9 - Dario Saric

6-10, 225 Small Forward/Power Forward
Croatia International
04/08/94 (25.7 yrs)
Sibenik, Croatia
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Ball Handling

NBA Comparison: Boris Diaw/Dejan Bodiroga

Strength: At 6’10 it is very hard to find anyone in the world with the skills he possesses to play with or without the ball anywhere on the court … He can push it in transition as well as posting up with good results … His feel for the game is what really separates him from many other “Point forwards” … In Europe he can easily play as a 3 or 4 thanks to his court vision and decision making, very rare for a player of his height … Perhaps his 2nd greatest strength is his aggressiveness on the boards … He really is able to capture rebounds and quickly transform those rebounds in transition opportunity directly pushing the ball or making accurate outlet passes to teammates … Another really underrated quality of Saric is his IQ and understanding of spacing, on both ends of the floor. His development as a point guard early in his basketball career have given him a tremendous feel for the game … He is able to overcome his lack of athleticism many times being in the right spot in the right moment … Obviously his versatility is attractive to scouts, as he seems to have many ways to impact games, not having to rely on one skill … While his shooting mechanics need work, his percentages are much higher with his feet set … His determination and basketball IQ are really what makes him such an attractive prospect, and the hope will be that he can overcome his limitations through desire, hard work and dedication …

Weaknesses: Saric would have a much better NBA outlook if not for his lack of foot speed and athleticism … His quickness and elevation might be enough to finish in Europe, but without the ability to finish above the rim, things will likely prove more difficult for him in the NBA … He is quick and mobile for a player his height but clearly lacks the foot speed to stay in front of NBA wing forwards … In addition he lacks ideal strength to battle NBA PFs on the block … He projects as a 4, despite his excellent face the basket skills, due to his size and lack of foot speed. Sort of a stretch 4 without great shooting ability … The best way to describe Saric’s game is a jack of all trades, master of nothing type … His lack of quickness will not allow him to beat anybody off the dribble 1 on 1, and the inconsistent shooting will not help in creating offense … In transition he will still be able to create but despite a good use of both ends his lack of explosiveness above the rim makes every lay-up very blockable …  3 turnovers per game are way too much for a player like him and it shows his lack of good decision making on a consistent base. In the NBA facing better athletes, it will be harder and harder for him to be effective in offense … Things get worse if we take a look at his shooting percentages. The mechanics are not one of a pure shooter, and he is making only 30% of his 3 pointers right now … With a longer NBA 3 point line it is safe to assume those percentages will not go up, though to his credit when he is in rhythm and his feet are set he can make around 40% at FIBA level … Defensively as we said, he struggles to defend both the 3 and the 4 positions. His wingspan is just 6’10 so he will be much harder for him to recover from his lack of foot speed … He does play really hard, and seems to have an aggressive mentality on every play but he will have to overcome many weaknesses and really develop as a player and as an athlete in the next couple of years to have a legitimate impact in the NBA …

Notes: For the past few years Dario Saric has been regarded as one of the best European talents of the new millennium. Following the great tradition of Croatian basketball players, like Drazen Petrovic and Tony Kukoc, Saric started to play real minutes in the professional league when he was just 17. He also lead Croatia to a back to back gold medal finishes in the u16 and u18 Fiba European championships, leading his team in pretty much every statistical category. By 2013 when he was eligible to declare for the draft he was already a well-known talent around NBA scouting circles. However due to some contractual issues with his team and injuries he decided to do not declare for the draft. He took part in the u19 world championships in Prague un the summer of 2013 where Croatia lost in the quarter-finals and he again was the best scorer and rebounder of his team. He also played around 18 minutes per game in the Croatian Senior National team that arrived 4th in Slovenia last summer qualifying for this World Cup.

Rick Pietro 2/7/14

YouTube Clip – 5/29/2010