Croatian captain and new Golden State Warriors‘ signing Dario Saric has led his national team to victory in the final of the FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turkey.
Saric showcased his offensive versatility and skillset throughout the tournament, culminating in a 22-point performance as a dominant first-half helped Croatia to an 84-71 win over the host nation.
New Golden State Warriors’ big man Dario Saric has led Croatia to a place at the 2024 FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Coming up against NBA talent in Alperun Sengun, Omer Yurtseven and Furkan Korkmaz, Saric took on more responsibility as a scoring threat in the final. Having led his team in assists throughout multiple games during the tournament, the 29-year-old showed his scoring intent early with a couple of hard drives to the rim.
Saric’s offensive skillset was on full display, taking advantage of his driving threat by knocking down four of nine three-point attempts during his 35 minutes on the floor. The eight-year NBA veteran finished with 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting, also adding 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals in a strong outing.
Croatia were dominant throughout the tournament, finishing with a 5-0 record to help make amends for their absence from the upcoming FIBA World Cup. Saric was at the head of their superiority, finishing as a +93 on the floor over the five games.
Saric had 18 points (5-for-9 shooting), eight rebounds, three assists and a steal during his team’s 85-70 win over Ukraine in the semifinal. He earlier had an astonishing 12-assist display in Croatia’s final group game against the Netherlands.
The 6’10” big dropped 17 points, three rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block in the opening game of the tournament, before adding nine points, four rebounds and seven assists in another game against Sweden.
While it may not be the highest level of international competition, Saric’s strong form is still a major positive ahead of his first season with the Warriors. After signing a one-year, minimum contract in free agency, he’s expected take on an important role with Golden State as a backup power-forward and small-ball center.