Analyzing Alex Sarr in Three NBL Postseason Games

April 23rd, 2024

By Alan Lu

I also wanted to take the time to watch Perth’s 7-1 center, Alex Sarr play, to see how he fared in the NBL postseason games.   He’s a projected top 5 pick, and after having a couple of tremendous exhibition games against the G-League Ignite and having a very good NBL Blitz, he’s kept his draft stock afloat.  He’s been used as more of a rotational big man in the NBL, and while he’s still a shot-blocking force that helped Perth on both ends of the floor, he hasn’t quite shot the ball as well from the outside.  I wanted to see how well he would play in the postseason to get more insights into his overall game.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch a whole postseason basketball game of his, as that doesn’t seem to be readily available online, but I was able to watch extended highlights of the three postseason games he played in that took place in March 8th, 11th, and 13th between Perth and Tasmania, with thanks to YouTube via ESPN Australia.  Here are my thoughts on how Alex Sarr fared in that game, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Mostly in the three playoff games, Alex Sarr was used as a very tall, athletic and energetic center that would make hustle plays off the bench for Perth.  Aside from the occasional drive to the hoop, passing, or ball handling, Sarr would usually just get the ball on rim runs, and he would look to use his vast length, timing, and athleticism to be a rim protector on the defensive end.  He wasn’t a featured offensive player in any of the three games, but he was impactful enough to be counted on for various stretches.

Perth’s 7-1 center, Alex Sarr had three fairly solid performances overall in his team’s playoff series against Tasmania, but his impact felt muted at times, especially on the offensive end.
(Photo: Getty Images, via CBS Sports)

Thoughts on Game 1 between Perth and Tasmania:

Alex Sarr had a solid showing in his team’s rare win over Tasmania.  This was the only playoff win his team obtained this year, and Sarr was resourceful as a finisher and shot blocker in the paint.

On offense, Sarr excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He managed to score on a floater off of a short roll.  He also would run the floor to get the ball, which allowed him to score on a thunderous dunk, and he also threw down a powerful slam another time.

He didn’t seem to grab many rebounds in this game, but Sarr was able to chase down a ball to get a defensive board.  He also almost ripped a ball away to get an offensive rebound, but he didn’t seem to be able to get the ball on that instance.

He also played adequate defense in this game.  Sarr would rotate to block shots off of drives, as he would swat them to his teammates due to possessing very good length, timing, and athleticism.  He also managed to stay in front of an opposing ball handler and contest a fadeaway jumper to force a miss.  On the downside, Sarr would occasionally get beat off the dribble when defending opponents, which led him to commit fouls and allow scores.  On another play, there was a lack of communication when they were defending a back screen, which led to a defensive breakdown, in which he sagged into the paint, but no one guarded the corner three-point shooter, so they allowed the basket that time.

Overall, Alex Sarr played fairly well in his team’s Game 1 win over Tasmania.  He is a very athletic big man that provided great energy, and he made solid hustle plays to help his team on both ends of the floor.  He didn’t show nearly as much offensive skills in this game than when he played against the G-League Ignite, and he also didn’t grab many rebounds, but Sarr was able to make some helpful contributions to get his team the victory.

Thoughts on Game 2 between Perth and Tasmania:

Alex Sarr’s performance in this game seemed to be very, very mid.  He didn’t shoot the ball well, but he did a good job of passing the ball and blocking shots, but he still hasn’t shown the diverse offensive game that he seemed to put on display in the two games he played against the G-League Ignite many months ago.

Sarr passed the ball very well, and that was one of the big bright spots for him here in this game.  He ran off the ball to get it, and Sarr later threw a sharp, bullet pass to set up a score for a teammate around the basket.  He also was able to get the ball on a short roll, and he then kicked it out to an open corner shooter due to possessing solid court vision and instincts.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  While he didn’t dominate on the glass, Sarr was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he seems to be a better offensive rebounder than defensive rebounder.  He also was able to box out on a defensive rebounding attempt once.  This was by far his best rebounding effort in the postseason, as he was able to get five boards in this game.

