Dario Saric: A Necessary Part of The Process

Look at this shirt.

In light of the Philadelphia 76ers’ agreement to trade multiple picks for the Boston Celtics’ 2017 first-round and the number one overall draft pick, the NBA world and its revolving moons are expecting Philly to select Markelle Fultz. This would combine the former Washington Huskies freshman with last year’s first overall selection, Ben Simmons, as well as Joel Embiid, who after a short, but stellar rookie season, has instilled life in former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie’s infamous ‘Process.’

It’s that process I would like to talk about. Look at this photo:

Robert Covington is a fine player. Saric should replace him.

These are presumably the four young players the Sixers hope to have on their roster for the next decade as they go from tanking, uh, the downswing of The Process to returning to contention. I think Robert Covington is the fourth Musketeer in that photo and isn’t really a part of said Process. However, there is one vital piece missing from that picture that is needed to fully optimize The Process: Dario Saric.

Joel Embiid is the potentially bigger star. He has a level of entertainment, on and off the court, that Saric has yet to develop. Embiid playing a third of the season after missing the first two since he was drafted, and being at a near All-Star level, imbued the Sixers fan base with excitement.

But Saric also didn’t play right after being drafted. Taken 12th overall in 2014, he stayed overseas in Croatia before joining the team at the start of last season. Saric endured a slow start due to a logjam in the Sixers frontcourt. But once Nerlens Noel was dealt to Dallas, and factor in how the franchise handled Embiid’s minutes, some playing time freed up for Saric. He responded by playing very well, including some individual big nights. His season averages ended at 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He had 29 points in a win against the Lakers, and a career high 32 points and 10 boards in the United Center against Chicago. He also started being trusted to be on the floor to finish close games, becoming a part of head coach Brett Brown’s fourth-quarter lineup.

The Process(es) welcome the expected latest addition. (Credit: @joelembiid on Instagram)

The reason why Saric is necessary for The Process to work isn’t just because he’s shown promise of being very good. Saric is the perfect complement to Fultz, Simmons and Embiid because he allows for better floor spacing. Fultz develops into a slasher/scorer, Simmons is the facilitator and Embiid is the pivot in the paint. But Saric is there as a shooter defenses must respect, though he has the skill set to grow into much more. Think Danilo Gallinari meets Lamar Odom and both reach their full potential. That’s the possibility for Dario Saric.

The most important part of The Process is acquiring talent. The second-most part is for said talent to mesh – for the parts to fit in the machine. The pivot can’t operate if there isn’t space to move. The wrecking ball cannot swing if the crane is crowded. The Sixers need Saric to be effective as much as everyone else involved, including Embiid.

Dario Saric may not need to be in candid Instagram photos or have his silhouette printed on custom t-shirts, but he and the rest of the Sixers’ young core need to grow together in the best way possible. And that is a process.

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