76ers

Dario Saric knows his role will change on a deeper Sixers team

Starter or second unit? Dario Saric is ready to embrace whatever role Brett Brown assigns him.

Saric's role is likely to change this season because of new additions and players returning from injury. 

"Everybody wants to start," Saric said at practice Wednesday. "But I don't have a problem coming from the bench."

As a rookie, Saric came off the bench behind Ersan Ilyasova and became the starting power forward following Ilyasova's trade to the Hawks. In total, Saric started 36 of 81 games, including all 25 after the All-Star break.

This season, that starting four-spot will go to Ben Simmons. While the 6-foot-10 Simmons will run the floor, he will be guarding forwards on defense. That would bump Saric into the second unit, where he could thrive as a go-to option in the offensive system. There will be more touches for Saric as a reserve than as a starter with players like Joel Embiid and JJ Redick being offensive focal points.

"Maybe I will have more space for me from the second unit," Saric said. "Now it's looking like that. But I will try to fight 100 percent. That's in my blood."

Of course, Saric would prefer to start — most players would think the same way. On the Sixers, though, head coach Brett Brown actually focuses more on who will end games than start them. If Saric hears his name called with two minutes to go, that would mean more to him than being in the starting lineup.

"That's the more important thing for me. I hope I will be in the group who finishes the game," Saric said. "I hope I will find a way to finish the game, to be in the unit who can win the game."