Top 5 underrated defenders in 2024 NBA Draft ft. Alex Sarr

Joe Cox
Devin Carter and Reed Sheppard are two outstanding defenders entered in the 2024 NBA Draft.
Devin Carter and Reed Sheppard are two outstanding defenders entered in the 2024 NBA Draft.

In the flash of the NBA Draft, teams are obsessed with scoring, passing and ball-handling. Too often neglected is the other side of the game. Defense, after all, is a pivotal part of basketball at any level. But here are five potential Draft picks who could surprise on defense.

Top 5 underrated defenders in 2024 NBA Draft

Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter could be an unsung defensive standout in the NBA.
Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter could be an unsung defensive standout in the NBA.

1.Alex Sarr

The only people who would underrate Sarr are those who don't know him. But since he's a French player who most recently played in Australia, many might not be familiar with him. But suffice it to say, defense is his top skill and he may be the No. 1 pick in the entire Draft.

Sarr is a 7-footer with excellent shot blocking skills. He's long, athletic, and able to change the game defensively. Sarr still needs to work on his rebounding, but his shot blocking skills will be a day one point of emphasis in his pro career.

2. Reed Sheppard

Sheppard doesn't look like a great defender. He's just 6-foot-1. And while he's clearly quick, he's not the fastest player ever. But he's a smart defender who can often take advantage of his opponents.

For one thing, he's a surprisingly good shot-blocker, averaging nearly a block per game. His steals total was the second highest single-season total in Kentucky history. Sheppard is a disruptive defender and could be a star on that front in the NBA.

3. Zaccahrie Risacher

Risacher is a talented French wing player. One of the oldest chestnuts of prospect evaluation is that European players are defensively soft or disinterested. It's also increasingly errant, and Risacher is another point of proof in that discussion.

Risacher did well in his previous experience, banging against bigger players down low and using his quickness to stick with smaller players. Risacher is still light, but he's not a bad defender at all. With some good coaching, he's a potential defensive difference maker in the NBA.

4. Devin Carter

Carter is a classic case where defensively, the sum of the parts is greater than the individual elements. He's just 6-foot-2 and will generally be outmatched in size. But it never seems to bother Carter, who is a surprisingly good shot blocker, averaging a block per game last year.

Carter is sharp on steals, picking up 1.8 per game. But his main skill is just making life miserable for his defensive matchup. Carter isn't the most attention-grabbing defender, but he is rock solid. A guy whose physical dimensions should make him a negative is actually a positive on defense.

5. Ja'Kobe Walter

The Baylor standout has shown flashes of elite defensive ability. A 6-foot-4 guard, Walter averaged 1.1 steals per game last season. Walter has a 6-foot-10 wingspan which will help him against guards who are bigger.

Walter wasn't an elite defender at Baylor, but between his athleticism and his wingspan, he has the tools to improve. With the right coaching, Walter can improve his consistency and be an excellent defender at the NBA level.

Which outstanding defenders are you looking forward to seeing in the NBA? Let us hear your input below in the comments section!

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Edited by Debasish
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