3-point Woes for Sixers' Dario Saric All About Location

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Dario Saric wants to find his rhythm. That will come when he finds his shot and where to take it. 

Saric is still adjusting to the difference in the three-point line from Europe to the NBA. Often times he expects to be behind the arc, when in reality he is a few steps in front of it.

The Sixers would like him to become a long-range threat. It starts with him getting comfortable that far out from the basket.

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“He’s probably had the cleanest looks out of all of our guys that have not gone in,” Brett Brown said Monday. “I really don’t think, there are probably one or two, there are many bad shots. He’s taken the shots that the defense is giving him and he has been short a lot.”

Saric is 4 for 21 (19.0 percent) from the field and 1 for 7 (14.3 percent) from three in his first two NBA games. He is averaging 5.0 points per game. Last season, he shot 50 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from three (11.7 points per game) for Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League. 

The 22-year-old rookie isn’t afraid to shoot the ball; there is little hesitance with his release. For Saric the challenge is to learn where he is when he receives the pass and pulls up for the shot.

“It’s hard because here the pick-and-roll game is a little bit down the three-point line,” Saric explained. “In Europe, when you play pick-and-roll games and you make a screen, you are already on three-point line. … I played 10 years like that. I’m already on three-point, I will shoot the ball. But here when you make a screen, you turn around, you are on long two. That I can say is the bad shot in the NBA game. 

“In that case, I need to work a little bit more on footwork, spread a little bit out, take two, three steps back, and after that one step forward and catch the ball and shoot the ball. And of course I need time.”
Of Saric’s 21 field goal attempts this season, he is 1 for 5 from less than five feet from the basket, 0 for 1 in both the 5- to 9- and 10- to 14-foot range, 1 for 4 in both the 15- to 19- and 20- to 24-foot distance, and 1 for 6 25 to 29 feet out. 

Brown would like the Sixers as a whole to take less long two-point shots. He envisions them being able to space the floor with the 6-foot-10 forward shooting deep. 

“We talk lots about two things,” Brown said. “Getting his legs into his shots, getting way more lift, and ultimately growing him to becoming a three-point shooter.”

The Sixers are practicing education and patience with Saric. The team and Saric himself expected a learning curve. 

"I didn’t do a very good job last two games," he said. "But it’s OK, season is first two games. We have 80 [more] games. I hope I will catch some rhythm and I will start to play good."

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