Dario Saric’s new role a boon in the Phoenix Suns win

Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Continued strong play from him will be needed if the Phoenix Suns are hoping to make things interesting down the stretch.

There were more than a few heroes in the Phoenix Suns 125-112 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday afternoon. Devin Booker was Devin Booker, with 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Deandre Ayton more than held up on his end with a double-double (24 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists to boot.) Ultimately, six different Suns players were in double digits, but the unsung hero in this contest was one Dario Saric.

I’ve talked about Saric before,  both describing his uneven season and the uncertainty that will follow him this offseason as the 26-year-old enters restricted free agency. The need for him to play better not only for himself but also for his team is readily apparent. With that being said, this first contest of the season restart for Saric is promising.

16 points, six rebounds, three assists. Four out of six from the field; two out of three from three-point range, and all in 27 minutes off the bench.

Yes, off the bench.

If Saric can keep this newfound aggressive attitude, it will benefit both himself AND the Phoenix Suns.

The official explanation was an ankle injury that Saric had been battling, and out of an abundance of caution, the Phoenix Suns started Cam Johnson in his stead. However (and this has been mentioned before in Suns circles) perhaps that is the best role for Saric. There is a bit less pressure on a player who has somehow drawn that in each of his previous stops before arriving in Phoenix.

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Off of the bench, Dario Saric can look to find more consistency without being immediately expected to churn out production matching that of a starter. 16-6-3 is an amazing stat line for anyone coming off the pine, however, the sad reality is that for their remaining seven games, the Phoenix Suns won’t be playing many teams of the Wizards caliber. Saric would be hard-pressed to replicate those numbers consistently. Granted, he has the skillset to; it just isn’t necessarily a given that he will bring that from game to game.

On a positive note, for a team looking to make a postseason bid (with the win the Phoenix Suns move to within a game of the Kings and Pelicans) Saric’s aggression and strong play will be needed more than ever. If the numbers can’t come through consistently for Saric, then his newfound aggressive mentality from the scrimmage through now most certainly can. If it does and some breaks go their way, we may be talking about Phoenix Suns games far after the seeding contests.

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