3 players who could break into Warriors starting lineup

The Golden State Warriors' starting lineup could be more susceptible to change than one might think at first glance.
Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors
Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Golden State Warriors' sixth-place finish last season landed well short of expectations. A first-round win over No. 3-seed Sacramento saved face a little bit, but the Warriors were promptly stomped out of the postseason by the No. 7-seed Lakers. Not exactly the ideal title defense.

Golden State is the most accomplished modern dynasty in the NBA — Steph, Klay, and Draymond all have four rings — but Father Time comes for us all, and the Warriors keep getting older.

Last season, the locker room fell apart following a preseason scuffle between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole. Then, a personal matter kept Andrew Wiggins away from the team for months. The Warriors' previously infallible chemistry faltered and teams the league over took advantage.

It's borderline irresponsible to fully count out a team that employs Stephen Curry. He continues to age like a fine wine, embracing his unique gravity as a shooter and off-ball mover to constantly elevate the entire offense around him. The Warriors can still score points, and with Draymond, the defense can still lock up.

As the new season dawns, however, it would be wise to expect new wrinkles to emerge in Kerr's rotational formula. On paper, the starting five is set — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney — but there's reason to believe Kerr could get creative with his lineups.

Warriors player who could break into starting lineup: Dario Saric

The Warriors aren't going to bench Curry, Klay, Wiggins, or Green. Any starting lineup changes will come at the expense of Kevon Looney. In this instance, we can point to his primary backup — the recently signed Dario Saric — as a potential threat.

Saric began his career with the Sixers before getting shipped to Minnesota as part of the Jimmy Butler trade. From there, he bounced around to Phoenix and OKC before landing with Golden State over the summer. The Homie has battled injuries and roster crunches to emerge as a legitimate rotation cog for a championship hopeful.

He's slightly undersized for the center position, listed at 6-foot-10 with a dead-even wingspan, but Saric packs 225 pounds of muscle and a mean streak. He's not the best defender, but he competes hard and he's best positioned as a five who can throw his weight around in the paint without being asked to guard the perimeter on a regular basis.

If the Warriors start Saric, it will be because of his offense. He shot 39.1 percent from 3-point range last season and the Warriors can, at times, suffer from the spatial jam caused by Looney and Green's overlapping presence. It's harder and harder for NBA teams to survive two non-shooters on the floor, no matter how strong the defense.

Saric is also a nifty passer who can occupy a variety of roles within the offense. He can pick-and-pop on the perimeter, operate as a playmaking hub from the elbow, or toss his shoulder into defenders for buckets in the post. He won't get to fully lean on his passing acumen with Draymond in the frontcourt, but there's a believable hypothetical timeline in which the Warriors feel compelled to start Saric.