5 Questions Answered About Alexandre Sarr and the Spurs

Alexandre Sarr and the San Antonio Spurs aren’t a pairing that has generated much discussion leading up to the 2024 NBA Draft. While the Spurs have two lottery picks at No. 4 and No. 8, it appears very unlikely that Sarr will end up in San Antonio — mostly because he’s expected to be either the first or second pick in the draft.

Despite the long odds, let’s ponder the admittedly remote chance that the Spurs end up with Sarr.

1. Why is Alexandre Sarr the Favorite to be Drafted No. 1?

There is a lot to like about the 19-year-old native of France. He most recently played in the Australian National Basketball League and had a very good season. The teenager played only 18 minutes per game but was highly impactful in that role. 

Sarr averaged 9.6 points per game while hitting half of his attempts from the field and blocking 1.5 shots per game. Offensively, he looked comfortable out on the perimeter and was clearly athletic enough to be a finisher in the paint. Defensively, he was really stout near the hoop and his footspeed out on the perimeter was really impressive for his size.

Speaking of Sarr’s size, his measurements at the NBA combine turned heads. He’s approximately 7-foot-1 in shoes with a 7-foot-4-plus wingspan. He jumped high on top of having a 9-foot-2 reach and weighing a respectable 224 pounds. 

All in all, Sarr is the type of physical specimen that is only available in the lottery portion of the draft. He has enviable length, a healthy amount of athleticism and enough feel for the game that he should be able to impact winning early in his NBA career.

2. Why Isn’t Alexandre Sarr Generating More Excitement?

Sarr is a high-quality big man prospect but he’s not an elite prospect. Judging against other No. 1 selections in history, what Sarr brings to the table is underwhelming. Most scouts are in agreement that he’s generally what you’d expect to draft in the No. 5 to No. 10 range.

Defensively, Sarr’s rebounding left a lot to be desired. His rebounding within crowds was especially sub par. While Sarr blocked shots well, he was routinely pushed around by older bigs. Although that’s to be expected when scouting teenage prospects, his lack of physicality was worrisome at times.

Offensively, Sarr hit only 27.6% of his three-pointers. Add in his middling 70.7% shooting from the free throw line and it’s not a certainty that he ever becomes a league average three-point shooter in the NBA.

While Sarr limited his turnovers while playing in Australia, he didn’t show a notable amount of playmaking or ball-handling chops. Overall, the Frenchman looks like a safe bet to be a really good defensive player, particularly near the rim. On the other end, it’s not immediately clear if he has a realistic path to transforming himself into an above average offensive weapon. 

3. Should the Spurs Automatically Pick Alexandre Sarr if he is Available at No. 4?

First of all, it’s definitely unlikely that Sarr drops to the Spurs. If he doesn’t go first overall to the Atlanta Hawks, the Washington Wizards would likely pick him at No. 2. 

That said, it’s not impossible that the top three could go something like Donovan Clingan to the Hawks, Zaccharie Risacher to the Wizards and Reed Sheppard to the Houston Rockets. Alternatively, the Hawks could pick Risacher and the Wizards could go with a player like Nikola Topic.

As it stands, I’d put the chances of Sarr dropping to No. 4 at less than 5%. But even if he does fall, I don’t think he’s 100% an automatic pick. 

Sarr is a good prospect but he’s on the same tier as a lot of players in this draft. It wouldn’t be difficult to justify the Spurs going with a handful of other prospects over Sarr. To name a few, cases can be made that Stephon Castle, Reed Sheppard, Nikola Topic and even 164-pound Robert Dillingham are more valuable to the Spurs than Sarr. 

4. Would Alexandre Sarr be a Good Pick for the Spurs at No. 4?

Sure. If Sarr drops to the Spurs and the Spurs pick him, it’d be very difficult to complain. Getting a high-end defensive prospect at No. 4 would be a good get in this draft. 

Sarr’s fit next to Wembanyama wouldn’t be the cleanest because both players will likely be best at center for the next season or two, at least. But if Wembanyama and Sarr eventually learn how to play next to each other, they could theoretically form one of the best defensive duos in league history.

5. Should the Spurs Try to Trade Up to Draft Alexandre Sarr?

Probably not. I don’t think that’d make a whole lot of sense. Trading No. 4 and another first rounder for Sarr would likely be too risky due to the fact of the uneven pairing of the two Frenchmen. I certainly would be against the Spurs trading No. 4 and No. 8 in order to secure Sarr.

No. 4 and a haul of second round picks for Sarr? Yeah, that’d be fine — but that’s about the extent of how far the Spurs should extend. Otherwise, it’d be best to simply pick another player on the same tier who wouldn’t arrive in San Antonio with fit-related concerns.