Dario Saric

Šarić fills Warriors role that Kerr believes went missing after title

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Dario Šarić was on the top of the Warriors’ free-agent wish list this summer.

It took a few days longer than expected, but Golden State general manager Mike Dunleavy landed his guy on a one-year contract worth the veteran’s minimum in July.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr expressed his appreciation for Šarić after practice Wednesday in San Francisco. He foresees the 6-foot-10 big filling a role the Warriors were missing last season.

“Dario is a perfect fit. He’s been great,” Kerr said Wednesday. “I think now that he’s got his legs underneath him, he’s got a feel for how we play. He’s getting better and better every day.

“We really missed that dynamic last year, that [Nemanja] Bjelica and [Otto Porter Jr.]-type player -- a big who can stretch the floor but still make plays, good passer -- that really changes the equation offensively when you have someone out there you can run the offense through and can space the floor with a 3-point shot. I’m really excited about him.”

Like Šarić, Bjelica and Porter signed on the veteran’s minimum to chase a championship alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the Bay. Both Bjelica and Porter made a heavy impact on the team in the 2021-22 regular season and stepped up when needed in the playoffs. The 6-foot-8 Porter even started the last three games of the 2022 NBA Finals at center.

The Warriors are Šarić’s fifth team in seven NBA seasons since being selected in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft and debuting in 2016. His unique combination of size and shooting ability (36.0 career 3-point percentage) is why Golden State signed him to space the floor off the bench alongside guard Chris Paul, his teammate for two-plus seasons with the Phoenix Suns.

Šarić made a positive first impression during Golden State’s first preseason test, a 125-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday. He logged six points on 2-of-4 shooting (2 of 3 from 3-point range) in 15 minutes to go along with four rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Šarić and the Warriors return to the court Friday for their second preseason test against the Lakers, this time at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

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