2026 NBA Draft

And-Ones: Sarr, Haslem, Rivers, Dybantsa, More

Perth Wildcats center Alexandre Sarr is turning heads with his play, showcasing a wide range of skills, including elite rim protection and rebounding, and looking like a potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, ESPN’s Olgun Uluc writes.

Sarr is 7’1″ with a 7’5″ wingspan, according to Uluc, and he flashed that length, along with great timing, defense in space, and the ability to knock down shots in September’s showcase between the G League Ignite and the Wildcats. Sarr put up 17 points, seven rebounds and six blocks in the first matchup between the two teams and then 26 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and three assists in the next.

I don’t call myself a unicorn, but I think that’s something that’s important for me,” Sarr said. “To be able to do everything on the court. I’m a versatile big. I can play on ball, off ball, can shoot threes, crash the glass. Then, on defense, [I can] guard most positions, I think… I always try to make the right play, and play the game the right way.

According to Uluc, Sarr is trying to silence past criticism by showing off a high motor and is hoping to improve his overall stamina as the year goes on. In the first three games of Australia’s National Basketball League season, Sarr is averaging 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks, along with shooting 71.4% from the field and 66.7% from deep. His play and maturity at 18 years old have stood out to his teammates, who are high on his potential.

There’s not like a ceiling,” teammate Jordan Usher said. “Only thing I told him was to continue to work hard and be yourself, because I’m really excited to see what NBA team gets him, because they really have a ball of clay. A true ball of clay.

Sarr came in at No. 4 on ESPN’s latest 2024 NBA mock draft.

We have more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former Heat forward Udonis Haslem spent 20 straight seasons with Miami, but now he’s tackling a new line of work, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Haslem served as a guest analyst on TNT’s broadcast of Miami’s preseason game against the Spurs on Friday night. He also appeared on CBS Sports HQ as an NBA analyst earlier in October and intends to continue pursuing broadcasting work. “I have thoughts on the game, I have respect around the league, and I’m going to shoot it straight,” Haslem said. “I’ve had people tell me a lot of times that’s something I should look into. It’s just something I’m comfortable doing and I think it will be fun. I’m looking forward to the new challenge. I’ve been so comfortable for so long. This is something that really takes me out of my comfort zone.
  • After being let go by the Sixers, Doc Rivers is now an analyst at ESPN. In an interview with Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (subscriber link), Rivers takes a look back at his summer and explains why he needed a break from the sidelines after 24 straight years as an NBA head coach. “I’ve done things this summer that I had not been able to do in more than 20 years,” he said. “Traveling to Paris, spending a lot of time in the Vineyard, going to Ireland. And when you go on vacation, there’s no phone ringing. It’s been phenomenal. Clearly something I didn’t know I needed.”
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony shares his impressions of several high school prospects who took part in a USA Basketball junior national team mini-camp last weekend. Notably, Givony reiterates that A.J. Dybantsa, who recently reclassified to the recruiting class of 2025, looks like the early frontrunner to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2026 NBA draft.
  • Howard Beck of The Ringer poses five questions that will define the 2023/24 season, including how patient Joel Embiid will be with the Sixers, how the NBA’s new rules impacting player rest will affect the regular season, and whether or not the Heat have a blockbuster move they can make.

And-Ones: Dybantsa, Weatherspoon, Breakout Candidates, More

A.J. Dybantsa, a 6’8″ wing from Massachusetts and one of the top high school prospects in the country, intends to reclassify to the 2025 recruiting class, as Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com writes. Dybantsa had previously been the No. 1 player in ESPN’s 2026 recruiting rankings. Now, he becomes the favorite to be selected first overall in the 2026 NBA draft, according to Borzello.

As Borzello explains, Dybantsa, Cooper Flagg, and Cameron Boozer are widely considered the best high school prospects in the country. When ESPN asked 20 college coaches and NBA evaluators to rank the trio this summer, Dybantsa earned seven first-place votes and placed second behind Flagg, who is the frontrunner to be the top pick in the 2025 draft.

“Dybantsa is just the most complete,” one coach told ESPN. “Scores at all three levels. Super athletic. He’s the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft whenever he goes.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the league:

  • Former Pelicans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon will be the next head coach of the WNBA’s Chiacgo Sky, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The former WNBA star was an assistant in New Orleans for four seasons before the team parted ways with her in June.
  • In John Schuhmann’s general manager poll, two players received more votes than Magic forward Franz Wagner for this season’s top breakout candidate. However, Wagner sits atop the list compiled by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who spoke to 25 executives around the NBA and has shared the top nine vote-getters. Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Rockets guard Jalen Green round out Scotto’s top three.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic lists a dozen under-the-radar NBA players whom he expects to have a real impact this season, including Celtics wing Oshae Brissett, Nuggets forward Peyton Watson, Thunder guard Vasilije Micic, and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall.
  • The Capital City Go-Go have traded the returning rights to Isaiah Mucius to the Delaware Blue Coats along with a 2024 first-round pick and 2023 second-round pick in the G League draft. In exchange, the Sixers‘ G League affiliate has sent Michael Foster Jr.‘s returning rights to the Wizards‘ affiliate, the Go-Go announced today (via Twitter).