Dario Saric Has All The Tools to Lead The Second Unit

While he struggled as a starter, Philadelphia 76ers’ forward Dario Saric has exhibited the ability to become a leader as the sixth man coming of the bench.

The primary theme to the 2016-2017 Philadelphia 76ers’ season has been experimentation. Coach Brett Brown and general manager Bryan Colangelo have spent this year figuring out which pieces fit into the puzzle. One of the pieces that might fit in the bench’s puzzle is Croatian forward, Dario Saric.

The Homie came into this season, although to the extent of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, with all the hype in world. Everybody and their mother was itching to get a glimpse into how his game would translate to the NBA. It has been interesting to watch him figure out the NBA game.

At the start, it seemed like he was a little overwhelmed. Dario began his NBA career as a starter, where he struggled. During his first 10 games he averaged 9.7 points per game along with 6.0 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game. These are solid numbers, but they were coupled with a -11 plus/minus rating. While he did produce, he wasn’t contributing to the team’s overall play as much.

This all changed when Coach Brown made the switch and moved Dario to the bench in favor of the Turkish veteran Ersan Ilyasova. Dario responded well to this change, averaging 10.5 points per game along with 6.8 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game. These stats are all tied together with proverbial bow that is his +2.3 plus/minus rating. Dario is now becoming a real contributor to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Now, one could make the argument that Saric is still finding his way in the NBA. He is. Obviously, playing in Europe is different from playing in the US. The game is different worldwide. That doesn’t mean that Saric can’t find his way.

Based on how Dario plays the game, it only makes sense that he comes off the bench. He’s the prototypical point forward. He can distribute the ball, stretch the floor, and run the floor on the break. Thus, he’s the ideal pick for a guy coming in the give that added boost for a team like the Sixers.

Hopefully, these next few months are the perfect opportunity for Dario to flourish. Jerryd Bayless‘ return signals the addition of an off-ball point guard. He will need some time to get back into game-ready shape. This gives Dario the opportunity to play alongside him, while also being the dominant ball handler. Homie will be able to find his spot.

So, this season will be a season of experimentation and puzzle-solving. Dario’s game and abilities will make him a factor for the Philadelphia 76ers. He has the fire needed to succeed in the Association. It’s just a matter of finding that role. Let’s hope that the Homie can become the man for years to come.

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