Philadelphia 76ers: Dario Saric’s next home should be back in Philly

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

If the Phoenix Suns opt to make Dario Saric available at the deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers should seriously consider bringing the Process OG back home.

In what has become an increasingly frequent occurrence, Dario Saric may be in the market for a new home – literally.

You see, after being traded to the Phoenix Suns during the 2019 NBA Draft along with Cam Johnson for the draft rights of Jarrett Culver, Saric has once again become an expendable piece on a team going nowhere fast, a near-parallel circumstance to his time with the post-Jimmy Butler Timberwolves during the first half of the 2019 season.

Saric is still earning minutes and has started 40 of 43 games so far this season, but as the Suns’ naturally shift their attention to developing youngsters coming off the bench, like *sobs internally* our old friend Mikal Bridges, it’s only natural to assume the club could opt to make available ‘veteran’ players on expiring deals they have no interest in retaining.

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That pretty much describes Saric to a T.

But hey, just because Saric once again didn’t work out as a playmaking power forward on a young team mid-rebound, doesn’t mean the soon-to-be restricted free agent couldn’t provide value on a playoff-bound team looking for a little scoring, a little shooting, and a whole lot of that Si Si moxie.

I wonder who It could be?

A beyond fan favorite from the Process-era thanks to Sam Hinkie‘s masterful manipulation of the Orlando Magic in a draft-day trade centered around Elfrid Payton, Saric’s eventual jump from Euroball to the NBA became a constant question for Philadelphia 76ers fans for the better part of two years before the 2014 lottery selection made his debut alongside Joel Embiid in 2016.

But you already know about that, right? Certainly, you remember Saric’s 22-year-old rookie season, where he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting behind Embiid and public enemy number one Malcolm Brogdon. You then certainly remember his sophomore season paired up with Simmons, Embiid, J.J. Redick, and Robert Covington on the Sixers’ first playoff-bound squad since the team forever enshrined in The Saftie Brothers’ ‘Uncut Gems’ back in 2012.

That season, Saric averaged career-high numbers across the board, averaging 14.6 points, 2.6 assists, and 6.7 rebounds a game while knocking down a career-high 39.3 percent of his shots beyond the arc.

Since then, Saric has reverted to his rookie averages thanks in no small part due to having to change teams and schemes four times in a little over a year, but through it all, the Croatian Fury has remained a competent NBA player who could truly excel in the right situation.

Maybe a return to the comforts of the City of Brotherly Love could be just what the doctor ordered for a #SaricRevival?

Say what you will about the Sixers’ biggest needs going into the 2020 deadline, but number two behind a legit top-30 backup ball-handler has to be a more effective replacement for Mike Scott as the Sixers’ first swing guard coming off the bench.

Clearly Saric can fill that role, as his best season as a pro came in the exact role alongside a rookie Simmons. Saric also has the optimal size to play the four and enough athleticism to cover down on smaller forwards, making his addition pretty easy to envision all of these years later.

Really, the only aspect of Saric’s game that’s a bit of an odd fit when compared to some of the more traditional 3-and-D forwards on the market is his 3 point shooting efficiency, but even that becomes a bit less important when you consider everything Saric brings to the table.

A point-forward during his time in Europe, Saric is just as effective scoring the ball as he is getting his teammates involved, and could provide some much-needed secondary playmaking alongside Josh Richardson. Heck, I’m still a believer that if given an opportunity, Saric could excel as a primary ball-handler for short bursts of the game as a big-bodied change of pace coming off the bench, maybe even a point-center, if deployed at the five a la vintage Kevin Love.

Next. Matisse Thybulle is in historically good company. dark

If the price is right – I’m talking second-rounders and a young player(s) like Jonah Bolden, Shake Milton, or maybe Zhaire Smith if need be – adding a certified sixth man who can average double-digit points off the bench could be an absolute steal and give the Philadelphia 76ers their most potent reserve scorer since Marco Belinelli averaged 13.3 points a night coming off the bench in 2018. After 14 months away, it feels only right to bring Dario Saric back where it all began and see if he can turn four months of work into a nice restricted payday.