With all four of Oklahoma City’s 10-day signees expiring their deals last week, the evaluation window for inspecting G League talent had concluded. However, with Isaiah Roby jumping into the health and safety protocols, the Thunder opted to add a returning face back into the mix.
The Thunder announced on Sunday that center Olivier Sarr was being signed to a second 10-day contract. For Sarr, his strides in the pros have come at a pace much faster than the typical G League rookie.
After collegiate play at Wake Forest and Kentucky, Sarr failed to hear his name called in the 2021 NBA Draft. Instead of electing to go the overseas route, the Frenchman stuck with an NBA path, signing an Exhibit-10 deal with the Blue after showing promising moments in NBA Summer League.
During the Blue’s pool play of games, Sarr struggled to fetch minutes over the likes of Roby, DJ Wilson, and Paul Watson Jr., among others – only averaging a mere 14.1 minutes in his 14 games of play. However, the big man impressed in his short bursts, harvesting 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in this sample.
While with the Thunder, the former Wildcat proved his skills could translate to the league.
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Sarr’s first 10-day deal saw the 7-footer electrify the Thunder “bench mob” in his debut as in just 12 minutes, he tallied four points, five rebounds, and two blocks – both coming within 45 seconds of each other.
The big man’s athletic ability has been the most dazzling part of his play both at the collegiate and NBA level. As an offensive figure, Sarr dominates as a rim runner in pick-and-roll sets, as with some sneaky speed in his repertoire – the Frenchman stars in both alley-oop conversions and buckets off of dump offs. Additionally, his verticality also taps into the defensive end of things as the 7-footer is prone to sky up for chase down blocks, often leading in clashes at the rim, or goat lending violations. The main takeaway – Sarr is not afraid of anybody around the basket.
Since concluding his initial 10-day deal, the big man took part in the Blue’s first regular-season game, dominating in a career-high 27 minutes en route to 13 points, 19 rebounds and one broken basketball goal.
Given Sarr is only 22-year-old and fills a much-needed hole in the frontcourt, there is a real possibility he will both garner minutes and, if he impresses, spark a potential contract battle as a two-way candidate.