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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.

          • Lee Washington

            MY bad,, I must have misunderstood you as I thought that you said ,,” before hitting his career physical decline years. So that now I don’t care if he shows up here, or not”. I thought (obviously wrongly) that you somehow alluded to his going overseas as a negative. again,, my bad,,,You even backed it up with science. “The LATER you start your NBA career, the SOONER you hit your physical peak, and the SOONER your career downside kicks in”.
            I respect you civility and opinion,, But ALL (gotta Be most) of the members of the hall of fame went to college… The 3-4 years seem not to have caused them to suffer from ” Get in late get old early” syndrome ???
            I was simply saying that there is no difference in a 19 year going to college or playing overseas.. ALL these guys leaving Super early ( one and done) need development so for Dario to play wherever for a year or two MAY work.. It has worked with others Say what you want,, kool,, but I do care if/ Dario comes over,, at 21 or 22

          • robbybonfire23

            As regards a 19-year old going to college or playing overseas not being significantly different, that makes sense because the issue, here, is the career-development implications of starting your top-level career early, as per Kobe at 18; vs. starting your top-level career late, as per MCW at 23.

            As regards all the great athletes who played in the day when your class had to first graduate college for you to begin your career, they would have simply made an impact sooner, had they started sooner, and we know their career totals would have been larger, simply from their having had longer careers.

            The premise, as advanced by Bill James, is that they also would have been even greater/more accomplished. This is hard to reconcile, as it cannot be proven. Yes, it is possible Michael could have registered higher floor shot percentage and a higher rate of assists per 40 minutes playing time, but not to quibble over that because it falls into the category of “conjecture.”

            Some days I wish I had never read that work by Bill James, as all it has ever done is put me at odds with other sports fans at blog sites. Really sorry that his Baseball Abstracts are no longer in print and are collectors items, quite hard to obtain, now, as his work has had major impact on how professional baseball organizations, starting with the A’s and the “Moneyball” revelations, and the Red Sox, approach the management and player evaluation parts of the game.

          • Lee Washington

            I respect the concept of “moneyball” and stats are great ,,,the difference that I see here is that Dario will/may miss 2 years of “BROWN”S” Sixer developement”. From that point of view YOU ARE CORRECT. My bad !! In general terms according to Hoyle College and (dare I say) overseas are places where
            “real good players” HAVE come from for an eternity,,, AGAIN,, I see your point but maybe i;m so dense that I can’t get (people did 4 years of college and had fine careers,, seemingly long careers) out of my mind !

          • robbybonfire23

            Good points. Where I am disappointed in this coming season is that I think if we had Saric, now, we would not be tanking, or projected to win some 15 games. A lineup including Saric, Embiid, Noel, and MCW as soon as next March would have been 4/5ths of something special, it is quite possible. But now we are “on ice” for quite awhile, instead.

          • Lee Washington

            Yes, being on ice Sucks,, for us all.
            But watching the turnstile that was Hawes in the middle and the plain incompetence of his ETness was as painful an experience as I can remember. Other than waiting for Bynum’s knees to heal. Or for Swaggy to pass the ball.
            In Hinkie I trust,, All others cash.

          • robbybonfire23

            Well stated. We are taking the high road now, and will be leaving the foothills, soon enough.

          • Lee Washington

            Amen