Dario Saric: Now into the Top 16 of Euroleague, Anadolu Efes' cross-continental schedule is heating up. After putting in a fantastic performance to top Vasilije Micic and Crvena Zvezda, as well as a game-winning shot that made a young fan (read: Shamus) faint, The Homie Dario (TM) followed with a pair of rough showings the past couple weeks.
In a loss to Lokomotiv (Russian basketball team, not '60's pop song, apparently), Saric saw just 15 minutes, racking up three quick fouls and shooting 1-for-6 from the field, including 0-for-3 from deep. Then late last week, he saw just 14 minutes in a win over Darussafaka, picking up three quick fouls yet again, four boards, two assists and shooting 2-for-8 from the field. Furkan Aldemir went for five points, three rebounds and way too many beautifully set screens, while Scottie Wilbekin hanged 20 on 14 shots and three treys.
Now, this is something I've stressed in the past: Saric's foul-trouble issues are real. He's picking up just about five fouls per 40 (which is the FIBA limit), and while he's often hyper-active on defense, he's undisciplined, slow to react and lacks the feel for playing within a team defense at this stage. He lacks the awareness or the defensive IQ to defend in space, and often ends up with bad fouls scrambling to contest on late reactions and frustration fouls.
This isn't uncorrectable. Young big men with defensive discipline issues aren't rare by any stretch of the imagination, and a 21 year-old who works his tail off and just doesn't quite know how to put it together yet isn't anywhere close to a lost cause. But these problems are real, and Philly's development program will have its work cut out whenever Saric heads stateside.
Vasilije Micic: The 2014 second-round pick has had an underwhelming if not disastrous season. After leaving Bayern Munich for a larger role with Crvena Zvezda, Micic has yet to carve out a consistent role well over a month later. He's a talented playmaker with great size and length for the pros, but shooting just 28.6 percent from the field on the aggregate this season across German and Adriatic League play (top-notch international competition, for what it's worth), it's hard to imagine Micic in a Sixer uniform anytime soon.