Dario Saric‘s slow start may be related to the time he spent this summer with the Croatian national team, but he doesn’t plan to stop representing his home country, relays Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Saric shot just 26.5% from 3-point range and 37% overall in the Sixers’ first five games, which coach Brett Brown believes is related to a year-round work schedule.
“I don’t think it’s anything to do with the league scouting him differently,” Brown said. “I think it maybe does have to do with a little bit of burnt energy. It’s the toil of a summer. … This notion, that you play 12 months and you’re really in a good flow, is a myth. It is a myth. People need rest.”
However, Brown doesn’t expect Saric to change his priorities. As a former Olympics coach with Australia, Brown understands the passion of international competition. The NBA has long embraced the idea of players representing their native lands and it means too much to Saric to consider changing.
“Absolutely, I think I would be a better player if I didn’t play five, six years on the national team,” he said. “I think I would be a better player. But at the end of the day, everything is winning. You want to win with the national team.”
There’s more today from Philadelphia:
- Costly draft mistakes have forced the Sixers to rely on trades or free agency to add a third star to pair with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The organization used high lottery picks on Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, who were both traded away for little return, and chose Michael Carter-Williams ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013. They couldn’t sign free agents LeBron James or Paul George this summer, while Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Raptors. Pompey states that the pressure for a huge move will be intense heading into the last summer for a while that significant cap space will be available.
- The Sixers are expected to pick up the third-year option on Furkan Korkmaz, even though he doesn’t see much playing time, Pompey adds in the same story. Korkmaz would only make $2.03MM next season, which shouldn’t be enough to affect the team’s free agency plans. Philadelphia has until Wednesday to decide on the option for Korkmaz, along with Simmons, Saric and Markelle Fultz.
- Injuries are at least partially to blame for the Sixers’ slow start, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Philadelphia hasn’t gotten much production outside of Simmons, Embiid and J.J. Redick, but two offseason pickups who were expected to be important parts of the reserve unit, Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala, have both been sidelined by injuries.