Ayton met a similar fate in the conference semifinals, as did his backup JaVale McGee. In the ultimate irony, a Phoenix team that lost in the NBA Finals a year ago because it didn’t have enough quality size, lost this year because it lacked the perimeter groupings to face off against space ball. The Suns’ only good player between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-11 was Cameron Johnson; when they tried to go small without one of their traditional centers, they ended up too small. (For the second postseason in a row, having Dario Saric might have helped.)
He said he felt like a weightlifter through some of the process but is now starting to feel like a basketball player again with how much basketball activity he’s able to do again compared to a few months ago. “It was challenging,” he said. “Obviously, my season is [in] a bit different direction than (the) real team but I’m still here in my mind with the team and my heart too.”
Saric knows what it means for him to stay around the guys and still sit behind the bench at home games the last couple of months. “If one guy is really like in one way negative or doesn’t want to be a part of the team or something, guys see that,” he said. “Can’t interrupt the chemistry between the players. I really like felt it there with the team. I’m like three years already here with the team. This is my second home.”
Kellan Olson: We presumed but never got confirmation/heard until today from Suns GM James Jones on @BurnsAndGambo that Dario Saric is out for the year. He was rattling off the current list of injured players and included that.
“We’ve just said ‘indefinitely,’” said Suns General Manager James Jones on Saric’s timetable to return. “We’re going to let it play out. He’s doing well right now, but all those things, until you actually get on the floor and start moving around, and you start playing, it’s just conjecture.”
His return is so far into the future, Saric isn't even putting a target date on it. “It’s a situation I have to figure out,” he said. “It’s going to be my decision, personally. I would like to play, but the other part is when you have doctors, you have a medical staff who try to put a little brake on that. Let’s see, that’ll be nine months, feel right. Three months to be ready for the next season or is it worth it go one more year again. That’s a bigger question than just what I want.”
That’s why Saric isn’t being counted on this season, leaving the Suns without someone who Monty Williams calls the “heart and soul” of the team. “Everybody cheers for Dario,” Williams continued. “They root for him because he’s just a genuine, authentic person and to see him out? We all kind of look over there and see him rehabbing and we all feel bad for him.”
Gerald Bourguet: James Jones on Dario Saric's timetable after tearing his ACL: "We just said indefinitely. We're gonna let it play out. He's doing well right now, but until you actually get on the floor and start moving around and actually playing, it's just conjecture."
The Dario Saric injury has sneakily thrown off the Suns’ lineups and rotations, eliminating their second-biggest rotation player and forcing an already undersized group (at least in this matchup) to play smaller whenever Deandre Ayton is off the floor. This could’ve been a series the Suns used Saric at the four alongside Ayton, pushing Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson and/or Torrey Craig to the three in bigger lineups. Phoenix has been forced to play either Johnson or Craig at center, sliding a non-Ayton starter into the vacant slot to form a small lineup. That’s a win for Milwaukee. Saric wouldn’t have solved the rebounding or rim-protection issues, but his gravity as a spot-up shooter and pick-and-pop big could’ve helped offensively.
Kellan Olson: Devin Booker said the Dario Saric news hurts him and the whole team. Said they love him and are here with him through the injury. Gonna make sure he's mentally right and has his spirit.
Gerald Bourguet: Cam Johnson on Dario Saric: "It really broke my heart and all of our hearts to hear that. Any time a guy goes down at any point it's terrible, and on top of that, it's the Finals." Said he's praying for Saric and he's a teammate everybody loves
Kellan Olson: Monty Williams mentioned Abdel Nader as a possible small-ball 4/5 when rolling through the potential options to replace Dario Saric in the rotation. The other two names were Frank Kaminsky and Torrey Craig.
Gerald Bourguet: Monty Williams on Dario Saric's ACL injury: "It's just one of those situations that literally breaks your heart. Dario's a guy that I've been with twice - I coached him in Philly - and to get a chance to be with him here, he's what Suns basketball is about."
Shams Charania: Suns forward Dario Saric has a torn ACL in his right knee.
Phoenix Suns: Injury update: Suns forward/center Dario Šarić has sustained a torn ACL in his right knee. He will be out indefinitely.
