Dario Saric is set to make his NBA debut this upcoming season. The Croatian player has the potential to be a very impactful “point-forward.”
Saric was selected with the No. 12 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. The Magic and Philadelphia 76ers had previously agreed to swap their mid-first round selections. The Magic ended up with Elfrid Payton, and the Sixers received Saric.
Once being drafted, Saric said multiple times that he would come to the NBA in two years. Despite the fact that his best financial move would be to wait another year, Saric made good on his promise this offseason.
Saric has very intriguing tools, but he certainly has room to grow. He’s a very good ball handler for his 6’10” size and has a knack for getting open on cuts to the lane. Saric is also an above average rebounder and has shown the ability to pass very well.
Between Saric and Ben Simmons, the Sixers will be very good at rebounding and starting the fast break.
That being said, Saric needs to work on his shooting and defense. He needs to improve his overall game to become a high-level NBA player, but these are his two most glaring issues.
Saric has gotten much better as a deep shooter, but he still lacks the consistency the NBA demands. He is yet to master the contested three pointer, though he has raised his three-point percentage by 9.7% over the past two years.
While watching Saric, his defensive effort is obvious. The 22-year-old just doesn’t have the size to guard the bigger power forwards and centers. Saric got chewed up by Pau Gasol for most of the Olympic game against Spain. Additionally, he isn’t quick enough to defend the guard positions just yet. Figuring out where he fits defensively with Philadelphia will be a challenge for coach Brett Brown.
Saric has shown off his potential during the Olympics, despite his rather poor defensive performance against Spain. He made up for that, and his missed free throws, by blocking Gasol into oblivion to secure Croatia’s unlikely victory.
On Wenesday, Saric displayed his true offensive ability against Argentina. Though Croatia lost, Saric was very good. He had a double-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Those are numbers the Sixers can get excited about.
Despite shooting 0-for-8 from beyond the arc during the Olympics, Saric still has a lot of value to Croatia. This is why he has the potential to be a very good NBA player: when he’s bad in one aspect of his game, Saric can still help his team win by doing many other things.
Dario Saric has the ability to become a veritable Swiss Army knife for the Philadelphia 76ers, for years to come.