Dario Saric is coming to the Sixers in 2016. At least that’s what he told his teammates according to David Pick. This comes on the heels of Saric’s team, Anadolu Efes, firing it’s head coach today which was also reported by Pick. David Pick is the go to guy for international basketball news so Sixers fans can feel pretty confident in his reporting. The plan, from Saric’s perspective, has always been to come over this summer. All throughout the season, there have been rumblings and even quotes from Dario and his father which said that the plan was for Saric to come to the Sixers after the 2015-16 NBA season. This is the first summer in which he has a workable buyout. Saric also feels ready to jump to the NBA and doesn’t want to wait another offseason.
Saric should be a really solid addition to the 2016-17 Sixers. I broke down his game in great detail last summer. In essence, I think Saric is a really talented player who can help right away. I think he is best suited as a play-making small ball power forward off of the bench. Saric could really slide into a Lamar Odom type role very nicely for this Sixers team. He would be a really good secondary creator on second unit lineups and in staggered minutes with the starters. Having playmaking at multiple positions is really key in today’s NBA. Saric has continued to improve during his time at Efes. He has been playing his best basketball of late and his shooting has improved every year. Saric averaged almost 12 points this year despite somewhat limiting minutes while shooting 34.4% from three. He also shot 50% from the field and improved his turnover rate to a low 1.5%. These are on really encouraging signs for Dario on offense. On the other end of the court, Saric isn’t a great athlete but he was a good team defender and defensive rebounder for Efes. The blocks and steals that he accumulated in Turkey will probably not translate well to the NBA, but his active hands and knowledge of professional defensive principles should help him get acclimated to playing defense in the NBA.
This is really exciting from the Sixers perspective. Dario has continually said he wanted to come over this summer but there has always been some doubt if he actually would. Due to rules in the collective bargaining agreement, if Saric had come over a year later, he would not be able to be signed to a cheap four year deal under the rookie scale. He instead would be able to negotiate his own deal with the Sixers in a summer in which the cap is expected to be above 100 million dollars. This move will cost Saric quite a bit of money, but at this point in his career, it appears as though that isn’t his primary concern. The Sixers will get a really exciting young prospect who has proven himself in Europe. Saric will join the Sixers after a summer that includes a bevy of first round picks and cap space. The only worry I have is that Saric may struggle to get minutes next season. He is best suited to play power forward, a position which is currently in the midst of quite a logjam. Saric might be able to play some 3 but he probably won’t thrive there. Still, if the Sixers make some moves, time could open up some more time for Saric to showcase the type of player he can be. No matter happens in the offseason, Sixers fans will be happy to see Saric in Philadelphia next year.