2014 NBA Draft Prospect Evaluation: Dario Saric

(Photo: Bozidar Vukicevic / CROPIX )

We continue our coverage of college prospects for the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft which is set to take place on June 26, 2014. This week we take a look at Croatian Star Dario Saric.

Raining3s’ 2014 NBA Draft Evaluation: Dario Saric

(Photo: http://www.eurohoops.net/2012/05/one-on-one/4664)
(Photo: http://www.eurohoops.net/2012/05/one-on-one/4664)

Dario Saric (20 years old, Forward, Cibona of the Croatian League via Sibenik, Croatia)

 Physical tools:

6’10 and 225 pounds, Saric is a lean and agile forward with amazing handles for a guy his size. Saric does not possess great quickness, lateral movement or leaping ability for an NBA forward; he also is not blessed with great length, measuring in at an underwhelming 6’10 wingspan. What makes Saric an attractive NBA prospect is mainly in the intangibles area, not so much in the measurables.

YouTube Highlights:

Athletic ability:

Poor for an NBA level athlete. Standing at 6’10 he has good height for either forward position, but lacks length with a below average wingspan of 6’10. Saric lacks any semblance of leaping ability, lateral quickness or straight line speed. Playing in Eupore Saric has been able to be effective despite his lack of athleticism but the jury is out if he’ll be able to do the same at the NBA level, especially on the defensive end.

Playmaking ability:

Exceptional. Keen ability to find the open man from the low post, high post and on the break. Keeps his head up while dribbling which is rare for a guy his size. Would be most effective as a play maker out of the post, ideally playing the 4 position and being surrounded with shooters and slashers. Would have more difficult time at the 3 since he does not posses the quickness to get a step on perimeter defenders and penetrate the lane in order to make use of his great court vision.

Overall passing:

Superb. Saric passing ability is what makes him so attractive as a prospect. Can make any pass, from any area on the court: bounce pass, skip pass, outlet pass, hitting shooters or slashers from the post and what separates him from any guy that is 6’10 and above, while on the break.

Low post play ability:

Good. Saric has good post moves and decent touch around the basket. Where he will struggle is making good use of his post skill due to not possessing enough in his back pocket to back down NBA sized power forwards. Another disadvantage in the post is his lack of leaping ability and length, which will make it very difficult to get off a shot over a defender. Any success he will have in the post will be off his excellent passing skills, finding the open man for scoring opportunities and shaking defenders with finesse type moves.

 Outside shooting ability:

Poor. Uncharacteristic of a player out of Europe, Saric struggles with his outside shot. Shot 32.7 percent from the 3 point line for Cibona last season and 29.9 in 2012-2013. Shot decent from the free throw line last season, shooting 71.2 percent, which was a markedly improvement from the previous season where he shot 66.1 percent.

Ability to get own shot:

Below average. Playing in Europe Saric was able to get his shot by his work in the post, pushing it on a break and finding openings in the defense while playing off the ball. At the NBA level, Saric should still be able to get his shot in transition where he’ll be aided by his ball handling ability and his exceptional feel for the game will provide opportunity off the ball as well. Where he will struggle is in half court situations where his lack of athleticism will make it very difficult to break guys off the dribble or in the post where he also lacks strength or length.

Rebounding ability:

Average. Saric has a high motor and goes after rebounds with purpose. He will need to pack on some muscle to his very lean frame in order to become a good rebounder at the NBA level, but his good understanding of spacing and desire will be good for around 6 rebounds a game immediately.

Rim protection ability:

None. He will be unable to provide any type of rim protection at the NBA level with his lack of length, quickness and most importantly, leaping ability.


Poor. Saric’s poor lateral speed will make it almost impossible for him to defend NBA 3s and at the 4 he lacks the strength to defend players in the post. Against certain teams that utilize a “stretch” 4 he could be adequate defensively. Saric has a tremendously high basketball IQ and could develop into a good team defender, but will need a lot of help, mainly being paired with a rim protector.

Basketball IQ and intangibles:

His bread and butter. Saric is a player that has an amazing feel for the game and it shows. He makes great use of angles and spacing on the floor. He’ll find the open spot off the ball and when he has the ball in the post, hits the open man with precision and timing. Runs a break to perfection. While he lacks quickness in the post, he does have quite a bit of post moves that provide space to get his shot off.

Projected draft position:


Projected position in the NBA:


Comparable NBA player:

Lamar Odom without the athleticism or length.

-Fern Rea

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Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom