Saric, from Sibenik in Croatia, is a long small forward currently playing in a power forward’s body. Saric has fantastic length and a wingspan one inch greater than his 6-foot-10 height, and has a reach of nine feet.
ESPN’s Chad Ford currently has the 19-year-old as the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, with the potential of climbing higher as the season wears on. He is attracting a lot of interest from the Raptors in particular because of the huge hole that presents itself on their current roster at the power forward position.
Despite having great size and court vision for his position, Saric perhaps lacks some of the more important skills needed to be an NBA power forward. He will need to improve his strength and athleticism to be able to compete at the highest level, and will look to improve his range and outside jump shot.
The downside to Saric is that he will remind the city of Toronto of an all-too-familiar Italian.
When the Raptors selected Andrea Bargnani with the no. 1 pick in 2006, they saw many attributes as they see in Saric. Bargnani was more of a shooter, but with similar size and athletic ability, Saric may come with some doubt. The organisation has learned from the Bargnani era and is wiser because of it. GMs around the league know how talented players in Europe are, and that they are often too good to pass up on.
After new GM Masai Ujiri took over the helm this offseason, the Raptors have taken on a new direction with regards to international players. The Raptors had five foreign players last season compared to just one this season.
Regardless of their direction, the prospect of having Dario Saric and Jonas Valanciunas lineup side by side is a relishing sight. The progress the Raptors make this season will ultimately dictate which strategy they take in the draft in June.