Suns reserve forward Dario Saric exited Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night with a right knee injury and did not return to the team's 118-105 win. Saric drove on Bucks center Brook Lopez late in the first quarter and his right knee appeared to buckle when he planted his feet in the paint.
Kellan Olson: Dario Saric is probable for the Suns tomorrow in Philly due to left ankle soreness. No Deandre Ayton on the injury report after he hurt his shoulder yesterday.
Gina Mizell: Dario Saric is planning to play tomorrow vs. Philly. He said he sprained his ankle by stepping wrong during sprints after coming back from COVID. Total fluke injury. (Is this where I share that I sprained my ankle terribly by tripping getting on the Portland streetcar?) #Suns
Dario Saric was a full participant at 76ers practices on Thursday and Friday after missing Monday's preseason game against the Dallas Mavericks with lower-back soreness. "I should be like 110 percent ready for the Boston game," Saric said of Tuesday's season opener against the Celtics at TD Garden.
Jessica Camerato: Dario Saric still is feeling discomfort in his elbow. Mindset is to play through it. #sixers #heat #nba
Michael Cunningham: Dario Saric left the game and will not return. He has a cut lip and chipped tooth.
Christopher A. Vito: Dario Saric (out tonight vs Brooklyn) will not return until the matchup vs. Cleveland later this week, says Brett Brown
Ramona Shelburne: Sixers Dario Saric (cellulitis in his right elbow) is out for tomorrow night's game vs. Brooklyn. He's receiving treatment today intravenously and will be reevaluated tomorrow.
Dario Saric will miss Sunday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets with right elbow soreness. The 76ers power forward suffered the injury in Friday’s victory over the Atlanta Hawks at the Phillips Arena. Ersan Ilyasova will start in his place at the Spectrum Center.
Jessica Camerato: Dario Saric is out tonight. T.J. McConnell will play. #Sixers starters vs. #Lakers: Simmons, Bayless, Redick, Covington, Embiid.
Dario Saric is battered and fatigued. The 76ers power forward has played in 157 games of organized basketball in the last 17 months. Not only is he fatigued, it was revealed Tuesday that the rookie has been hampered with plantar fasciitis. Those are the reasons why the Sixers on Sunday instituted a 24-minute per game restriction on him for the rest of the season.
"I'm tired a little bit mentally, physically," Saric said. "But I try to push myself to what is possible in this part of the season, in this kind of minute restriction. Of course, I have pain in the foot. But I really want to play. I really want to help the team."
June 25, 2022 | 7:06 pm EDT Update
“Their continuity wasn’t there,” Perkins said on a recent appearance on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & the Three podcast (h/t Lee Tran of Fadeaway World) about Westbrook and Durant. “No matter how much they tried to fake it to the public, their brotherhood, it never was a brotherhood. And that’s okay, right, because you don’t have to be somebody’s brother to go out there and win a championship. But it helps. They never just got on the same page.
“It was the most difficult situation that I’ve ever been in coming from a Celtics team that was so close. When I got to the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was so separated. You had Eric Maynor, Russell Westbrook and James Harden… and Daequan Cook. They had their little clique and they kicked it with each other. Then you had KD who as just by himself. He didn’t even hang with them.”
“I gave him a choice because he had a 20-minute restriction the first game,” Steve Kerr told Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner on Friday’s episode of the Point Forward podcast. “I told him this is how the minutes would play out for you if you started verses if you came off the bench. Typical Steph, he said, ‘No, it sounds way better to come off the bench. That way I don’t have to sit too long between my minutes.’ “It never even entered the equation that this would be a blow to his ego or anything.”
“Physically get right, mentally take a step back, reflect, and kind of decompress,” Udoka said about Tatum. “Get your mind right as well. Just that time away. Don’t want to bother guys as much right now, but we want to relay the message that there’s still more to build on and grow on in certain areas.”
The Spurs had Branham pegged as a “midteens pick, maybe late lottery,” said Wright, who added that the club was prepared to trade up to get him. “We were just fortunate he was there at 20,” Wright said.
June 25, 2022 | 5:45 pm EDT Update
Joe Mussatto: Sam Presti on Lu Dort’s team option: “Obviously it’s our plan to exercise that pending anything different.” Significant news. The Thunder could have declined the option to make Dort a restricted free agent.