season and headed into Champions Classic tomorrow.<a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) <a href="">November 13, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Read the full story here >> NBA Mock Draft: Alexandre Sarr at No. 1 (for now); two Duke Blue Devils in top 10

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