The Philadelphia 76ers continued to draft more for future upside instead of immediate impact, as they acquired the 12th pick and a future first rounder from the Orlando Magic for the 10th overall. They used that pick to select Dario Saric, a high-upside point-forward out of Croatia.
Saric was the leading scorer, MVP, and Finals MVP of the Adriatic League for Cibona this season. Basically, he dominated a solid league that is full of men at 20 years old. He has nearly preternatural basketball sense, is an excellent passer, has a semi-decent shot, and knows how to use angles to get to the rim. Basically, imagine a more fluidly athletic Kyle Anderson of UCLA if you’re looking for something of a comparison. He’s not a great athlete, but the term “high applied athleticism” applies to Saric, as he gets the absolute most out of what he has. At 6’10, he has enough length to defend the small forward spot, but he might struggle a bit there athletically. He’s probably more of a 4 that acts as a point-forward if you’re looking for a positional comparison.
There are some concerns here. Transitionally, Saric literally did everything for his team this season. He needs the ball in his hands an awful lot, and depending on how his athleticism translates his skill set may not necessitate that. My guess is that Saric probably falls more into the mold of a Nicolas Batum where he’s a 14/4/4 guy as opposed to a future all-star, but the Sixers would happily take that. Also, Saric just recently signed a deal with Anadolu Efes in Turkey (to play with Semih Erden!), and doesn’t have a reasonable NBA out clause for two seasons.
As far as the deal itself, what more can you say about Sam Hinkie? It seems like the Sixers have been connected with Saric throughout the entire draft process, so what do they do? They move down, acquire more picks, and still get their guy. As usual, it seems like he’s playing chess while a lot of the NBA is playing checkers. In the short term, it helps the Sixers continue to tank and accumulate high draft picks because Saric won’t be here for a while. In the long-term, they just acquired one of the eight most talented players in an incredibly deep draft.
It’s just another in seemingly a long line of smart moves by Hinkie.