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Sep 04 2014

Dario Saric, future Sixer

Is Dario Saric the next Fran Vazquez? A highly-touted lottery pick who never joins his NBA team and plays international ball forever?

All the evidence (as of now) is pointing towards no. By 2016, he’ll be in Philadelphia, joining a frontcourt with two budding stars in Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. That’s the hope, at least.

Yesterday on his personal blog, Derek Bodner outlined the reasons why the Croatian sensation will opt out of his three year deal with Turkish club, Anadolu Efes, to play with Philly in the 2016-17 season. I recommend reading the whole thing, but to summarize, joining the Sixers would make sense for Saric both financially, and competitively. And by all accounts, he’s actually interested in playing in the big leagues. “I promise, for sure I’ll be here,” he told NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg on draft night.

Now, promises have been broken before. Vazquez, for example, had told his American agent Marc Cornstein that he’d play in the NBA, but signed a lucrative deal with Akasvayu Girona in Spain after the 2005 draft, and avoided the Magic for good. Given that 20-year-olds are unpredictable  and say things they don’t necessarily mean  we shouldn’t rule out Saric having a change of heart too. What if he falls in love with his Turkish club? What if he meets the lady of his dreams, and she doesn’t want to live in the United States? What if he gets cold feet about moving halfway across the world, away from his family, to play for a perennial lottery team? He does, from my understanding, have every right to stay in Europe.

But I don’t see that happening. That’s because of the reasons outlined by Bodner – the cash, the competition – and perhaps, more importantly, the impact that screwing the Sixers would have on his agent, Misko Raznatovic. I suspect that Saric’s rep assured the Sixers (and probably the Magic) that he’d be in the NBA by 2016-17. To renege on that would hurt him in future negotiations with other clients, which include Mirza Teletovic and Pero Antic.

So fear not, Sixers fans. There’s every reason to believe that your favorite European prospect, missing teeth and all, will be taking his talents to the City of Brotherly Love in 2016. If you, like Joel Embiid, can’t wait until then, check out the homie in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Croatia will be taking on Puerto Rico 11:50 a.m. on ESPN3.

  • robbybonfire23

    I read somewhere, that we could bring him here next season. If so, I just hope management is not reluctant to do that “because he is not ready.” If that is the case, he can and will get ready in a hurry. It’s not like the team is ready to go to the Finals, or anything, while Saric is getting up to NBA speed.

    • Lee Washington

      That would be great but probably won’t happen because of financial contractual entanglements,,, Clause in contracts 2nd year gives Euro team right to demand a kings ransom in any buyout… Sixers can only contribute so much to said buyout.. see ya in 2016-17 Dario,,

      • robbybonfire23

        Sorry to hear that, but thanks for the information. The late start greatly diminishes his chances of developing into an outstanding NBA player, before hitting his career physical decline years. So that now I don’t care if he shows up here, or not.

        • Lee Washington

          Really,, at 22 he will be hitting his physical decline years ??
          Two years in Europe is not like 2 years in college ???
          What’s the difference ??

          • robbybonfire23

            I ~always~ lose some people on this starter age discussion, in all sports, not just basketball. This, the result of my reading a truly cogent, if not brilliant chapter in a Bill James Baseball Abstract, years ago.

            James documented the point that the later a player begins his career at the top level – the sooner he reaches his peak and proceeds into his physical decline active player years. James observed that the peak performance age in baseball is 27, not 28-32, as was commonly thought, before James did massive research on the subject.

            James’ primary point was that the longer the production curve, before hitting the career peak – heading into the decline, also the HIGHER the career production curve. He then cited many obvious examples of baseball teenage players who made it to the HOF – Mantle, Mays, Yount, Ott, Ruth, Foxx, etc., it is a long and impressive list.

            So that the implications for Saric’s NBA career would be much more promising, were he coming in here immediately, instead of far down the road, if he even gets here. MCW making his NBA debut at 23 is extremely damaging to his HOF career chances. Better to be 18, as was Kobe, and enjoy almost an entire decade of high ascension production, that merely five years of play before the decline sets in, as it the case with MCW.

            There are no exceptions to this rule – starting early is your greatest chance for having an impact career. Starting late, just the opposite.

          • Lee Washington

            That’s great,, except that my own research (memory) shows that there was a time when ALL players went to college for “4″ years.
            Did this “stunt” their development ?? Walton ?? Jabbar ??
            Jordon played for North Cal for 3 years ,, was his development “stunted” ?? Manu played 3 years in Italy before coming over,, It didn’t seem to affect him in a negative way… Joining the league at 22 is not a sign that your career will be lessened but possibly be a sign that one will join the league with a greater understanding of the game…
            In this age of “one and done” players join the league at 19 and the majority of them ARE NOT READY mentally or physically….
            Would I rather he came over immediately ? Yes….!!
            Am I upset ( I don’t care if he comes over or not) ?? No.
            The game has become international and we are forced to play by a different set of rules,, and guys spending time overseas honing their skills is one of the new rules….
            One that we must live with….

          • robbybonfire23

            Obviously, in an era whereby every player began his NBA career upon his class graduating from college, what we are discussing was not a factor. Why does the obvious even have to be mentioned?

            So go tell Bill James he’s a jerk, for all I care.