There will be a distinct lack of Golden State Warriors’ presence at the upcoming FIBA World Cup, even with Steve Kerr taking the reigns as head coach of Team USA and Lester Quinones suiting up for the Dominican Republic.
Part of the lack of representation derives from Croatia’s absence from the World Cup, meaning Warrior fans won’t get an early look at free agent addition Dario Saric against the highest level of national competition.
However, the 29-year-old is still representing his country at the Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament which is currently being held in Turkey between August 12-20.
Dario Saric has had a strong start for in the Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament, less than two months out from linking up with the Golden State Warriors.
With training camp not too far away, Warrior fans will have been impressed by Saric’s form to start the tournament. Now captain of his national team, Saric led from the front with 17 points, three rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block in just under 28 minutes during Croatia’s blowout 86-55 win over Belgium.
Saric displayed his offensive versatility, draining two of his three attempts from deep and going 6-for-11 from the field overall. He was also a game-high +37 plus-minus in a dominant performance for him and Croatia.
Saric backed it up with nine points, four rebounds and an eye-popping seven assists during a 99-67 win over Sweden. The eight-year NBA veteran was a +19 in the game, also adding a steal and a block in just over 24 minutes.
Saric’s passing at his size has always been a standout, and it was on full display against Sweden. He regularly found teammates at the rim for easy finishes, offering a glimpse at what Warrior fans could get used to next season.
The facilitating element perhaps hasn’t been fully utilized throughout Saric’s NBA career, but in the high ball movement style of the Warriors, it could be unlocked in a way that proves incredibly valuable.
Golden State crucially secured Saric’s signature after a patient wait through the opening week of free agency in July. The 6’10” big man averaged 6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists with the Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City Thunder last season.