DETROIT – It's early in the NBA season, so that means Dario Saric is in the midst of his trademark shooting funk.
The 76ers power forward is shooting just 34.4 percent from the field and 27.8 percent on three-pointers entering Tuesday night's game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.
"I think the next couple of games I should be fine," said Saric, who averages 10.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists. "I think I should find a rhythm from last season, from the end of last season."
Saric scored six points on 3-for-8 shooting in a season-opening loss to the Boston Celtics on Oct. 16. The Croatian followed that up with consecutive 13-point outings on 4-for-12 shooting performances in victories over the Chicago Bulls (Thursday) and Orlando Magic (Saturday). He has hit only 5 of 17 three-pointers in the three games.
But this is nothing new for Saric.
He shot 32.3 percent from the field through last season's first eight games before turning things around. Saric made only 35.5 percent of his shots through the first six games of the 2016-17 campaign. But by season's end, he established himself as the Sixers' go-to guy while Joel Embiid was sidelined with a knee injury. Saric wound up being that season's runner-up for rookie of the year.
Saric finished the 2016-17 season shooting 41.1 percent and ended up shooting 45.3 percent last season.
He attributes his slow starts to spending his entire off-seasons back in Europe. He has summer-time obligations with the Croatian national team.
Meanwhile, a lot of his teammates spent some of their summer at the Sixers practice facility for workouts and pickup games.
"I don't have some touch with the team [while] they play here and scrimmages," Saric said. "I'm playing there."
As a result, he spends the preseason and early season getting back into a rhythm with teammates and a shooting rhythm.