Dario Šarić can and will Contribute to the NBA Warriors

Entering NBA free agency, the Golden State Warriors had one glaring need: an established frontcourt veteran who could stretch the floor and fortify their interior, all while seamlessly fitting into Steve Kerr’s movement system. The challenge, however, was the limited resources they had, offering only a minimum contract.

Fortunately, Dario Šarić emerged as the perfect fit, surpassing other available options in meeting their requirements. The Warriors wasted no time and presented an official offer to Šarić as soon as free agency began. However, they anticipated a delay as Šarić explored more lucrative deals.

The wait stretched on for over eight days. Brook Lopez’s impact on the big-man market on the first day of free agency, coupled with Damian Lillard’s trade request, brought movement across the league to a standstill. Throughout this period, numerous phone calls were made to convince Šarić of the potential partnership, involving the front office, Kerr, established veterans, and assistant coach Dejan Milojević, who has a close relationship with Šarić.

Finally, news trickled through the organization during their summer league game in Las Vegas. They had successfully secured Šarić’s commitment. Considering the unappealing alternatives beyond Šarić, this acquisition was a significant coup. The official confirmation arrived on Saturday morning, revealing a one-year veteran minimum contract for Šarić, as confirmed by team sources. The versatility he brings can affect how NBA Lines perceive the Warriors this year. 


Saric’s Role in Golden State

Šarić effectively fills the role that Otto Porter Jr. excelled in two seasons ago and JaMychal Green struggled with last season. As a frontcourt shooter, he can be paired with Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, or Jonathan Kuminga to provide better floor spacing in lineups that would otherwise be cramped.

What sets Šarić apart from JaMychal Green is his ability to capitalize on closeouts, put the ball on the floor, and make quick decisions to keep the offense flowing. Throughout his career as a role player, he has averaged two assists per game, which is an element the Warriors’ bench lacked last season. This versatility was reminiscent of what Porter and Nemanja Bjelica brought to the team two seasons ago, solidifying Šarić’s value.

Another appealing aspect of Šarić’s addition to the Warriors is his previous experience playing alongside Chris Paul during his stint with the Phoenix Suns. I’ve been informed that Paul was a vocal advocate for the Warriors to acquire Šarić in recent days. With their established chemistry, this duo will form the backbone of the Warriors’ new, older, and more methodical second unit.

During the Suns’ Western Conference-winning season, Šarić benefitted from 41 assists from Paul. When Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton were off the floor, Šarić often engaged in a two-man game with Paul at the top. Although he may not possess the explosiveness of previous Paul partners like DeAndre Jordan or Tyson Chandler, Šarić has proven to be adaptable in various pick-and-roll scenarios. He possesses the skills to capably pick and pop and slip into open spaces for layups.

Admittedly, Šarić has some flaws in his game, although it is surprising that he fell into the minimum contract market. His rebounding numbers have slightly declined in recent years. Defensively, he may not be suited to guard premier scoring centers in the post, nor is he laterally quick enough to switch onto quicker wings and guards on the perimeter. However, similar limitations did not hinder Porter and Bjelica from thriving within the team’s system due to their intelligence and effort. Šarić possesses those same qualities, making him an ideal fit.

Despite suffering an ACL injury during the NBA 2021 finals, Šarić showed promise after being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the last trade deadline. Moreover, he won’t turn 30 until April, leaving room for further growth and improvement. 

Šarić’s versatility allows him to seamlessly fit into various lineup combinations, but his pairing with Kuminga in the second unit is particularly intriguing. Statistics from the previous season suggest that Kuminga thrived alongside Anthony Lamb due to Lamb’s ability to spread the floor and make plays. This will likely be Šarić’s designated role on a team that will be frequently favored by NBA Odds. 

The Warriors are still finalizing their roster, with Šarić filling the 13th committed spot. It is unlikely that they will utilize a 15th spot, leaving one vacancy remaining. As a team that leans towards small-ball lineups, they may opt for a traditional big or an additional wing player. At present, no imminent decisions are on the horizon.