Perhaps the most unknown prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft, alongside Australian point guard Dante Exum, is Dario Saric of Croatia. Saric has made headlines recently due to his indecisiveness regarding his future in the NBA and whether or not he would enter the draft this year. After deciding it would be in his best interest to declare for the draft, rumors surfaced yesterday that the forward will only play in the league immediately if drafted by either the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics. As an international player, Saric can decide to remain overseas even after being selected in the draft, similar to Ricky Rubio a few years ago.
As of today, Saric is projected to be picked at about the No. 10 spot, give or take a couple depending on the mock draft. Well, the Celtics and Lakers possess the sixth and seventh picks, respectively, making Saric an unlikely pick at either spot. Of course, things can change mightily between today and the draft, but Los Angeles has reportedly put prospects such as Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle and Marcus Smart at the top of their priority lists. This is partly due to the fact that each of the previously mentioned players have been exposed playing for well-known college basketball programs. Saric on the other hand raises numerous questions because scouts are not physically able to pick him apart as much as prospects here in the U.S.
If Los Angeles does decide to in fact trade down, taking a shot at the Croatian, it may not be a bad idea. For those of you who are not familiar with Saric, he is a 6-foot-10 small forward/power forward from Croatia, who averaged nearly 15 points per game in addition to grabbing 9 rebounds per game. His offensive versatility is what has grabbed scouts’ attention across the country, especially his ball handling skills dribbling coast to coast. Additionally, Saric has exhibited that he can be a capable passer as well as a solid pick-and-pop guy. Certainly a player who is worth taking a shot, however is he worthy of a top-seven selection? Personally, I don’t believe so. If he is to drop past Boston and Los Angeles though, I would be hesitant to select him as he is in no way leaning towards leaving Europe anytime soon.