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May 28, 2016

What they’re saying about the Sixers: Dario Saric is going to be an impact player

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Dario Saric (aka “The Homie”) is currently leading Anadolu Efes, seeking its first league title since 2009, through the Turkish playoffs. His shooting numbers in this small sample are particularly good, and they come to you via’s Brian Seltzer:

First, let’s examine Saric’s playoff production.  In four games so far, he has averaged 15.3 points per game, while shooting 53.8 percent from the field (21-39).  Perhaps most intriguing, the 6’9” tall, 223-pound forward has nailed eight of his 11 post-season three-point attempts.  In Efes’ current TBSL semi-final series, Saric has been especially on-point, connecting on five of his seven tries from beyond the arc.

Defensively, Saric, who the Sixers acquired in a draft night trade with the Orlando Magic, has manufactured 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per contest since the playoffs got underway.   

By this point, it’s apparent that the 22-year-old Saric is a very good European basketball player. The question now is if we in the Delaware Valley and League Pass junkie around the world will have the opportunity to figure out if he’s a good American basketball player next season. Saric has given every indication that he plans to play for the Sixers in 2016-17, but there are two major hurdles standing in the way:

1. Money

2. Playing time (numbers crunch in the front court)

Brett Brown and Bryan Colangelo have indicated they plan on making a trip to see Saric at some point this summer, and they will have to convince the 6’10” forward that there will be a spot in the rotation for him stateside. That might prove more difficult if the top overall pick is Ben Simmons, who plays the same position as Saric.

 Dario Saric
2015-16 Per-Game Stats

P.J. Carlesimo, who might be Mike D’Antoni’s replacement as associate head coach, offered nothing but positive words about Saric on 97.5 The Fanatic recently.

“Love him, he’s going to be very, very good,” Carlesimo said. “I don’t want to put too much [pressure] on a young guy coming over, particularly if he’s playing with other young guys. He’s going to come in and be an impact guy, without any question.” 

P.J. seems convinced, and the Sixers hope that Saric will have a chance to prove him right in 2016-17.

In case you missed it at Philly Voice:

1. Sixers Beat Podcast: Let's assume that the first pick is Ben Simmons. We run through what the rest of the offseason might look like if that is the case.

2. D'Antoni gone: In "Seven Months or Less," you could say. Will Brett Brown continue to run elements of D'Antoni's offense?

3. Valuable rookie contracts: If the Sixers get No. 1 pick right, the rookie contract will be a major steal.

4. Draft tracker: Keep up with all of the workouts here, updated frequently.

5. Tanks for nothing: Angelo Cataldi thinks Ben Simmons is going to be a bust.

6. Crowded frontcourt: This is what we touched on with Saric. If the Croatian Sensation and Simmons are in the fold next year, there won't be enough minutes to go around without a shakeup of some sort.

Other Sixers news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Weekly Chat: Kevin Pelton,

Pelton’s chats are always a fun read, and there generally tends to be at least some Sixers talk. One of the Philly-centric questions he tackled this week had to do with the Noel-Okafor reports:

I've been pretty consistent that I think Okafor's market value probably exceeds my estimate of his value on the court because of his defensive limitations. We'll see whether that's actually the case in terms of how other teams value him, or at least other teams with the pieces to make a trade work. Naturally, Philadelphia is going to ask a lot for the third overall pick with three years left on his rookie contract. Noel's a little tougher sell from a value standpoint because he's only got one year left on his rookie deal. (That's the downside of losing a year to his ACL rehab.) I'd be intrigued to see how much a team that wants to use cap space would give up to be able to take advantage of his relatively small cap hold for next season. That sounds a lot like the Lakers, actually, though I'm not entirely sure what they'd send in return.

