The NBA draft is just four days and away and excitement is growing with all the potential storylines and stories about who will do what with their picks. Whilst the future of Joel Embiid is a big talking point, another has emerged, the decision of Dario Saric to sign with a team in Europe instead of moving to the NBA next season.
The Croatian power forward is an immensely talented player. He was the undisputed star of the Adriatic League in 2013, winning nearly every single award possible all while at the tender age of 19. But the now 20-year old has declined the option to join the best league in basketball and will move to Turkish powerhouse Anadolu Efes instead, according to ESPN.
Saric has signed a two year deal with the Turks which includes a player option for the third year, meaning that we won’t be seeing the Croat in the NBA for the next two years at a minimum.
He is still draft eligible this year so he can still be taken by a team, but it will be nowhere close to the number ten spot he could have landed himself at this year if he were to play.
Instead it seems likely that a team such as the Boston Celtics or Phoenix Suns - who both have multiple picks in the first round - could take him later in the first and stash him away for a few years while he develops some more in Europe.
While it is an interesting move, Saric's decision to forego the NBA really shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. His agent, Misko Raznatovic, told Draft Express last month that his client might not play in the NBA right away, from Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post: "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."
Saric, who is invited to the Green Room for Thursday’s event, was thought by some to be a top-tier prospect in this very deep class. He dropped 19.3 points, grabbed 9.3 rebounds and dished out 3.8 assists per game this year in the Adriatic League.
While those numbers don't have a direct translation to the NBA's style of play, it's hard to ignore the complete line that he is capable of posting as a 6ft 10in man that can seriously play every position on the court from the point man to centre with his physicality and ball-handling ability.
It will be interesting to see how far he falls on Thursday and which teams eventually claim the rights to the European kid wonder.
You can check out Saric's Draft Express scouting report here...