Draymond Green, Steve Kerr Praise ‘Very Smart’ New Warriors Forward

Dario Saric

Getty Dario Saric attempts a layup.

What if the Golden State Warriors’ most important offseason addition wasn’t Chris Paul?

That question might sound far-fetched right now because Paul, a surefire Hall of Famer, provides Golden State’s second unit with a level of facilitation that few (if any) other NBA teams boast off the bench. But it will sound less crazy if Dario Šarić keeps playing the way he did during the first week of November.

Teammate Draymond Green called Šarić a “very smart player” who was Golden State’s top free agent target. And head coach Steve Kerr also had praise for Šarić, saying in his postgame interview on November 6 that Šarić “instinctively understands, you know, how to create something out of nothing” and that he has the ability to help fix “broken plays” for Golden State.

In his past four games, the eighth-year forward has scored in double figures three times, including a 20-point outing on November 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Then, on November 6, he posted 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in Golden State’s victory over the Detroit Pistons.

“He’s just a really instinctive, good basketball player,” Kerr said.

Dario Šarić Looking to Get Career Back on Track

After tearing his ACL in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals as member of the Phoenix Suns, Šarić missed the entire 2021-22 season. In 2022-23, he played in just 57 games for Phoenix and Oklahoma City. But now, fully healthy, Šarić is contributing to a Warriors team with championship aspirations – and having fun doing so.

“It’s very fun when you play on a team who’s winning all the time, very fun when you play [on a] team that’s sharing the ball,” he said after Golden State’s win over the Thunder on November 3.

So far this season, Šarić is averaging 8.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists per game and shooting 40.6% from three while playing more minutes per game than he has since 2019-20, when he was a member of the Suns.

Filling a Void on Golden State’s Bench

The addition of Paul came at a cost for the Warriors this summer. That cost was Jordan Poole, one of the league’s best bench scorers over the past two seasons. Along with Poole, other bench players Donte DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green and Anthony Lamb have departed the Warriors as well.

Jonathan Kuminga is back for his third season, and while the bouncy 21-year-old might still develop into a high-level offensive player, he does not provide a consistent offensive spark at this point in his career. Gary Payton II is a high-level defender, but his outside shot can’t be trusted nightly.

All in all, the Dubs bench looks a whole lot different than it did last season, and second-unit scoring was always going to be a question mark. Over the past week, Šarić is answering that question. While he certainly doesn’t match Poole’s individual creation ability, Šarić’s scoring pop could prove mightily beneficial to Golden State, a team that entered this season unsure of exactly where its bench scoring would come from.

Šarić was never going to be an end-of-bench veteran getting spot minutes on a good team. Rather, Golden State signed Šarić to be a major part of its second unit. So far, he is playing that part.

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