Before current 76ers head coach Brett Brown was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers last summer, he was an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich from 2002-2013. The Maine native saw the Spurs build their dynasty first hand and understands how integral every piece of the puzzle is.
Brett Brown traveled to Spain — along with 76ers GM Sam Hinkie, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Michael Carter-Williams — to catch a glimpse at a player he hopes becomes one of the biggest pieces to the 76ers puzzle. That man is Dario Saric, who the 76ers traded Elfrid Payton to the Orlando Magic for his rights and future picks. Saric is currently playing in the FIBA World Cup and with his future conglomerates watching, he’s putting on a show. His future head coach is noticing and is comparing him to Boris Diaw, a player who was a major reason why the Spurs won the NBA title in 2013-14 (via Road To The Association):
“The thing that stands out for me is that there’s a presence that he carries himself with. There’s a toughness that he plays the game with that is just so appealing to me. And it’s how we want to build our program in the city of Philadelphia. It’s a tough city, it’s a real city, it’s a sports-minded city. And I like the physicality how he approaches the game,” said Brown. “From a skills perspective, he’s got the ability to pass, he sees the floor so well, he’s got the ability to rebound and lead the break himself as a point forward, like some of the great point forwards. I’ve had the opportunity to coach Boris Diaw for many years in my 12 years with the Spurs. There’s some similarities that I see in Boris and Dario. But all of those things add up to a pretty special player at age 20.” “I look and understand his age of 20 having coached for many, many years internationally. It’s hard to stand out against men. It’s hard to stand out on this stage, and at 20 years old he does do that.”
That’s not a bad comparison for the 20-year-old. The city of Philadelphia is hoping he can become all of what Brown said and more.