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Dario Saric hoping to stay positive after losing starting spot

Suns, Dario Saric

Dario Saric is hoping to stay positive despite recently losing his starting power forward spot in the past two games. Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams opted to go with a twin-tower lineup of Aron Baynes at power forward and Deandre Ayton at center, now that the latter has returned from a 25-game ban.

The Croatian has only played 10 minutes in the last two games — a vast difference from anything he’s seen this season, his first with the Suns.

“Of course it’s kind of hard to handle everything, but I am a professional,” said Dario Saric after the Suns’ 121-114 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. “I respect Coach’s decision. I try to play hard in practice, try to stay after the games, knock down some shots and wait for my chance.

“It’s not easy, but I try to really stay positive and I’m doing really good. Let’s see.”

Saric is saying all the right things, but it might not take long before he sees the effects of his playing time evaporating right before his very eyes.

The trend had become apparent for the past few weeks. Saric was averaging a solid 27 minutes per game through the opening stretch of the season, but saw a clear dip in his playing time after a Dec. 20 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder where he played 33 games.

In his last eight games, he’s averaged 15 minutes per outing — and the minutes just keep on dwindling, as he only played six minutes in the Suns’ recent loss to the Grizzlies, following a four-minute stint in a win over the New York Knicks.

It seems that Dario Saric is being rapidly phased out of the rotation, even with Frank Kaminsky III in the mend with an injury. Once FK3 returns, it is possible the Croatian international starts to log the first DNP-coach’s decision of this campaign.