Projected lottery picks Alex Sarr, Donovan Clingan among players declaring for NBA Draft


With the NCAA season wrapped up, the rush of players declaring for the NBA Draft is on — and Friday some of the biggest names and expected lottery picks threw their names into the mix.

Four potential lottery picks — Alex Sarr, Donovan Clingan, Kyle Filipowski and Matas Buzelis — officially entered the 2024 NBA Draft on Friday.

Clingan is a name familiar to hoop fans as he just led UConn to another NCAA championship. Unsurprisingly, he’s entering the draft after that run of play.

When healthy this season, Clingan was one of the best players in college basketball — we saw that in the NCAA Tournament when he averaged 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks a game. His play in the tournament shot him up draft boards, maybe into the top five. Clingan returned to college this season and showed off improved mobility, particularly on the pick-and-roll and in transition defense, and he is seen as a rim-running, paint-protecting big with a pretty high floor.

Sarr is a 7’1″ center out of France who played this past season for the Perth Wildcats in the Australian NBL, and told ESPN he was entering the draft, as expected.

Some teams are rumored to have Sarr on top of their draft boards but — however the NBA Draft Lottery shakes out — he is not expected to fall below No. 3. Sarr stood out in games against the G-League Ignite back in September, where he averaged 21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6 blocks across the two games, and that’s what shot him up draft boards.

Sarr’s production was more modest for Perth, averaging 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks coming off the bench for one of the top teams in the NBL. Sarr projects as an elite defender and paint protector, he’s a high-flier around the rim who can switch out onto guards and generally shrinks the floor. His offense is a work in progress and that’s what has some teams a little hesitant — he’s not a great screen setter and rim runner yet, and his shot isn’t consistent enough yet for a pick-and-pop game, either. He needs to get stronger and to polish up his offensive game, but he has the athleticism and attributes that can’t be taught. The potential is there.

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski is another big entering the draft.

Filipowski’s game fits the way the NBA is evolving. He is a 6’11” stretch big who averaged 17.1 points and shot 35% from 3 this season. He has shown some handles, moves his feet well on defense, and projects at the NBA level as a big off-the-bench who can give a team a solid 15+ minutes a night. He’s projected to be drafted in the late lottery or just after.

Someone projected to be selected higher than that is Matt Buzelis, a 6’10” forward who averaged 14.1 points and 6.6 rebounds for the G-League Ignite last season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Buzelis declared for the draft. He is long, athletic, and played a high IQ game on an Ignite team without the guard play to help set Buzelis up to really succeed — although he did show some promise as a playmaker and passer himself. His defense improved this season as well. He is projected as a top-10 pick come June.



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