As we've reiterated repeatedly here at The700Level, Dario Saric has given Sixers fans more than we ever could've reasonably asked for in his rookie season. Just coming over in the first place was miracle enough, but the fact that he broke through his rookie adjustment period to put this team on his back when Joel Embiid got injured, and actually kept this team competitive and watchable for months afterwards, was just more of a blessing than we could hope to repay him for. But there's one way the Sixers could certainly begin to pay him back: By shutting him down for the remainder of the season.
Not that he necessarily needs it, and certainly not that he wants it. Dario undoubtedly yearns to stay out there, to be the only 76er to play all 82 games this season, to help this team get to 30 wins for the first time since Eisenhower was in the White House. But the evidence seems to suggest that The Homie rapidly running out of gas as the season nears its close. He's hit just six of his last 28 three-point attempts, looking like his legs are largely gone. After his 5-18 shooting night against Atlanta last Wednesday, he openly admitted his late-season exhaustion. ("I was tired.... so many games.") And yesterday, he was held to a 24-minute "guideline" due to heel soreness.
How many more warning signs do we need before Dario is officially put behind protective glass for the rest of the season? I want to see the Sixers get that 30th win as much as anybody, and I certainly don't want to see any late-season slump or benching end up tipping the Rookie of the Year vote in favor of Malcolm friggin' Brogdon. But considering Dario's body is seeming pretty vulnerable these days and that this team passes around meniscus tears like a bag of Doritos, I'd say the priority at this point should just be getting Saric out of this season alive. He probably already has four undiagnosed maladies that should be season-ending, why risk adding more at this point?
Let's shut him down and park him on the bench next to Joel, Jahlil, Ben, RoCo and (until demonstrated otherwise) Sergio for the season's remainder. Call it tanking if you must, though understand that the Lakers and Suns have basically been pulling vets since the All-Star Break, and we couldn't out-tank them if we sent the Sevens roster to the rest of the Sixers' games for our final five games of the season. Whatever: Let's just let Alex Poythress, Shawn Long and Tiago Splitter play 40 minutes a night for the rest of the year at this point, then give 'em each a gold watch and send 'em to Process Retirement. Bet we still find a way to win two more games with them, anyway.