2024 NBA Mock Draft: Raptors win the Lottery, Kentucky guards plummet

It's time for another 2024 NBA Mock Draft! This version has the Raptors picking first, the Spurs taking another Frenchman, and Kentucky's guards plummeting.
Jesse Wagstaff, Alex Sarr, Perth Wildcats and Matas Buzelis, Ron Holland, G League Ignite
Jesse Wagstaff, Alex Sarr, Perth Wildcats and Matas Buzelis, Ron Holland, G League Ignite / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
2 of 15

1. Toronto Raptors select Alex Sarr

The Toronto Raptors would have much rather landed the No. 1 overall pick in a year with a clearcut top prospect, but in this scenario they at least get to keep their pick and look at the entire draft class to find their selection. Even if the odds of landing a future MVP are low, the best cast of those odds would come with the first pick. The Raptors have a nine percent chance of leaping up to No. 1, so it's realistic they could land there after Sunday's Draft Lottery.

There is a case for taking a different player here as the Raptors have Jakob Poeltl on the roster as the starting center. If the Raptors evaluate the entire class and conclude Nikola Topic or Stephon Castle or any other prospect is the best one, they should take that player; when you are drafting first overall you need to take the best player and decrease the influence of team context as much as possible.

While there is a lack of consensus around this draft class, the frontrunner to be the top player on most draft boards is Alex Sarr, a French center playing with the Perth Wildcats of Austrlaia's NBL this season. At 7'1" tall and just 19 years old, he has the makings of a long-term two-way impact player at center.

Sarr is an elite shot-blocker and paint protector with the mobility to switch out onto the perimeter or defend in space, making him a better defensive prospect than fellow center prospect Donovan Clingan. On offense he has great touch as a finisher and shoots well at the stripe; it's very possible he adds a reliable 3-point shot. If that happens, he goes from a plus starter at center to a game-changing addition, and that skillset would fit particularly well alongside Scottie Barnes.

If the Raptors do land with the first pick and take Sarr, they can then turn around and find a trade partner for Jakob Poeltl. Here is one example of a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to open up space for Sarr to play right away.