Is Alexandre Sarr the Charlotte Hornets' ideal draft target?

If the Hornets win the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery, which prospect should be No. 1 on their board?
Jun 22, 2023; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brandon Miller (Alabama) is greeted by NBA commissioner Adam Silver
Jun 22, 2023; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brandon Miller (Alabama) is greeted by NBA commissioner Adam Silver / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA Draft Lottery is right around the corner, taking place on May 12 in Chicago, Illinois right before the scouting combine begins.

For the Charlotte Hornets, they have a 13.3 percent chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick in what many consider to be one of the worst draft classes in recent memory. This year’s crop of prospects is filled with role player types, but the star power is bordering on nonexistent for 2024.

Even still, the Hornets must hit this lottery pick out of the park to pair another foundational core piece alongside their primary building blocks in LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller. The hardest part of the rebuilding process is done for Charlotte, thanks to their young dynamic duo, but there’s still plenty of work to do for a reshaped front office.

Coming off a disappointing 21-61 campaign, who would ideally sit atop Charlotte’s draft board? If the Hornets secure the top selection, especially in a draft class filled with unknowns, finding the best fit alongside Ball and Miller is of the upmost importance.

According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, many teams have three prospects firmly within the top-five, potentially top-two: Zaccharie Risacher (Wing - France), Alexandre Sarr (Big - France) and Donovan Clingan (Big - UConn). From there, it’s a pure toss up.

Ideally, the answer for the Hornets may have already been laid out publicly. Former head coach Steve Clifford, who is now moving into a front office advisory role, labeled Miller as a shooting guard at his end of season media availability, compared to being a small forward. If Charlotte views Miller as a backcourt piece alongside Ball as 2/3 combo, that then allows them to re-sign Miles Bridges to stay in place as a starting wing.

Assuming Mark Williams returns to full health, which is a big question still in limbo due to a lower back bone issue as Clifford outlined it, the Hornets’ center of the future is cemented as well.

So, it seems like the best fit on paper would be Sarr, right? Yes, not only that, but when you dive deeper into the lanky Frenchman’s game, he would cover up a lot of holes present within the Hornets right now.

Sarr was viewed outside the lottery entering this season, but now he’s viewed as a consensus top-three pick, if not the heavy favorite to go No. 1 overall. For the Perth Wildcats in the NBL, Sarr averaged 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. When stretched out to per-36-minute production, Sarr’s numbers as a versatile big begin to shine through more clearly: 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks.

When diving into Sarr’s tape, it’s apparent the athleticism profile oozes through the screen. At 6’11”, 220 pounds, Sarr flies up and down the court more like a wing. And his 7’4” wingspan pops on almost every possession, especially knowing how to utilize his disruptive length in the restricted area catching finishes or erasing shots.

In Charlotte, Sarr would have little pressure on him offensively but would be key anchoring the other end of the court next to Williams. Honestly, Sarr is an amazing fit into Charlotte’s young core as their ultra-versatile 4/5 who can guard four positions in a switch-heavy scheme.

Envisioning a Hornets rotation with Sarr really helps fortify for their rotation for 2024-25. Capping off their starting unit, plus flexibility to add more depth in free agency or trades, Charlotte would be well on their way to snapping their postseason drought.

Starters = LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller, Miles Bridges, Alexandre Sarr, Mark Williams

Second Unit = Vasilije Micic, Tre Mann, Cody Martin, Grant Williams

Stay tuned to Swarm & Sting as 2024 NBA Draft coverage will ramp up to high gear. One week away from the lottery, plus a little over six weeks away from the event itself, this will be one of the more important drafts for the Hornets to seize some positive momentum for a hopeful long-term outlook of sustained success.