When it comes to foreign prospects for the 2014 NBA Draft, the name that comes up more often than not is that of Australian point guard Dante Exum. We haven’t seen a great deal from him, save for a few international tournaments, but what we’ve seen has been enough to garner a multitude of intrigue.
However, another foreign prospect that we’ve seen more of and who might be just as intriguing as Exum is Croatian forward Dario Saric. At just 19 years old this season playing for Cibona in the Adriatic League, the 6’10” forward put up 16.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, three assists and 1.4 steals in 32.5 minutes per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the floor.
Saric isn’t bulletproof by any means at his point. His level of competition overseas is certainly a concern and ideally he would improve his outside shot as he shot just 31 percent from three this year. However, his father went a little further in talking about his son’s future in the NBA.
According to David Pick at Eurobasket.com, Saric’s father said that he’s not ready for the NBA. While the predominant belief is that he will be in the draft, he could very well spend another season playing overseas rather than coming over to play in the Association immediately.
The potential of Saric staying in overseas is nothing new for many young European prospects, but it could hurt his stock in this year’s draft. The 2014 NBA Draft is billed as one that could hold a number of franchise-changing players. That belief has receded a bit as of late, but there’s no doubt that there is a ton of talent that can help teams from day one available in the lottery. If there are concerns that Saric won’t come to the NBA this year, a team could be more inclined to pass on him and grab a player who can make an impact immediately.
Someone is undoubtedly going to grab Saric. The big, young forward is full of massive potential and has the skill-set to be a force in the NBA in the future. However, if Saric heeds the words of his father and doesn’t come to the NBA, it’s possible that he could fall out of the lottery and give a mid-tier team a terrific prospect in the hole.