He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Sarr was able to rotate to block a shot hard off of a drive out of bounds, and Sarr can cover a lot of ground due to his tremendous length, athleticism, and instincts.  When defending in the high post another time, he managed to block a shot viciously to a teammate.  He did a great job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint, and he would use his length, athleticism, and timing to contest and alter shots to force numerous misses.  On the downside, sometimes he would be a bit late to get his hands up when defending the pass out on the perimeter, and it would sometimes led their team to allow scores around the basket.  When defending a pick and roll once, he went far underneath the screen, but he didn’t seem to take anything away as he gave up too much space to the opposing ball handler, and the team allowed an easy lob pass to the roll man that led to a dunk.

Overall, Sarr had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Tasmania in this game.  He didn’t shoot the ball very well, but he was able to show his talents as a passing big man and as a ferocious shot blocker.  On the downside, he seems to be a bit uncomfortable when defending out on the perimeter or in pick-and-roll situations at times, though he definitely has the athleticism and skill set to be able to do so.  His performance on the offensive end still was a bit lackluster as he hasn’t really shown the jumper or the face-up game that he displayed against the G-League Ignite many months ago, but it’s encouraging that Sarr has seemed to improve as a passer.

Thoughts on Game 3 between Perth and Tasmania:

Alex Sarr had a decent showing in his team’s Game 3 loss to Tasmania.  While he didn’t seem to showcase the jumper that he seemed to have in the G-League Ignite games, Sarr finally started to show some of that untapped scoring potential that he has deep in reserves, and he continues to shine as a shot blocker.  However, he still seemed to be a bit uncomfortable when defending out on the perimeter, though he’s obviously shown that he can guard out there when focused.

Sarr did a solid job of scoring within the limited touches he received on offense.  He was able to move around to get the ball around the basket, as he was able to slip past defenders to score while getting fouled.  He has shown that he is a strong finisher around the basket, and he plays much tougher and stronger than he looks, and even though he’s listed at just 205 pounds, which is extremely skinny for a 7 foot 1 tall big man, Sarr plays with a sense of physicality.

He also was able to score on a quick, smooth left-handed drive to the hoop.  Sarr made a quick first step and finished in traffic, and he showed some of those handles and scoring potential all in one play.

He also showed that he is a willing screen setter, and he’s shown that he can set on-ball or off-ball screens to help his team on offense.  On the downside, Sarr threw a hasty, inaccurate inbounds pass that ended getting intercepted.

He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Sarr was able to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to get at least one offensive rebound in all three postseason games that he played in.

Sarr also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He’s shown immense defensive potential, and one play captures his game-changing defensive skills.  On one play, Sarr initially seemed to misplay a long pass, but he rotates and recovers nicely as he then promptly blocks a baseline jumper hard out of bounds due to possessing great length, recovery speed, and instincts.  His tremendous recovery speed and long wingspan allows him to be a shot blocking force, and Sarr is a rangy defender that covers a lot of ground.  He also rotated to an opposing ball handler out on the perimeter, and he was able to get his hands up as he used his length to force a passing turnover.

On the downside, there was one play where he sagged too far off of an opponent when defending on a switch, as he allowed his opponent to score on an open, mid-range jumper.  Another time, he rotated but got beat off the dribble, which led to a pass that set up a three-point basket.

Overall, Alex Sarr had some really good moments in what was overall, a modestly okay performance in his team’s loss to Tasmania.  He showed more of a dribble game than in the other playoff games, and his vast length, athleticism, and shot blocking skills could enable him to be a terrific interior defender at the NBA level.  Still, his limited role on offense on Perth’s team may raise questions about how well he’ll fare offensively at the next level.All in all, Alex Sarr was okay in the three NBL postseason games he played in, but I was left wanting to see more from him offensively.  He will need to improve his outside shot and rebounding, and he’ll need to be more assertive on offense, but his vast size, athleticism, and emerging skill set should enable him to thrive as a rim runner and rim protector in the NBA.  Other than that though, it’s unclear as to how much more he’ll bring to the table than that.  I’m not quite sold on Sarr being a future NBA star, but I do think he’ll be a good player in the NBA and that he does have star potential. Most likely, he will probably end up being a solid player akin to Memphis Grizzlies’ big man, Jaren Jackson Jr. in the association.

Those are my thoughts on how Sarr fared in these games. Thanks for reading.

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