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DarioWatch: PEEPAW DOWN

With Chris Paul out, how is Dario Šarić holding up?

Chris Paul and Dario Saric of the Golden State Warriors high five during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 4, 2024 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. The Warriors are wearing their blue uniforms. Dario is suited up and Chris has his warmups on.
Chris Paul #3 and Dario Saric #20 of the Golden State Warriors high five during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 4, 2024 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

We all know that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are the Splash Brothers. However, there’s a second duo running the Golden State Warriors’ bench mob, and that’s Chris Paul and Dario Šarić. Having played together in Phoenix for four years, doing essentially the same thing they do for the Warriors, the pair has a ton of chemistry on the court. They — along with Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis — are the reason that many Warriors fans online have declared the bench mob better than their starting counterparts this season. Maybe they’re not better in pure scoring and skill, but you can’t deny the chemistry they have compared to the starting five, who just can’t gel this year despite being together for so long.

According to Twitter user GiftedxHoops, as of December 23rd, 2023, “40% of Dario Saric’s shots have come from Chris Paul. CP3’s passed to Dario Saric 243 TIMES, the MOST on the team. 165 times to Klay, 180 times to Curry. Dario has passed to Chris Paul 306 TIMES, the MOST on the team.” The duo works beautifully well together, especially when Trayce-Jackson Davis and Steph Curry are on the court. There is a magic to the way they pass — seriously, go on YouTube — I’ve never seen two players able to locate each other so telepathically.

Last week, Chris Paul went down with a left hand fracture. The news broke right after Friday night’s victory against the Detroit Pistons, and millions joined in sighing at their phones and muttering “peepaw down” when it was announced that the 38-year-old point guard would be missing 4-6 weeks.

“He’s kind of embraced me and my game and tries to find me in every situation when I’m open,” Šarić told the San Francisco Chronicle Friday night. “I’m very thankful. It’s going to be a big loss for my game, probably, but hopefully he gets better sooner rather than later.”

Despite his anxiety about playing without his apparent “longtime sidekick” according to multiple sources, Šarić dropped an impressive 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in Sunday night’s loss against the Raptors. Although Šarić and Paul are known for being a bit ridiculous about passing to each other, the Homie actually logged two more assists than his average.

There aren’t any signs of a slump from Dario Šarić — at least not yet. It seems that the fall of his “emotional support grandpa” hasn’t actually been a big blow to his game like he thought it would be.

I’ve mentioned before that Dario likes to find friends to stick to on every team he plays for. On the Sixers, it was Joel Embiid and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. With the Timberwolves, it was Robert Covington and Andrew Wiggins. In Phoenix, it was Cam Johnson, and in Golden State, it’s Chris Paul. This isn’t the first time Dario’s doubted himself when his bestie went down. In 2018, he referred to the Sixers without Joel Embiid as “a Batman movie without Batman” — despite the fact that the Sixers kept themselves afloat until the Phantom of the Process could make a comeback halfway through the team’s first playoff run in six years.

Maybe, just maybe, being just fine without Chris Paul will finally give Šarić some confidence in his own abilities, rather than attributing his skill to his chemistry with someone else.

Or, hey, maybe Chris Paul will wake up from hand surgery wondering where Dario is, only for the doctor to say — “who do you think gave you the hand?”

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