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NBA Mock Draft: Blazers Select 3 French Prospects, Including Alexandre Sarr

Alexandre Sarr may be the top prospect in the upcoming NBA Draft.

G League Fall Invitational - G League Ignite v Perth Wildcats Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers may only be a quarter of the way through the regular season, but the rebuilding franchise has its sights set on the upcoming NBA Draft.

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman compiled a full two-round mock draft where the Blazers had the No. 4 overall pick amongst four selections. Here’s a look at who the team took:

No. 4 pick Alexandre Sarr, Perth Wildcats/France

Eighteen games into the NBL season, and Alexandre Sarr’s strengths and weaknesses are mostly well-defined. Whoever drafts him will be banking on defensive versatility, rim protection and easy baskets powered by his 7’1” size and athleticism.

The gamble would be on his offensive development, with Sarr just 18 years old, showing shooting range and some limited ability to handle in space, attack closeouts or make touch shots around the key.

But at this stage, he isn’t advanced offensively in any one area, which does make him a risky pick at No. 1. No obvious All-Star among the pack should keep Sarr locked into this first tier of prospects, with his defensive upside creating a high floor and his room to grow as a face-up weapon and shotmaking fueling the upside.

No. 11 pick (via Warriors) Tidjuane Salaun, Cholet/France

Tidjane Salaun instantly pops when he’s hitting threes, and he’s found his range lately with 13 triples over Cholet’s last four games.

Otherwise, he does lean heavily on tools and athleticism to make plays as a finisher and disruptor on defense, as he hasn’t showcased creation, passing or shot-blocking. But the combination of 6’8” size, shotmaking, explosion and age is starting to look too tempting after the first two tiers of prospects.

No. 36 pick (via Hornets) Melvin Ajinca, Saint-Quentin/France

With 10 threes over Saint-Quinten’s last three games, Melvin Ajinca has been able to showcase a stroke that he’s going to try to ride into the first round. He’s almost exclusively a catch-and-shoot wing, but he’s also hit 10-of-19 jumpers off screens, and despite offering minimal creation or playmaking, teams could potentially see a 6’7”, plug-and-play shotmaker.

No. 39 pick (via Hawks) Izan Almansa, G League Ignite

Izan Almansa will have a difficult time luring first-round suitors without any translatable half-court creation, shooting or plus athletic traits. His age should buy him time with some scouts, but the most realistic outlook pictures an energy big valued for instincts and hustle for play-finishing and earning second-chance points.

In last year’s Blazers draft class, they selected players both from France and G League Ignite, so these are four prospects definitely worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.

BE community, what do you think of the above prospects? Chime off in the comments below.