Last night, Philadelphia 76ers were up against Brooklyn Nets in an away game. Before and after the game that we got to attend as TrendBasket, we did an exclusive interview with Sixers’ Euro rookie Dario Šarić.
How are things going in your new challenge in the NBA? Do you think you are used to it now?
I think everything is going in a good way. Sometimes you have some good games; sometimes you got some bad games. This is the life in the NBA. We play games every two or three days. Of course, you have a better opportunity to play good games but also you have a chance to play bad games. In my first year, I don’t want to think about it. I just want to keep certain averages to avoid going down so many times. But I’m happy here. We have more or less fifty games until the end of the season and I’ll use this opportunity to play better.
In your team, there are a couple of European players, i.e. Ersan Ilyasova and Sergio Rodriguez. Do you think this is an advantage for you?
Of course. This thing is what helped me. We have people from Europe, people who have played in the NBA for years; for example, Ersan has been playing in the league for eight or ten years. Sergio has been here before and he is in the NBA again. Of course, it’s easy for me. They have some advices to help me understand how to play, how not to play and it’s, of course, an advantage for me.
Do you think it’s harder to play here, compared to the EuroLeague or European basketball in general?
I think it is because players here are stronger than the players in the Europe. Also, things are faster here than it is in Europe. This is the best league in the world. The best players play here. The style of play in the EuroLeague is a little bit different but the NBA is harder to play.
In the Sixers’ 105-95 win over the Nets, Šarić scored 18 points on (3/6) from the arc, and recorded 5 rebounds and one steal.
Congrats for the great game you’ve had, Dario. You shot a couple of great threes.
My next question will be about Anadolu Efes. Last year there was a lot of budget and it did not work out quite well. What went right and what went wrong?
I don’t know. We had a very good team, we were so good. If you put point guards one side, guards another side, and if you put bigs another side, you would have an unbelievable team. The team has a good name; there were people who have good basketball careers… I don’t know really. I think it’s not about coach and coaching. I can say it’s about some kind of chemistry on the court. Off the court, we were so great. Everybody was friends, joking to one another, going to dinners, spending a lot of time together but on the court, we didn’t feel each other. We didn’t play tough defense. We struggled in the pick-and-roll defense. I think that was the bad part. We had so much pressure. As players, we felt so much pressure because when we lost some games against teams that had more budgets and were in the same class as we were, we got some fear. I feel bad because of that season. We had an unbelievable team. We could have gone into the Final Four but we didn’t make it into the Top 8.
How about the atmosphere? Do you miss it?
Yes. I know that we have some special fans, people who really love basketball and the club. It’s not so many but Efes… -I can say “we”- we don’t have a football team and we don’t have that kind of fans. Turkish basketball teams that have so many good fans have also football teams. If we were bad during a game, people who bring us life during the game are fans, and we don’t have that. We don’t have a group of football fans but we have a group who loves basketball and is always supporting us. I thank them for this.
Lastly, are you going to be in the EuroBasket 2017?
Yes, of course. Of course I am but they put the dates of tournament so late. For the next NBA season, I don’t know if camps are going to start in that period. I don’t know if FIBA and everybody else will fix it but if I stay healthy, if I’m %100, for sure I will try to continue the same way I did last summer.
Everybody expects to see you…
I can’t wait to come. After the group stage in Romania, we got games in İstanbul and I’m looking forward to see my friends there.