81 G | 26.3 MPG | 12.8 PPG (41.1 FG%) | 31.1 3FG% | 106 3FGM | 78.2 FT% | 6.3 RPG | 2.2 APG
• Worth the wait? It would certainly seem so. In his debut NBA campaign, Saric, acquired by the Sixers in a 2014 draft night trade, didn’t disappoint. He concluded the season ranked second among all rookies in scoring (12.8 ppg), third in 3-pointers (106), second in free throws made (172) and attempted (220), third in rebounding (6.3 rpg), eighth in assists (2.2 apg), and second in double-doubles (10). Additionally, the Croatian became the first first-year player in league history to average minimums of 12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, while also burying at least 100 3-pointers.
• As heady as Saric’s season stat line was, his durability was just as impressive. He matched T.J. McConnell for the team-lead in games played with 81, and was one of six rookies who suited up for 80 contests this campaign. The only outing he missed was the final one on the schedule, due to heel sorenes. Dating back to the fall of 2015, Saric logged 158 total appearances in the span of 18 months between stints with Turkish Basketball Super League affiliate Anadolu Efes, the Croatian national team, and Sixers.
• Saric’s overall numbers spoke for themselves, but a conversation about his season wouldn’t be complete without putting into context how his production changed following Joel Embiid’s left knee injuries. Shortly thereafter, Saric’s output started to spike, as he started a string of 22 consecutive double-digit scoring games – the third-longest streak for a rookie in franchise history. During this same stretch, he ripped off four double-doubles in a row, which no Sixer had done since the 2003-2004 season (Kenny Thomas, 10 straight double-doubles). Post All-Star break, Saric accounted for 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Whether it was via determined drives to the basket, or scrappy two-way contributions, toughness was a quality that Saric routinely and undoubtedly brought to the court in ample quantities throughout the season. This rugged, resilient fourth quarter sequence from the Sixers’ January 18th meeting with Toronto helped set the tone for the home team’s first win over the Raptors in 15 tries.
The combination of quality court vision and creative ball-handling skills made dangerous passing as much a part of Saric’s game as anything else this season. In a steely 105-102 triumph over New York on March 3rd, Saric not only posted 21 points and 10 boards, he delivered this timely, fancy, late fourth-quarter dime to Jahlil Okafor as well.
To cap his run of 22 straight double-digit scoring efforts, Saric burst for a career-best 32 points (12-19 fg, 2-5 3fg, 6-8 ft) in the Sixers’ convincing March 24th 117-107 win in Chicago. He ripped down 10 boards, too.
Statement for the Summer:
“I will rest, I will go back to my hometown, spend some time there. I will try to work after some couple days – two weeks or three weeks – I will start to practice, work on my game, try to improve for next season.”