The Magic selected Dario Saric with the No. 12 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday and reportedly traded Saric to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 10 pick, Elfrid Payton. Here’s a look at Saric and how he fits with Philadelphia:
Bio: Cibona Zagreb (Croatia) | Country: Serbia | Age: 20 | Small forward
Vitals: 6-10, 223 pounds
2013-14 stats (Adriatic League): 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 49.7 FG%
Strengths: Saric has had quite a year, from featuring with the Croatian U-19 team to winning the Adriatic League MVP and leading Cibona to a domestic championship. Last year Saric was a projected lottery pick before pulling out of the draft, and his stock remains high. A point forward type who handles and passes well, Saric brings perhaps as much offensive versatility as any prospect in the class. He's also a willing rebounder, competes at a high level and is accustomed to success. There will be high expectations -- whenever he comes to the NBA.
Weaknesses: Saric has reportedly agreed to a deal with Turkish club Anadolu Efes that will keep him from coming to the NBA for two years. Questions linger about his NBA position -- Saric may not be a good enough athlete to guard threes and doesn't shoot consistently enough as a stretch four. He’s at his playmaking best in a role where he can handle the ball, something teams have to consider as they attempt to slot him into their future plans.
Team Fit: With Saric, the Sixers continue to play the long game after going with injured Joel Embiid. Philadelphia will wait patiently as the Croatian star continues to season his game in Turkey for the next season or two. He’s a skilled point forward style player who will hace a major role whenever he comes over. He’ll need to improve his shooting, but should become an impactful piece.
It’s tough to say what Philly’s roster will look like when Saric arrives, but with Michael Carter-Williams, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel already in place, the Sixers continue to add to a young, skilled core that will become a problem in the Eastern Conference down the line if everything shakes out well. With so many picks in the draft, this trade made sense for Philadelphia, who could afford to let their new charge develop across the pond.