I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it. NBC Sports Bay Area even showed it on the broadcast on Sunday night. You know what I’m about to say, and the agenda I’m about to push:
Dario Šarić is the only Warrior besides Wardell Stephen Curry himself to log a 20-point game so far this season.
Highest scoring games by Warriors players this season:— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) November 12, 2023
Steph Curry - 42
Steph Curry - 41
Steph Curry - 34
Steph Curry - 30
Steph Curry - 30
Steph Curry - 28
Steph Curry - 27
Steph Curry - 24
Steph Curry - 23
Steph Curry - 21
Dario Saric - 20
Get Steph some help pic.twitter.com/BhamDpo2ET
This 20-point game came last week vs the Thunder, just hours after I posted my last DarioWatch focusing on allyship and representation for marginalized groups in men’s sports, which is most likely unrelated, but very good press for us here at Golden State of Mind. Since then, Dario has logged two double-digit games.
Dario is one of those role players who fans of opposing teams always assert cooks them — he was even dubbed ‘the Warrior killer’ up until signing with them over this offseason. But when you have Kings fans, Thunder fans, Pelicans fans, Rockets fans, Knicks fans, Heat fans, and Cavs fans claiming he cooks them — is he really just mid and experiencing one-off good nights, or is he actually a good player going completely unrecognized?
This season, evidence points towards the latter. He has consistently been the second or third highest scorer after Steph every game this season — and it seems he doesn’t have off-nights. Last night, in an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dario was the third highest scorer behind Steph and Klay, and although it was overshadowed by a posterizing dunk by Anthony Edwards, his 11 points and 10 rebounds (his first double-double of the season!) didn’t go unnoticed. The team just looked better when he was on the floor — especially when accompanied by Chris Paul and Kevon Looney.
And about that dunk, before you panic, Dario has never been an elite rim defender. It’s even been joked that his job is to get dunked on, that he has a two-inch vertical, and that he’s been put on more posters than 2010 Justin Bieber. However, according to this graph by NBA University, the Homie is looking good defensively this season, and he’s in good company — it’s not often that you see a bench power forward in such close company to starting centers like John Collins and Nikola Vučević — and even relatively close to guys like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokić.
Rim Protection Check-In!— NBA University (@NBA_University) November 13, 2023
➡️ More Rim FGA Defended
⬇️ More Effective Rim Protection
What stands out? pic.twitter.com/6BsJaDWsYX
He might move like a 40-year-old uncle at the YMCA, but Dario only has six years of NBA experience. He’s only 29. He has time to grow into his prime — players are hitting them later and later, after all. And besides, he was runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 2017, beating out Joel Embiid and coming in just behind Malcolm Brogdon. Both of these players have just recently come into their primes, and having missed a year with a torn ACL in 2021, it’s no surprise we’re just starting to see Prime Dario. He’s the best and most reliable we’ve ever seen him since his first two seasons with the Sixers.
Anyway, I’ll be watching, like I always have been. You know where to find me. Next time someone tweets about Dario being the second-best player on the Warriors, we’ll be able to say we’ve been waiting for this one.