There seems to be a certain amount of unknown with most of the popular international prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft. Dante Exum is the main one that’s discussed, but Dario Saric’s name is also floating out there. He’s been pegged as a possible selection for the 76ers at the No. 10 selection, so it’s only right to take a look at his game.
To start off, Saric is a 6-foot-10 forward that tips the sclaes at 223 lbs. He’s 20 years old and last played in the Adriatic League — Saric is from Croatia. While Saric has good size, unfortunately his height is the same as his wingspan. He suffers from very short arms, which can really limit him on the defensive end. Saric is also a bit slow laterally, which makes it difficult for him to defend on the perimeter. He will probably never be known as a lockdown defender in the NBA.
What he lacks in size and height, Saric really picks back up in intangibles. Saric is a competitor, he runs the floor very hard and is an excellent rebounder. He has no problem boxing out constantly, which explains why he averaged 9.7 rebounds per game this season. Crashing the offensive glass is also something that Saric will constantly do — he averaged over two offensive rebounds per game.
His potential on the boards sets Saric up as a perfect point-forward candidate. With all of the wings in this draft, none have really been discussed as having a point-forward skill set; this set’s Saric apart from the competition. In the Adriatic League, Saric averaged 3.2 assists per game. All in all, Saric is an offensive threat, which sets him up perfectly for drive-and-dish plays.
Saric averaged 16.7 points per game, shooting 50 percent from the floor and 35 percent from deep. Shooting from deep isn’t his speciality, but he is capable of knocking shots down from beyond-the-arc. This sets Saric up perfectly to get to the bucket, which is something he is excellent at. For his 6-foot-10 size, Saric possesses some nice handles, which give him the ability to split defenders and easily move past slower defenders. Saric seems to always find a way to put the ball in the hoop.
Another positive about Dario Saric is his combination of experience and youth. He’s only 20 years old, but he was an active participant at the European Championships last summer. He’s been playing professionally since he’s been 16, which bodes well for his move to the NBA.
However, the most difficult thing to peg about Saric is when he’s going to come over. His agent told DraftExpress that, “at this moment he believes that is better to stay in Europe for a season or two, to get a taste of the Euroleague, and then to enter the NBA when he has more experience.”
A team like Philadelphia probably wouldn’t mind if Saric decided to stay overseas for another season or two. The Sixers are in no rush to compete. Even though the 76ers do have plenty of minutes to give to Saric if he lands in red and blue. No one really knows what will make Saric come over, which could hurt his draft stock if a solid decision isn’t made by draft night.
It’s hard to ignore the unique and versatile skill set that Saric possesses. What Saric lacks in athleticism, he picks back up with his adept basketball IQ and ability to score, rebound, and facilitate. He will have problems defending in isolation, which is troubling when you realize that most of the prolific scorers in this league are at the forward position.
Saric’s 6-foot-10 wingspan mean that it’s almost a certainty that he can’t guard opposing power forwards. He would be eaten alive and taken to church night in and night out. He’s a tweener on defense, so it’s hard to figure out where he really fits on that side of the ball. This is why a pairing of Jabari Parker and Dario Saric is almost impossible; someone has to defend eventually.
Overall, Saric is a great prospect. It’s encouraging that he has loads of hustle and a great motor, which pick up for his physical shortcomings. He’s a capable shooter, even if his jumper looks a little flat. Saric is one of the best scorers in this draft, which help’s a lot when considering that he has point-forward potential. I’m not sure if the Sixers want to take the ball out of Michael Carter-Williams hands at that point.
Well, enough from me, what about you…do you think the 76ers should take a chance on Dario Saric?