76ers Musings: Draft Best Player Available: Derek Bodner, Philly Mag

Just because Brandon Ingram is a better perimeter shooter than Simmons doesn’t automatically mean he’ll have a greater impact on his team’s three-point shooting. LeBron James was a 31 percent three-point shooter this year, but the Cavs shot the best from behind the arc when he was in the floor. Shot creation is an important factor to consider:

A perfect example of this is Robert Covington. Over the past two seasons, Covington shot 38.8 percent on 214 three-point attempts within the first six seconds of the shot clock, shots that presumably came off of either offensive rebounds or quick transition strikes. He shot just 35.5 percent on his other three-point attempts, likely because offensive rebounds and transition opportunities were his best chances to get space on a team void of real high-level shot creators.

Four teams well positioned to set tone for 2016 Draft: David Aldridge,

Aldridge believes that the organization is high on Nerlens Noel:

There is strong support within the organization for Nerlens Noel, who provides defense and rebounding that none of Philly's other bigs provide. Keeping him would give Philly the flexibility to keep another offense-dominant big. But the Sixers tried playing Okafor and Noel together last year, with terrible results. And can Noel play in the modern age of basketball, when centers are increasingly shorter and more versatile offensively?

Blogtable: Lakers or Sixers under more pressure in Draft?

It’s an interesting question, because while the Lakers are more of a free agent destination (something that hasn’t mattered in the last few years, mind you), they also owe the Sixers their pick next year. The answer to the question is the Sixers, though, because they can pick whoever they want. Here’s what John Schuhmann said:

(That said, you absolutely should want the most pressure.)

The Sixers are the team that needs to choose between the top two guys. They’re the team that has sacrificed the most to be where they are. They’re the team that didn’t have a Hall-of-Famer around this season to keep their fanbase engaged. And they’re less of a free agent destination, making the Draft more important.

Pump the brakes, Sixers fans: Jerry Bembry, The Undefeated

My advice to the Sixers: Enjoy the moment and the days leading up to June’s draft. But tone it down. By the end of next season — with the possibility of yet another lottery pick — your extreme enthusiasm will be significantly curbed.

I'm not sure Timberwolves fans’ excitement over Karl-Anthony Towns has been curbed now that they’re back in the lottery. 

The 76ers Should Make a Run at Dion Waiters This Summer: Isaiah Rhodes, The Sixer Sense

This will be a name that is frequently brought up once we start talking free agency. During these playoffs, Waiters is making defensive rotations and offensive decisions we frankly have never seen from him. My worry is that on a team like the Sixers, he’ll again get away from playing within himself. For now, though, it’s nice to see a local product raising his game when it matters most:

Throughout these playoffs, Waiters has proven to be a consistent defender and a reliable scorer in high-pressure situations. Whether it be against the experienced Spurs in the semifinals or against the Warriors in the conference finals, Waiters has played fearlessly, becoming a linchpin in the Thunder’s game plan. He is averaging 9.5 points per game in the playoffs, while also providing a third facilitator in the offense with 2.3 assists per game.

Sixers Tinder: Joel Embiid Matters More Than Anything: Brandon Lee Gowton, Liberty Ballers

“The easiest swipe right of my life,” Gowton says:

Embiid is the franchise cornerstone for the basis of championship contention. He has the potential to be so good that he can settle any qualms there are about the likes of Byran Colangelo building a team around him. He is the living embodiment (The Embiidiment) of why Sam Hinkie's patient plan was worth all that losing.

The Night 'Process' Fans Turned Into Basketball Fans: Max Rappaport, Complex

TTP has reached Oceania. Incredible:

And perhaps nobody at the party deserved that respect as much as one fan who braved a 35-hour flight from Wollongong, Australia to Philadelphia to be part of this weird celebration-turned-memorial. Tim, 28, started following the Sixers in 1997, when his father returned from a stateside business trip with an Allen Iverson jersey as a souvenir. From that day forward, the Sixers became his adopted team, despite the fact that they’ve posted just a single 50-win season since then.

Sixers tweets of the week

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann