Whattup y'all xcdudesquad here. I haven't been around as much as the year go to crunch time (Basically I was the John Starks Game 7 of P&T this postseason). The one thing I will admit though is I looooooooooove draft season. Prospects are the most fun part of sports for me. Probably because outside of the Giants all my other sports teams have not tasted much postseason victories (I'm look at you Mets. You teasing [insert tons of expletives here].) So the draft is a way to restock the system and provide shit-tons of hope for the future. I did not know if the lovely Mr. Chillsap or viva_morrison were going to take a look at the most divisive player in the draft, so I asked Seth. His response was something along the lines of go ahead write it up, different takes are good and so forth. So here we are.
Here are some facts about Dario Saric:
- He plays for KK Cibona in Croatia
- He was the MVP of the 2010 FIBA U-16 World Championships, and the MVP of the 2012 U-18 World Championships. Croatia won both tournaments.
- He has declared for the 2013 NBA Draft
Things start to get a little weird after this so let's start.
D.O.B. - 4/8/1994 (19 years old)
Hometown - Sibenik, Croatia
Measurements:);; Height (in shoes) - 6'10"; Weight - 230 lbs; Wingspan - 6'10"; Max Vert - NA"; Lane Agility - NA. Saric has not taken part in any of the pre-draft workouts because he is still playing overseas.
Projected draft position: 24th to NY on DraftExpress, 12th to OKC on Chris Mannix's Sports Illustrated Mock Draft, 20th to CHI on NBADraft.net
Amateur Take - Offense:Saric has played every position minus center for KK Cibona due to a massive growth spurt within the past few years. He originally was a PG for the team, but due to his large size he quickly was established as a PF/SF this past year. His offensive skills are immensely talented, as you will see in the videos I post towards the end. Ridiculous upside would be two words that can be used to describe Saric. He is comfortable running an offense through him due to his experience running the point in the past.
Saric is still small for his recent growth spurt, and his transition to the wing may prove to be difficult in establishing life in the NBA. He is far too small to play PF if the NBA even if he adds size to his frame. Luckily he has been described with having an immense basketball IQ, and his previous experience as a PG has allowed for great ball handling.
Saric was not a great shooter in Europe. His TS% this past year for Cibona was 43% in the Adriatic league, but he did shoot 30% from three point range. He will have to work on being more consistent and improving on that 39.3% shooting percentage from 2.
Amateur take - Defense: Due to Saric's recent growth spurt he was moved from a guard position to a wing defender. That is a very difficult move for a professional to make, especially one that is 18 playing in a European League. Saric's wing defense will have to improve to play regular minutes in the NBA. It was hard to watch many Croatian games this year, but reports show his quickness will need to improve to stay with SFs in the NBA.
His off ball defense is his strength and is how he has been able to mask many of the defensive deficiencies the Croatian league will not show. If he learns to guard his defenders more efficiently and not lose track of them as easily as he has been, he should be able to pick up most complex NBA defenses due to his high Basketball IQ.
- Basketball IQ
- Room to Grow
- Ability to read how an offense is run
- Matching 6'10" wingspan will help in his transition to SF
- Scorer's touch and mentality
- Stated desire to come to the NBA next season
- Goes cold for long stretches
- Needs to become a more efficient shooter
- Small frame that needs to be filled out
- Attitude issues
- Will have to play SF in the NBA and needs to improve on-man defense
I'm having trouble embedding the links so here they are:
Draft Express Interview (3 parts):
Highlights from the U18 Championships this past year
Saric playing the point!
So there you have Dario Saric. I sincerely hope the Knicks draft him 24th overall, as he would be a steal then. Will he be available? Should the Knicks take him? To answer that we need to play "Know the Organization!"
Team: New York Knicks
Age: 67 years old
State: Many large contracts, older players, not much money to sign the remaining roster spots.
Amateur take - Pros: Taking Saric sends a certain signal from this organization. It signals confidence in the core group of stars as well as the system in the short term. Saric is someone you take knowing that he's not going to be an immediate impact the first year, but he provides 3 years of cheap service before his next contract, which would be a 4 year extension. That is 7 years of service for a team to grow and develop him unless he does not perform and leaves after 3 or is traded. Saric would show that the Knicks are still in win now mode, but also are trying to take a high-risk VERY HIGH-reward prospect. Saric would not be forced into a role where he would require immediate playing time to help the team, and he could learn from Mike Woodson and have the necessary time to develop. This type of pick is risky, but I think it is one that the organization can take and have a player for the future develop at his own pace to help the Knicks after the big contracts expire.
Amateur take - Cons: Well there is this, this, and this. Saric has gone on record saying that if he were not to become a lottery pick he would not come to the NBA. That is troubling because he has plenty of potential, and if he were not picked by a lottery pick the pressure on him to succeed would be less and he could develop at his own pace. This is a high risk pick. If the Knicks were able to go this route, they would need to be prepared for this and accept that this pick may blow up in their face. We have not always had success with European first rounders either. The Knicks don't have another first rounder until 2015, so they do need to make this one count. There are a lot more "safe" picks than Saric, even if they do not have the upside.
Conclusion: If he is available the Knicks should absolutely take Saric. Not without reservations, but they should select him. He would fill a void this team has in SF, and would show how committed we are to Melo at the 4 (which is another fanpost waiting to be written). The Knicks draft strategy should be position based, and depending if Kidd does not retire, they should be looking SF rather than PG. Saric is the best available in the draft, and would be a steal at 24. My bet? OKC Takes him at number 12, but its fun to dream!