Feb. 19, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans former player Magic Johnson speaks at a press conference before a game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Dario Saric: The Steal of the 2013 NBA Draft?

Yes I know that’s a picture of Magic Johnson and yes this post is about Dario Saric. I promise you there is a correlation. Dario Saric is the hottest name in the NBA draft right now and he might also be the least well known. He is a 19 year old SF from Croatia. He is 6’10” and weighs 223 lbs. Chad Ford of ESPN wrote a great blog about Saric that can be found here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/blog/_/name/nba_draft/id/9230683/2013-nba-draft-dario-saric-high-nba-ceiling. It is an Insider article so you must be a paying subscriber to read it. I have been intrigued with Saric since I started reading the little information about him that was available out there when I posted my first mock draft 3 weeks ago.

By all accounts Dario is a 6’10” point guard. He sees the floor well for a big man and handles the ball well for his size. Ford reported that Saric plays best with the ball in his hands. Chad Ford quotes Daric as saying ” My desire is to be close to the philosophy of basketball of [the] greatest Laker Magic Johnson,” Saric said in an e-mail interview with ESPN.com. “Of course, it is nice for every player to score, including me, but my biggest challenge is how [to make better] other players of my team on the court. This is what I like to do, and this is what I want to learn and doing better day by day.” And now you understand the Magic Johnson picture.

Although the scouting on this player is in the early stages, more information will become available if he participates in the draft combine and after his private team workouts. But from the information that is available I get excited at the thought of seeing Saric in a Jazz uniform. The Jazz offense is dependent on ball movement. Gordon Hayward tries his hardest but it’s tough when he’s playing with a bunch of starters that have a shoot first mentality. The ball movement is much better when Hayward and Burks are playing together. Throw in another willing passer like Saric along with Favors and Kanter who are underrated passers, and this could be the best passing Jazz team we’ve seen in some time.

Will the Jazz be able to draft him? Here’s another quote from Chad Ford: “While many GMs have Saric in the 15-25 pick range, a few have him much higher. One NBA scout told me his team had him ranked as the second-best small forward in the draft after Otto Porter. Another GM said that after Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel and Porter, there isn’t another player in the draft with more upside than Saric.” Right now it sounds like he would be available at 14 if the Jazz wanted him. Realistically, I think his stock is going to continue to rise and that he’ll end up going in the 5-13 range. I think Dallas would be a good fit for him to learn from Dirk Nowitzki. I also think New Orleans, Sacramento, Detroit and Philadelphia could use his services as well.

This is the type of player that could make this draft very exciting. I can see a team deciding that he’s their guy, and doing everything they can to move up in the lottery to get him. Is he a guy the Jazz are targeting? If the Jazz feel he is a guy they want along with Trey Burke and CJ McCollum, the Jazz need to do everything in their power to move up into the top 10 of the draft. Can they get a useful rotation player at 14? Sure they can. But I think there are some players they want and they’re going to have to move up to get one of them. I get the feeling that this draft has the potential for a lot of movement and could end up being one of the more entertaining drafts in recent memory.


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