Goran Dragic may be the best placed young point guard in the NBA this season. Coming to a team that is used to having quality point guards, the expectations for Dragic to succeed in Phoenix are pretty high. Being mentored for a season by Steve Nash certainly did nothing to help that fact. With that being said, it’s safe to say that the Phoenix Suns have now become Dragic’s team. On paper, this sounds like a great thing; how many point guards would like to say that their respective team is their team? The part that nobody mentions when it comes to team ownership, the responsibility is tremendous. In most cases you’re expected to be the star every night, no matter the circumstance. Jordan owned the Bulls; he played game five of the 1997 NBA finals with the flu. Doesn’t matter what’s going on, everyone expects you to play well; the fans, the players and the coach. Dragic will be asked to come back to a city where he used to play and carry the Suns somewhere, anywhere. Nobody really knows exactly where. However, what the Suns can’t do is end up worst then last season. If this happens, everybody looks bad, especially Goran Dragic.
Looking at Dragic, what people don’t notice is exactly how good he’s become in a short period of time. Going into his fourth year, Dragic is looking at averages of 11ppg, and 5apg, both being above average numbers. Take into effect that he’s spent most of his young career split between teams, you couldn’t expect more from a guy that prior to a year ago you probably never knew about. However, Dragic’s been here, scoring on guys while most of us slept. Though not very explosive or athletic, Dragic somehow manages to squeeze his way to the bucket at all cost. In a way he reminds me of Manu Ginobli with an obvious hint of Steve Nash. What Dragic has that a lot of point guards don’t is court sense. Dragic is aware of where he is on the court at all times, as well as his opponent. Whether its a simple pick and roll or complex zone defenses, Dragic runs through plays like he’s been in the league for 10+ years. Then again, when you’ve played a year under one of the best point guards in league history in your prime, how bad could you end up?
When Dragic was sent to Houston, he learned the fundamentals of running a team. True, he did have to fight for his time with Kyle Lowry, another really good point guard. However, Dragic would eventually make the most out of his time in Houston. Nearly leading the Rockets to a playoff spot, Dragic would go on to cement his name in the free agency pool. Once free agency rolled around, his front door was being knocked down with teams looking to sign him. Dragic would eventually return home to Phoenix, bringing with him the leadership skills needed to run a team on his own. Likewise, the Suns would go on to add pieces for Dragic to suceed. Looking at the Suns’ roster, it’s a little different from when Dragic first made an appearance. Dragic will be playing alongside the likes of Michael Beasley, Shannon Brown, Jared Dudley, Marcin Gortat, Jermaine O’neal, and his old running mate in Houston, Luis Scola. Add Sebastian Telfair, Channing Frye and Wesley Johnson and suddenly you have a playoff contending team. No one expects them to win a championship anytime soon. However, once again, their success rest partially on the shoulders of Dragic. There’s a lot of money put into him. With that said, he has to be good right?
Prior to writing this piece, I took the liberty of watching a few highlights on Dragic. His coming out party happened in the western conference semis of 2010. coming off the bench, Dragic literally played the best games of his life. Dragic went off for 26 points in 17 minutes; the most points ever scored in under 20 minutes. Dragic made history in the first two years of his NBA career. There’s a reason people in Phoenix like this guy.
How will Dragic’s career pan out from here? The crazy thing about it is that no one really knows when it come to NBA athletes. You get guys that come in the NBA and tear it up during their first years, and then a freak accident happens that crushes a guys career. Shaun Livingston (look out for a piece on him) is a perfect example. However, there’s a lot of cases that of good career gone bad. Hopefully, this is not the case for Dragic. I personally would love for Dragic to have a great career. It will all take pan out in due time. Until then, you can find Dragic in Phoenix, running his team like a true point guard should.