I wrote most of this story before Dario Saric was listed as “questionable” tonight with “gastroenteritis,” so go figure.
It seems kind of redundant to do another Dario article just a month after the last one, but it kind of needed to happen. It would be gross negligence not to pen as much as possible about the leaps and bounds he’s grown in 2018.
Because it can’t be understated.
At the time of last write-up, Dario was coming off a 10-game run in which he was shooting 48% overall and 43.4% from three point range. Nice, eh? No way could he carry that form into the second half of February or even March, right?
Here’s what Dario has done in his last 10 and 15:
He’s averaging 16.5 points per game on the strength of 50% shooting and 44.4% three-point shooting over his last 10, a stretch where the Sixers went 6-4 while playing two home games and eight on the road.
There are a billion different ways to parse Dario’s statistics over recent weeks to show how well he’s playing, so I’ll just do some bullet points.
March (six games):
- 59.5 field goal %
- 53.1 three point %
- 17.8 points per game
- 28.8 minutes per game
- 7.2 rebounds per game
- 2.7 assists per game
- 3 fouls per game
- 2.2 turnovers per game
February (eleven games):
- 46.8 field goal %
- 41.3 three point %
- 17.1 points per game
- 32 minutes per game
- 7 rebounds per game
- 2.8 assists per game
- 1.8 fouls per game
- 1.8 turnovers per game
Just incredible numbers for a guy playing his second NBA season.
He finished his rookie year shooting 41% from the field and 31% from three, and is now up to 45% and 39% in year two. So he’s performing 4% better overall and 8% better from distance. Those are significant improvements over the course of 64 sophomore season games.
It looks better when you compare how he does to some of the other starting fours around the league, although skill-sets are certainly different. Dario is a stretch four who spaces the floor well and allows Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to exchange in the front and back court, but look at his overall contributions across the board:
I picked five starting fours who play on teams in playoff position, or right around it. Dario scores and rebounds just as well as any of those guys, most of whom are experienced veterans. He puts up more points than Al Horford and rebounds better than Thad Young while playing fewer minutes than both.
Offensively, he’s rounding into a polished and reliable player. A glance at the splits shows that there really aren’t severe performance swings based on various circumstances:
- home: 13.9 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 46.6 field goal percentage, 35.1% from three
- road: 15.9 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game, 45.3 field goal percentage, 42.6% from three
- back to backs: 14.5 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, 39.2 field goal percentage, 34.5% from three
You see some change in 3P%, but he actually shoots the deep ball better on the road. There’s a negligible 1.3% difference in overall shooting in home games vs. away games. And even in back-to-backs, where most NBA players see a drop, he’s still averaging 14.5 points per game and 7.9 rebounds, (numbers which might be a bit bloated since Joel Embiid didn’t play a lot of those games.)
The steadiness is further exemplified here. Look at his FG% now, compared to where it was in October and November:
And not much difference in wins and losses. He shoots above 45% in both cases, with a 0.1 PPG difference. For the most part, you know what you’re getting from Dario. He’s put up few clunkers in 2018, just 11 single-digit scoring games, five of which happened in October when he was coming off the bench.
So chew on that for a minute and think about how far he’s come from an offensive standpoint in 1.75 NBA seasons.