Scouting Profile: Dario Saric
With the draft fast approaching, we will be taking a look at potential draft prospects with writers who have covered the prospects in college or -- in the case of international prospects -- spent a great deal of time scouting them. Today we’ll look at Dario Saric (F - Croatia) with the help of SB Nation NBA draft guru Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie).
What are his strengths? Weaknesses?
Dario Saric was both the MVP and leading scorer of the Adriatic League (basically an amalgamation of former Yugoslav republics), as well as its Finals MVP after leading Cibona to their first title in team history. Outside of possibly Nikola Mirotic (whose rights are owned by the Bulls), Saric is the best young player in Europe right now at 20 years old -- and one of its best players period. That was proven best in the Adriatic League final, where he showed off his entire game scoring 23 points, gathering 11 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists.
Saric's main strength is his basketball IQ. He's one of those guys who is always in the right place and making the right decision. That manifests itself most in his passing ability, which is unmatched among big men in this draft. He'll immediately be a weapon in outlet passing (if he's able to rebound initially -- we'll get to that in a second) and from the high post. He's also an immensely skilled and coordinated athlete. The term "applied athleticism" -- the athleticism that one is actually able to utilize in game situations -- is one that is overused, but Saric gets the absolute most out of his abilities and he is a solid athlete.
His weaknesses are things that make his translation questionable, so I'm going to kind of answer those two things together. He's 6'10, but only 225 lbs with very average length, so he'll need to get a bit stronger. He's athletic and big enough to defend 3s, but might struggle against 4s because of his strength and length. However, he has something of an inconsistent jumper which makes him more of a point forward-4 than a small forward. He's a bit of a tweener, and that can scare people.
How do you think his game translates to the NBA?
It's worth mentioning that we don't know a ton about how he is off the ball because he was often so on-ball with Cibona. He was basically their LeBron James, and that's not something that he's likely to be in the pros, especially immediately. Saric could be a great player in the NBA, or he could end up back in Europe in four years. I don't think that would be the case though, as I buy his skill set working in the NBA.
What NBA player would you compare him to?
As a comparison, I'd probably look at a Lamar Odom. Odom wasn't a fantastic athlete, but he was a smart one who knew how to use his athleticism to get where he wanted.
What style of play do you think he'd be most comfortable in?
He's a smart, point forward who will need the ball in his hands to succeed. He needs to go to a system that will allow him to possess the ball. A place like Philly that could let him develop would be ideal. Maybe somewhere like Orlando that doesn't yet have a major usage guy. Basically, he just needs a coach that will allow him to be him.
What do you see as his NBA ceiling (All-Star/Starter/Spot-Starter/Rotation Player)?
I think his ceiling is probably a borderline All-Star if he ever fully develops the jump shot. He could be a ~20/5/5 guy and it wouldn't surprise me, but my guess is that he probably settles in as a 14/4/4 guy in the Nicolas Batum mold. His floor is probably something like an Earl Clark, a guy who had immense ball skill coming in but never really got the coach to allow him develop. I have him at 8th on my big board, and I think he's the end of the "this guy has a real, legitimate chance to be an All-Star" tier.
Reporter: Robby Kalland