Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric has suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and is out indefinitely.
Saric’s absence is a blow to the Suns’ already thin front court.
The Suns are 5.5 point betting favorites to win Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals on Thursday night.
The Phoenix Suns are a team that has been able to avoid serious injury during the 2021 playoffs and that has been one of the reasons why they are one of the last two teams standings in the 2020-21 NBA season.
Make no mistake, the Suns are playing like worthy champions right now but you can’t overlook the fact that they’ve beaten teams that lost key players during the regular season or playoffs.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were injured in the first round. The Nuggets didn’t have Jamal Murray in the second round and the Clippers played minus Kawhi Leonard during the Western Conference Finals.
Enter Game 1 of the NBA Finals and the Suns found themselves in the shoes of their past opponents. Phoenix lost big man Dario Saric to a knee injury. The 6-10 Saric was driving in the lane against Brook Lopez in the first quarter of Game 1 when his knee buckled when he planted his feet on the ground. He left the game and didn’t return.
An MRI the following day revealed that Saric suffered a torn ACL and will be out indefinitely.
Suns forward/center Dario Šarić has sustained a torn ACL in his right knee. He will be out indefinitely.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 7, 2021
Although Saric isn’t anywhere near Anthony Davis, Jamal Murray, or Kawhi Leonard, he is still a valuable contributor to the Suns and his absence only makes the lean Phoenix frontcourt even thinner.
Suns Frontcourt Depth Suffered a Blow
The Phoenix Suns’ frontcourt depth suffered a blow as reserve forward Dario Saric tore his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the opening game of the NBA Finals and will be out indefinitely, the team said on Wednesday. https://t.co/KxPAyom8NU
— Reuters Sports (@ReutersSports) July 7, 2021
Losing Saric will force Monty Williams to make adjustments to his rotation. The 6-10 Saric has played center for the most part of the season, serving as Deandre Ayton’s back-up and giving the team a different look with Ayton on the bench.
With his ability to knock down the three-pointer, Saric stretched opposing defenses and took opposing centers outside the shaded lane because of his floor-spacing ability. He is a career 35.7% three-point shooter but was knocking down 44.4% of his long bombs during the current postseason.
The Suns lack quality size behind Ayton. Aside from Saric, Frank Kaminsky is the next guy close to being called a big man. Without Saric, the only player outside Ayton and Kaminsky taller than 6-8 is Jalen Smith, who played just 156 minutes during the regular season. How Williams reacts could depend on what coach Bud does on the other end. But it’s going to be tricky, and a challenge for the young Suns.
Suns Are -360 Favorites After Game 1
After winning Game 1, the Phoenix Suns are -360 favorites to win the NBA Finals pic.twitter.com/JU47ltA2b8
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) July 7, 2021
Despite losing Saric, the Suns were still listed as heavy -360 betting favorites to win the NBA title at the BetOnline App. Not that Saric isn’t important to the team at all but because of how fantastic Chris Paul and Devin Booker looked in Game 1, not to mention the entire postseason.
Paul starred in his first ever NBA Finals appearance while Booker also had an impressive Finals debut despite shooting poorly from the field. Phoenix’s starting backcourt combined for half of the team’s 118 points scored in Game 1 while big man Deandre Ayton continues his breakthrough postseason with 22 points and 19 rebounds.
The Suns head to Thursday’s Game 2 as 5.5 point spread and -215 moneyline favorites at the same online sportsbook. However, it will be interesting to see what adjustments Coach Bud makes and whether he will try to take advantage of the Suns’ lack of depth behind Ayton.