Suns Retorter: The World is Goran Dragic's Stage

Milan Tomazin
Suns.com Columnist


”Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

For most of us, our best talents will never garner a global audience. While that may or may not be a good thing, we’re not alone. Some of the most accomplished athletes, actors, artists and writers in the world only gain popularity in their home country and it only lasts for a short period of time -- just ask Billy Ray Cyrus. The closest many of us may ever come is striving for the standard set in the aforementioned quote; performing our craft as if it were broadcast worldwide.

Suns point guard Goran Dragic is a rare exception. Starting this week, he will be doing his thing, basketball that is, while the entire world actually does watch. That global spotlight is courtesy of the FIBA Basketball World Cup [1] in Spain where he and his fellow countrymen will compete in the Slovenian green and white.

One On One: Dragic talks World Cup and Offsason

But just how big of a stage could it really be for the man lovingly known as the Dragon by fans around the world?

If last year is any indication, it could be bigger than Beyonce’s performance at the VMAs, but with much more clothing.

Last year’s Eurobasket championship acted like the international basketball of a crystal ball providing glimpse of just what Dragic would bring to the court for the Suns. He averaged 15.3 points (4th highest in Eurobasket) , 4.5 assists (4th highest in Eurobasket) and 3.5 rebounds a game for the tournament.


GALLERY: Goran Dragic Takes the Court With Slovenia || HIGHLIGHT: Goran Leaves Everyone Speechless


The international play was a springboard -- or Slamball trampoline if you prefer [2] -- for the 6-3 guard’s NBA season, a year in which he set a career-high in points and rebounds while being one of the emotional leaders for the league’s most surprising team.

“Goran played with terrific effort and energy while leading the host team to an impressive fifth place finish in front of the Slovenian fans,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said. “He came into Suns training camp in great shape after playing in the Eurobasket and he went on to have the best season of his NBA career.”

Even the point guard himself saw just how much playing for his homeland impacted his play in his adopted home.

“[Eurobasket] helped me a lot,” Dragic said. “I had a great tournament. My confidence went up and then I just continued to do that in a Suns uniform.”

Things are set up for history to repeat itself. With Dragic competing in the World Cup, he’ll be in game shape earlier and be able to find his rhythm on the court before he even heads into training camp.

Each year of his NBA career [3], Dragic has taken a significant leap forward statistically as well as in his role as a leader. If he does it again, he’ll undoubtedly find himself playing during the Suns’ 10-day All-Star break.

But before he can think about taking the court in Brooklyn, he has to take care of business in Spain.

With the world watching maybe he’ll become basketball’s version of Chris Pratt [4]. The unexpected breakout star who audiences worldwide fall in love with. (A point guard-ian of the galaxy if you will.)

He has certainly put in enough hard work when no one is looking to make it happen.


AFTER THE BUZZER:

[1] Ironically enough, it was the other World Cup that Goran originally dreamed of playing in. That is before a knee injury, and a persistent mother, helped guide him to basketball as a kid. Quite the great turn of events for him and all of us.

[2] Seriously, how hasn't their been a Slamball revival? Heck, let's make it an All-Star Weekend event with media and alumni competing. The preview could be the 40 hours worth of paper work that'd be required to participate.

[3] Let's not count the season split between Phoenix and Houston.

[4] Pratt and Goran comparison isn't crazy. They're both extremely genuine people who were considered good but completely overlooked. Pratt got his respect and became a legit leading man between LEGO Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy. Goran has his chance.