Regular readers of this site may remember me talking a little bit about Croatian forward Dario Saric last year around draft time when it was rumored that he may declare for the draft. I wanted no part of him. Here was a player that was shooting 36.8% from the field, 30.3% from three and just 50% from the free throw line. The novelty of him being 6'10 and able to run an offense was not worth that to me.
Yesterday however, Dario Saric popped up in the news again, as he led his team, Cibona Zagreb, to the Adriatic League Championship victory with a 23 point, 10 rebound, 7 assist and 5 block performance. That stat-line (which included 5-9 three point shooting) caught my attention, especially after it became official that Saric would declare for the draft this season.
This led me to take a look at Saric's stats from this year and see if he's improved and by how much. The difference is staggering.
Saric's numbers were up across the board, but most impressive to me were his Field Goal % increases. He went from well below average to very good in just a year. His Free Throw shooting jumped dramatically, as did the amount of times he got to the line, and that gives me hope that one day his three point shooting can also improve.
Saric is an interesting player because he fits into the "position-less" team meta the Kings seemingly want to build around. He's 6'10, rebounds well, but he handles the ball like a guard and gets most of his points by attacking the basket, which is why he's drawn comparisons to countryman Toni Kukoc. He's also got good court vision, although his assist to turnover ratio is negative. Keep in mind though that he's a 20 year old playing in a league of grown men, and playing better than most of them at that.
I'm not saying that the Kings should draft Saric or that they will, but he's definitely a player that I feel should be in consideration at the 7th pick, especially since he seems like he'd thrive in the "rebound and run" offense that Pete D'Alessandro seemingly wants.