Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns catches the ball during an NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Arena on March 30, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Falcons 117-110. (Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
Forward Dario Saric has not played for the Phoenix Suns since injuring his knee during the 2021 NBA Finals.
He’s among a group of NBA players who missed the mark entirely last season. And like many athletes, his role is up in the air in hopes of a healthy 2022-23 season.
ESPN’s NBA experts delve into the list of returning players who didn’t make an appearance last season, and Dave McMenamin writes about why Saric’s situation is on the horizon.
There is a soft market for big men in today’s NBA. While Saric’s passing and shooting skills set him apart from the rest of the crowd, Phoenix is expected to wait for his rehab to join the journeys of Magee, Kaminski and Smith.
Saric, who is on an expiring contract, suffered a torn right ACL in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
Saric had a procedure to repair the meniscus in his right knee in the second round of this year’s playoffs in May to rehabilitate a torn ACL.
Before the injury, Saric was a serviceable big man who found a role that suited Phoenix.
Saric was solid off the bench for the Suns during the 2020-21 regular season leading Phoenix’s run to the NBA Finals, averaging 8.7 points on 44.7% shooting and 3.8 rebounds in 50 games.
He was a top-10 NBA wideout in the NET rankings as a backup center before his role fell to the playoffs. He played just 10.7 minutes per game before suffering a knee injury.
Since then, in Saric’s absence, the Suns have cycled through Javale McGee, Frank Kaminski, Jalen Smith, Bismack Biyombo and Ish Wainwright in various backup center roles.
For his career, Saric is averaging 11.7 points, six rebounds and two assists on 44% shooting from the field.