Lottery pick Dario Saric won the Adriatic Championship. He recently turned 20 years old, and is considered an elite international prospect with other names such as Dante Exum and Jusuf Nurkic.
Saric, the reigning MVP of the league, who turned 20 years old just three weeks ago, was absolutely huge in the two game, single-elimination Final Four format, totaling 44 points, 26 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 blocks in 77 minutes, shooting a blistering 8-16 from beyond the arc. He was in turn named MVP of the Final Four as well.
Saric is considered one of the best playmakers in the draft, rivaling other point guards. In terms of passing ability, he is a more intuitive playmaker than Tyler Ennis and Marcus Smart. At 6’10” with a 6’10” wingspan, he is slated for a front court position. Lateral quickness and strength have been an issue in the past, along with perimeter shooting, but he did well in those departments during his championship run.
Laker fans may compare him similarly to Lamar Odom with his rebounding and transition ability. He excels at grabbing defensive boards and pushing up-court. Where Saric stands apart, is his ability to shoot in spot up situations and break down his defender off-the-dribble from the perimeter.
While the tournament may be a reflection of a hot streak, similar to LaMarcus Aldridge’s 40+ point outbursts in the first two games of the playoffs, his hot streak shows his versatility on the offensive end while being impactful defensively as well. His talent may not scream franchise player, but it does lend to teamwork, ball-movement, and playmaking.
After all, 21.5 points per game, 13 rebounds per game, 6.5 assists per game, and 2.5 blocks per game on 50% shooting behind the 3-point arc isn’t so bad.
We just hope, the Lakers don’t miss out on the best player available.