Imagine the type of player that could help the Sixers in the future.
How about a guard who can shoot well enough to spread the floor that’s also crafty enough to run the pick-and-roll? Maybe a guy with big game experience so you’re not relying on a youngster while you’re chasing a title?
What if I told you the Sixers may already have the rights to that type of player?
You’re forgiven if you don’t know the name Vasilije Micic. If you do, then you’re already ahead of the game. If not, here’s a refresher on the Serbian guard and his current situation.
Where did this guy come from?
The Sixers did quite well for themselves in the 2014 NBA Draft.
In addition to Joel Embiid falling into their lap at No. 3, they also acquired Dario Saric and an additional first-rounder. In the second round, they landed solid NBA pro Jerami Grant (39th overall) and Micic (52nd overall), among others. Fun fact: The pick then-GM Sam Hinkie used on Micic was acquired in the Spencer Hawes trade.
Micic started playing professionally in Serbia in 2011 at 17 years old. Since then he’s had stints with Bayern Munich (Germany), Zalgiris (Lithuania) and has spent the last two seasons with Anadolu Efes in Turkey.
How good is he?
After not really standing out his first couple EuroLeague seasons, Micic has made strides the last two seasons — especially in 2019-20.
Through 24 games, Micic was having an outstanding year. He shot the ball extremely well, hitting 40 percent on 5.4 attempts from three a game. To further illustrate how much Micic has evolved as a shooter, he hit a ridiculous 96.4 percent of his free throws. He also shot 46.9 percent from the field overall, a strong number for a perimeter player.
He averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 30.6 minutes per game. His team had a 24-4 record in EuroLeague play, the highest mark when the season was suspended.
It’s fair to point out that that he averaged over three turnovers a contest. Obviously Micic was a high usage player, but that assist-to-turnover ratio is a little troubling. It’s also fair to wonder how he’ll fare defensively against elite NBA athletes.
How does he fit with the Sixers?
Micic has seen an uptick in his play and sounds like a guy who may be ready for an NBA opportunity, according to an interview with 15min.lt.
“This is my style of play," he said. "I could play fewer minutes, play a smaller role but I think that during my career in Europe I have already gained the status of a player that shows I could play a role that is longer than 20 minutes, which is what might be waiting for me in the NBA.”
This is where the situation gets tricky. Micic is an ascending player in the EuroLeague entering his prime. Does he want to trade having a huge role in the second-best league in the world to fight for minutes with the Sixers? It doesn’t sound like it.
The Sixers’ situation on the perimeter is a little crowded. We’ve seen young wings like Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz step up at different times this season. Shake Milton was excellent filling in while Ben Simmons was hurt and seems to have solidified the backup point guard role.
Micic, as mentioned, has skills that should appeal to them. His shooting numbers speak for themselves. He’s the type of guard that can be Simmons’ backup but is also crafty enough to unleash Simmons as a screen and roller while they’re on the floor together.
Defense may be a concern. Though Micic possesses decent size at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, his lack of elite athleticism could hurt him. Even on the offensive end, Micic is more crafty than he is explosive.
The contract situation won’t be cut and dry, either. Micic is no longer subject to the rookie wage scale. You'd think he'd seek a deal larger than the veteran minimum.
So should the Sixers try to bring Micic over? It couldn't hurt. Should Micic come over to compete for minutes? That's up to him.
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