76ers coach Brett Brown smiled Wednesday when he was asked about first-round pick Dario Saric.
The Sixers acquired the 6-foot-10 power forward in a draft-day trade with the Orlando Magic. The Croatian has a contract with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball League that may prevent him from playing in the NBA until the 2016-17 season.
But the Sixers are keeping tabs on his development, and they love what they're seeing.
Saric, 20, was named the Euroleague MVP for November. He is among 10 finalists for FIBA Europe young men's player of the year. Saric won the award last season.
"I pay attention to him [in] all the games he plays," Brown said. "I'll go and either watch a portion or all of it or highlights. We play text tag all the time. [General manager] Sam [Hinkie] was just over there" last week.
"We really look forward to having him with us. We really do."
Saric scored in double figures in each of his last three games even though he averaged just 23 minutes. He's the only player in the league who is averaging at least 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.
"The exciting thing is he's ours," Brown said. "He will be a Philadelphia 76er, and we all have to be excited about that."
Saric can play small forward, but Brown sees him as a power forward. One would assume that's a problem, considering that rookie Nerlens Noel also plays that position.