Dario Saric Drafted by Orlando Magic: Latest News, Reaction and Analysis

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Dario Saric Drafted by Orlando Magic: Latest News, Reaction and Analysis
Petr David Josek/Associated Press

Dario Saric remained in the 2014 NBA draft after withdrawing last year, and now he is tabbed to be a franchise-changing force in the future for Philadelphia 76ers.  

Saric was selected by the Orlando at No. 12 overall.

However, Saric is expected to be traded to Philadelphia after the selection, per David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Had Saric stayed in the 2013 draft, he may have been chosen higher, given how weak that class was. But amid a deeper pool of talent this time around, the 20-year-old Croatian is still an unquestionably intriguing prospect who could develop into a star sooner rather than later.

However, Philadelphia may not see the benefits of acquiring Saric for at least two years. A source told ESPN.com's Chad Ford that Saric signed a three-year deal with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball League. The club also competes in Euroleague.

Based on a prior DraftExrpress.com interview with Saric's agent, Misko Raznatovic, the move to stay overseas comes as little surprise:

Dario's ultimate dream is to be a NBA All-Star and he absolutely does not accept anything less than that. At this moment he believes that is better to stay in Europe for a season or two, to get a taste of the Euroleague, and then to enter the NBA when he has more experience. He believes that it will be a shortcut for making his dream. But he did not make a final decision about that, and I will not absolutely exclude that option as well. He just wants to make a proper step and be in a place where he will be able to develop and play.

It was bound to sink Saric's stock to an extent as well. Before and after news of Saric's decision broke, BasketballInsiders.com's Alex Kennedy had some contrasting inside information and analysis:

Per DraftExpress.com, Saric averaged 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per contest in the 2013-14 season for Cibona of the Adriatic League. He led that team to the league title, showing that Saric has a will to win and can elevate his game when it matters most.

That has to be encouraging for Philadelphia, because it's difficult to know what to expect from Saric given his noncommittal approach to the NBA and how young he is. Youth is also what makes Saric's sharp skills so staggering to witness.

At 6'10" and 223 pounds, he has the athleticism to run the point and fill it up from beyond the arc on occasion, suggesting he could either fill in as a sizable swingman in the NBA or become an ultimate stretch 4 in smaller lineups.

ESPN's Fran Fraschilla believes Saric has room to improve on his jumper, though:

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It's unlikely that Saric will be able to project well in the Association at the power forward position, at least to start his career. That is another reason, along with the need to become a more consistent shooter, that playing international ball for a year or two will help.

Saric is a bit too perimeter-oriented to be a true 4 and also has great ball-handling skills, serving as more of a guard than a forward often. Saric would also need to pack on more strength before he becomes more formidable in the post.

But it is a good sign that he can pass so well and has such an advanced understanding of the game at such a young age. There is reason to believe that Saric could step in and at least be a huge contributor off the bench right away, or even start within a season or two.

Whatever Saric decides to do in the immediate future, it is important that he is decisive in his actions and stays the course as he continues his promising development as a player. Pulling out of the 2013 NBA draft paid off in that Saric showed improvement in his additional year with Cibona and got a better grip on his plan to eventually play stateside.

Philadelphia just won't want Saric to wait more than two years before he makes his NBA debut after making such a premium investment in him. There is risk with this pick, yet there is no denying the upside.

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