Solar's pocket book: Saric wished to return to Phoenix; Moore brings versatility – Arizona Sports activities
Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) heads up against Golden State Warriors forward Dragan Bender (10) in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, February 29, 2020 in Phoenix. (AP Photo / Matt York)
Dario Saric admitted it had been a nerve-wracking couple of days of restricted free action.
The tall man from Phoenix Suns stayed home in Croatia eight hours ahead of Phoenix local time. That meant Saric woke up scared to check his phone to see if his agent or the suns had contacted him while he was sleeping.
Eventually, Saric signed a three-year contract to return to the suns where he always wanted to be.
"My first wish has always been to stay with the Sonnen, to play with the same guys, the same coaches and the same organization for two years in a row – that was my first goal," he said on Friday. "Obviously we had a great run in the bladder and it was the first thing on my wish list."
That makes a lot of sense when you look at Saric's career.
He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2014 but stayed overseas for two years before joining him and then, not even in the middle of his third season with Philly, Saric was traded as part of a package for Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. After a year with the Timberwolves, he was transferred to the Suns at night last summer.
As you can imagine, all of that movement in just four NBA seasons would make a guy stick around a bit.
The suns played in the bubble too, and Saric was a big part of it.
The Croat was one of Phoenix's 3-4 best players in the eight-game stretch and found a groove than stretch five from the bench, averaging 14.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
The suns offensively found a different rhythm level that is aesthetically pleasing to a player of Saric's archetype. For a tall man who likes to take a few dribbles and make a pass, a system with a high level of ball and player movement is what suits Saric best.
Monty Williams' .5 offensive was good enough in the regular season to lead the league on assists, but they took off up a gear in Orlando.
"At every moment I had the feeling that all five guys were in a great position to hit the basket," said Saric. “All five boys were in danger of hitting the basket. It wasn't just a guy who got buckets and all the other teams focused on him.
“I feel like all five players on the pitch could do something: score a goal, make a cut, make the right game, make the extra pass and I think that was the real reason we were so good at it the bubble. "
Saric has played roles over and over throughout his career, so it was important for him to find a play style and role that felt right. So it should come as no surprise that Saric wanted to be back as badly as the suns wanted him back.
Much like Saric, E’Twaun Moore had a hard time getting a permanent, defined NBA post.
Three seasons ago he started 80 games for the New Orleans Pelicans and played 31.5 minutes a night. Last season he struggled to keep a constant rotation point behind a young guard group the Pelicans were trying to find game time for.
As a combo guard with lots of offensive skills, Moore has played a number of different roles which made him more versatile as a veteran in his 10th NBA season.
The Sun's signing of the free agent could prove critical, given the shortcomings the team's reserve guards had before the bubble.
"I think I'll definitely be a great addition," said Moore on Friday. "I'm very versatile and I can do a lot of things. When that shoots, I try to create to shoot guys – just come in and bring that spark."
Moore and Langston Galloway might have gotten under the radar as signings on the veteran's minimum for casual fans, but their names have been mentioned many times over the week. That's because Phoenix is going to need them.
With the unveiling of the first half of the solar plan, the grade came eight consecutive in the first two and a half months. With Chris Paul turning 36 later this season, Williams and his staff will likely be giving Point God a couple of those nights off. This is where Moore and Galloway come in, along with Cameron Payne and Jevon Carter.
"This season is going to be a short, compact season with lots of games so you're going to need everyone … there will be a point very soon where you never know," he said. “Every man will be important and we will need everyone. I think the deeper teams always prevail in the end so I think this will be one of our strengths. "