Croatian forward Dario Saric is one of the more interesting players in the 2014 NBA draft and will almost certainly be a lottery pick.
However, because he is foreign-born, few American fans know much about his style of play. Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders broke down Saric’s game.
The problem with Saric is what exactly he will do at the NBA level? The issues start with his physical profile, which compares to Hedo Turkoglu. He is 6’10, but has a small 6’10 wingspan for his height. Despite playing inside defensively, he blocked only 0.6 shots per game against less athletic opponents than he will face in the NBA. Although he rebounds well at the Adriatic League level while playing inside, he likely will be below average for the four due to his below average two-foot jump and skinny frame. Even if he bulks up a little it is hard to imagine him being anything better than a bad help defender, rebounder and post defender at the NBA level if asked to play inside. He might be hideable on the wing against lesser options, but playing him at the three mutes his effect on offense.
So Saric already comes with defensive demerits. What is the offensive upside? With a mediocre (though not bad) shot that takes him an hour to get off, he really needs the ball in his hands to be effective unless he can significantly improve his J. In the Adriatic league he has the quickness advantage playing the four, although he was effectively limited when guarded by Cedevita’s relatively mobile bigs. Any quickness advantage disappears if he plays on the wing in the NBA. Although he could potentially be effective posting up some threes, that would require a commitment to getting him the ball regularly.
The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly eyeing Saric, but would have to trade up to do so.
Saric measured in at 6’10 and 223 lbs. with a wignspan of 6’10 at the 2012 Hoops Summit. Last season, he averaged 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 49.7% from the field, 34.5% from beyond the arc and 68.1% from the free throw line. He is ranked by Jonathan Givony of Draft Express as eighth-best prospect in the draft.