Projected No. 1 pick opens up about potentially playing for Hawks

Alexandre Sarr, the current projected No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft, spoke candidly about possibly playing for the Atlanta Hawks next season.
Hawks projected No. 1 pick Alexandre Sarr
Hawks projected No. 1 pick Alexandre Sarr / COLIN MURTY/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks are widely projected to take French big man Alexandre Sarr with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft.

There is no consensus on who the top pick should be just yet. But Sarr’s name is one most often at the top of media draft boards. And the Hawks could use what he brings to the table, particularly on the defensive end.

The idea of joining the Hawks also appeals to the 7-foot Sarr.

“I’m really excited,” Sarr said, per Andscape’s Marc J. Spears on May 13. “The Hawks are an exciting organization. They are trending in the right direction. It’s great that they have the No. 1 pick.”

Sarr averaged 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and just a tick under 1.0 assists per game for the Perth Wildcats of the NBL (Australia) last season.

He is billed as an athletic, dynamic defender. 

But one that comes with plenty of room for growth on the offensive end, particularly as a shooter. Sarr shot 52% from the floor. But his 71% mark at the free throw line suggests greater heights are possible with refinement.

“I bring a lot of versatility,” Sarr said, per Spears. “I can really make an impact. I am a game changer defensively.”

Sarr is also familiar with the area, having spent two seasons in the G League (2021-22 and 2022-23) Overtime Elite, which is based in Atlanta.

The Hawks have several options on how they could integrate Sarr into the group.

Hawks can utilize Alexandre Sarr in various ways

He is listed at just 217 pounds. That could – and probably should be expected to – rise by the time he hits an NBA court for a game. But he could still be a ways away from manning the pivot on a regular basis.

Sarr could back up current starting center Clint Capela. Or if the Hawks trade Capela, Onyeka Okongwu can start and share minutes with the talented youngster.

There is even a world where Sarr and Okongwu share the floor alongside Jalen Johnson.

Okongwu began extending his shooting range last season while Johnson’s efficiency recovered from a mid-season dip to see him shoot nearly 42% over the final 10 games of the regular season.

Hawks general manager Landry Fields made no commitments about keeping or trading the pick. 

But it can’t hurt to have Sarr’s buzz start to pick up. 

Fields noted the versatility landing the pick affords the Hawks in what has already been a pivotal offseason for the organization and for him at the helm of it all. In addition to the draft pick, the Hawks have to determine the futures of their star backcourt, Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

There are few players – perhaps only Jalen Johnson – who are believed to be off limits in trade talks, signaling a willingness to make a bold change in directions.

But Quin Snyder is still the head coach.

It would make sense for any move they make to help them now nearly as much if not so as it would set them up for the future. And if they plan on keeping one of the star guards, winning in the interim becomes even more paramount.

Young has leaned into his desire to win and Murray has been clear he prefers winning to individual stats.