Dario Saric was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but the plan was for him to remain in Europe for at least two more seasons.
That’s probably part of the reason the rebuilding Sixers traded for him on draft night, given their propensity for selecting players who aren’t ready to contribute to the team’s win total in the immediate future.
Saric, however, was ready to make the jump now. But he couldn’t get out of his current contract in order to make that happen.
From David Pick at Basketball Insiders:
“Saric told people he wanted to join Philadelphia now, but couldn’t because his contract had no out-clause,” a source told Basketball Insiders.
Despite the Sixers’ late push to bring him over as soon as possible, negotiations with Turkish finalist Anadolu Efes failed to materialize. Saric is handcuffed overseas until 2016, but it was clear, sources familiar with his wishes said, that he wanted to join Philadelphia.
I asked Saric for his thoughts about moving to the U.S. and the situation with his Turkish club.
“It’s really hard for me to answer that,” Saric said. “I can’t comment.”
Tanking jokes aside, the Sixers did seem to want to add Saric to the roster this season. It’s time to start developing all that young talent in order to begin to turn things around — even though the 6’10” power forward is a duplication of sorts, alongside Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and the newly-drafted Jahlil Okafor.
The Cavaliers won two games against the Warriors in the NBA Finals, and did so with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both sidelined due to injury.
Had they been healthy, could they have won two more? Irving believes the answer is a resounding “yes.”
In an appearance on The Big Podcast With Shaq, Irving answered a question about his involvement in getting Kevin Love to re-sign by saying how great things were in Cleveland last season, and that they should bring everyone back because had they been healthy, the title would have been theirs.
“I’m more of the voice of reason,” Irving said. “I’m always going to be a straight shooter with everyone and give them my honest opinion. Obviously, we have a great thing in Cleveland, and we dealt with everything together.
“I feel like we definitely would have won an NBA championship if we had everyone healthy,” he said. “But almost doesn’t count.”
It’s interesting to consider, because the Cavaliers morphed into a very different team once Love and Irving were out of the lineup. They became tough and defensive-minded, with Tristan Thompson emerging into a dominant force on the boards once he was given a starter’s share of the minutes.
But the Warriors were the best team in the league all season long, by a somewhat comfortable margin. Things would have played out differently had Cleveland had its full complement of players available, certainly. But a banner in Golden State still would have been the likeliest of results.
Anthony Davis is already viewed by many as being one of the top few players in the league today, a dominant big man that has the ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor at an absolutely frightening rate.
And the new head coach of the Pelicans, Alvin Gentry, wants to make him even more difficult to deal with by extending his range to the three-point arc.
From John Reid of NOLA.com:
In a conference call to season-ticket holders on Tuesday night, Gentry says he has already told Davis that every day he works out in the gym this upcoming season he wants him to make 150 corner 3-point shots from each side of the court.
”That’s got to become a consistent shot for him,” Gentry said. ”I don’t think he’s going to have any problem doing it. If you go back and look at his high school days, he was a very good 3-point shooter. But all of sudden he decided to grow six or eight inches. He still has that range, but I don’t think it has been incorporated in the offense in college or the pros that he’s been in.
”We want him to shoot that shot. So I think you probably see him make more 3s than he’s made his entire career.”
Gentry has had success doing this in the past. As head coach of the Suns in 2010, he got Channing Frye to launch 392 three-pointers, after he had made just 20 in total during his first four NBA seasons. Frye shot 43.9 percent from three-point distance that season.
Davis made only one three-pointer last season on 12 attempts, but it turned out to be the difference in sending New Orleans to the playoffs because it ultimately gave them the tie-breaker over the Thunder in the standings.
Davis is already unstoppable on the offensive end of the floor, so adding yet another weapon to his arsenal seems almost unfair to the rest of the league. With Gentry looking to create even more of a monster here, a famous quote from the Bhagavad Gita delivered by one of the men who invented the atomic bomb comes to mind: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”