Are Saric, Nurkic future NBA stars?

Both Euro bigs have talent and upside, but fit, draft status remain questions

Updated: June 11, 2014, 3:25 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla | ESPN Insider

Dario Saric, Kimmo MuurinenANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty ImagesWill Dario Saric (left), one of Europe's top stars, remain in the 2014 NBA draft?

ZAGREB, Croatia -- I'll go anywhere I can to watch a basketball game. Last week, on a day trip away from the adidas EuroCamp, I traveled to Zagreb to watch the second game of the Croatian League finals between Cibona and Cedevita. The teams are city rivals that play each other numerous times a season. The matchup featured two potential NBA lottery picks in 6-foot-10 Croatian Dario Saric and 6-11 Bosnian Jusuf Nurkic.

The game and the day took on added significance because it was played on the 21st anniversary of the tragic death of one of Europe's greatest players -- Drazen Petrovic -- in the basketball hall named after him. A moment of silence was followed by a five-minute standing ovation for Petrovic, one of Croatia's national heroes.

I have seen both Saric and Nurkic play numerous times in the past, so here are notes on what I observed from them this week, an update of their strengths and weaknesses, and where I see them heading into draft night. Also below are notes on several prospects from the recent adidas Eurocamp.

Dario Saric | PF | Cibona (Croatia)


The 20-year-old Saric has been on the NBA radar since he was 16. He has long been considered the best player his age in Europe. Yet he is one of the two most polarizing prospects, along with Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, among NBA scouts. Like Smart, his feel for the game and his competitiveness supersede elite NBA athleticism, but in the past, his game has usually translated into winning.

Fran Fraschilla is a college basketball analyst for ESPN. He formerly was the head coach at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico.