After initially stating his desire to remain overseas, Dario Saric entered his name into the 2013 NBA draft.
Saric has quite the resume for a 19-year-old kid. He was named MVP of both the FIBA Europe Under-16 and Under-18 Championships. And just recently, his club team won the Croatian league championship after Saric went for 19 points and 12 boards in the final game.
Now, he'll be looking to take his game to the United States, where he offers a unique set of services to NBA teams.
Saric measures in around 6'10'', 223 pounds, though it's his mobility for a guy that size that really stands out. He's comfortable playing face-up basketball, which allows him to play anywhere from the baseline out to 25 feet away.
There's nothing special about Saric athletically; however, he's not exactly stiff. He'll need to continue adding muscle while maintaining his agility to embrace the role as an inside-outside combo forward.
Saric has the size of a power forward with the mobility of a wing. He's a face-up big man who can take defenders off the dribble and create on the move—an interesting skill for a prospect that tall.
It creates an offensive mismatch, as slower-footed bigs are unable to defend him on the perimeter.
Vision and Passing
If you had to give him a label, a frontcourt playmaker would be a fitting one. Saric is an excellent passer who reacts quickly, hitting open men at the split second they need to be hit.
His ability to create off the dribble and pass on the move makes him a dangerous facilitating weapon.
Saric is also very clever and has the confidence and willingness to think out of the box. But most of these passes are able to be made thanks to his vision, mobility and flexibility with the ball.
Off the Dribble
Saric can shake and bake off the dribble—especially against bigger forwards uncomfortable defending away from the rim. It's a huge advantage that really drives his long-term potential.
His tight handle and long strides allow him to beat his man in isolation and finish at the rim.
Though that may seem like a simple drive to the hole, remind yourself that Saric is a 6'10'' forward.
Check out his ability to change directions off the dribble. It's plays like these that illustrate his upside as an offensive mismatch.
Attacking the rim, Saric has a soft touch that he uses to score on the move with. He's an excellent scorer off one foot, with the ability to wheel and deal through traffic and get off shots with balance.
Saric is a consistent rebounding presence on both sides of the ball.
His motor, coordination, aggressiveness and ability to anticipate allow him to keep balls alive on the offensive glass. Watch him fly out of nowhere to track down the ball and score on a second-chance opportunity:
When we're talking weaknesses with Saric, we're talking two things: defense and shooting.
He might be a versatile offensive player, but defensively, he's a tweener. He doesn't have the strength to body up down low or the lateral quickness and athleticism to defend wings.
It's a legitimate concern, as there isn't much he can do to change this unless he really adds muscle. Saric should be able to defend hybrid forwards like Thaddeus Young and Ersan Ilyasova, but the athletic perimeter scorers and interior bullies will be tough assignments.
As a shooter, Saric has failed to generate much rhythm or consistency over the past few years. He's capable of making them but just hasn't converted enough. He'll need to improve as a spot-up shooter to increase the threat he poses to defenses when he doesn't have the ball.
Draft Breakdown and NBA Outlook
Saric has become the international name to know in preparation for the 2013 NBA draft. The speculation has the late lottery as a potential landing spot, with Dallas, New Orleans and Portland possible suitors.
He's got plenty to work on before showing he can contribute to an NBA lineup. Chances are a team lets Saric season abroad for a year or two before bringing him over.
The NBA guys feel he might have long-term upside with a realistic shot at reaching it.
He projects as a jack-of-all-trade guy with the potential to make those around him better.
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