2024 NBA Mock Draft: Timberwolves grab seasoned prospect, Wizards reach for center

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four
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As the postseason marches on, NBA Draft season has just begun. The Minnesota Timberwolves punched their tickets to the Western Conference Finals by defeating the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 on Sunday night.

The squads joining the Timberwolves will be the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers. Just as four teams hoping to compete for the Larry O'Brien trophy have come to an end, their sights have now been redirected to the draft. Two more will follow in the coming weeks, before the final two after the conclusion of the NBA Finals.

As it stands, 26 teams have nothing else to look forward to besides the offseason. With the draft up first, we'll project each squad's first-round selection based on team need and positional fit. Without further ado, the first mock draft of a three-part series.

1. Atlanta Hawks - Alexandre Sarr, Perth

The unanimous number one prospect in the draft is Alexandre Sarr. The 7-foot big man is the NBA's next unicorn. He's not as accomplished as the unicorns of seasons past, however. The 19-year-old center averaged 9.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game as a Perth Wildcat.

First and foremost, no matter what team won the lottery—Sarr was the likeliest choice. His combination of size, finesse, and foot speed make this selection an easy one. Like last year's first overall pick, Sarr should come in and make a difference on the defensive end. He's a talented, versatile defender. Sarr excels in drop coverage, as a help defender, and when defending guards and wings.

Sarr doesn't move like a 7-footer. He covers space extremely well—even better than most forwards. One of the 7-footer's best defensive showings was during a one-on-one matchup with fellow lottery prospect Ron Holland. In the possession, Sarr switched onto the 6-foot-8 Holland who barreled down the lane full speed. Sarr stuck with the Ignite star and swatted his shot off the glass.

The former Wildcats center's defense is further along than his offense. He's a premier interior threat due to his massive catch radius and quick leaping ability. Sarr is still improving his perimeter game. The potential first-overall pick shot just 29.8 percent on 47 3-point attempts this past season. His shot isn't the most fluid, but shooting 71.4 percent from the foul line bodes well for continued progress.

Furthermore, his skill level does usher some taller, Bam Adebayo comparisons. A Jaren Jackson Jr comparison is also valid, due to the two-way big versatility. Sarr is reminiscent of Adebayo as a short-roll playmaker. Before the bewilderment sets in, the former Kentucky star averaged just 0.8 assists as a freshman in college. Sarr averaged 0.9 assists but displayed a keen passing ability.