ESPN.com: Dragic "Underrated" and "Most Improved"

Barry Gossage/NBAE

The public outcry over Goran Dragic’s absence from the All-Star Game may be working in his favor, now.

The Suns’ star guard, who is averaging over 20 points, six assists and three rebounds per contest, was labeled “underrated” by NBA scouts (according to ESPN.com) and “most improved” by ESPN writer Marc Stein.

First, let’s address the basis for Dragic’s status as “underrated.” He wasn’t named an All-Star despite being the only player besides LeBron James to average at least 20 points and six assists while shooting at least 50 percent from the field. He’s keeping Phoenix in the thick of the Western Conference standings despite missing backcourt partner-in-crime Eric Bledsoe for a large chunk of the season.

Oh yeah, and he’s basically figured out how to solve any defensive scheme.

"He's got it all. There's nothing he doesn't do well,” an Eastern Conference scout told ESPN.com.

There’s also this gem from another scout:

"You go underneath the pick and he's going to make shots. He's really good. It's a credit to his work ethic. He's a little bigger than you think he is. He's thick and he's strong. To have a team with no other stars that lost Eric Bledsoe to injury be in the playoff hunt in the West? He's a damn good player."

There was not-so-anonymous praise from Stein as well. The long-time NBA writer hands out “Trimester” awards for every third of the regular season.

When it came to selecting his Most Improved Player, Stein didn’t have to think twice.

“He has hiked his scoring average nearly six points per game this season (from 14.7 PPG to 20.2) and his player efficiency rating nearly five points (from 17.52 PER to 22.49). Even after being stripped of backcourt mate and First Trimester MIP Eric Bledsoe through injury, Dragic is more responsible than any Sun not named Jeff Hornacek for Phoenix's ability to maintain this 46-win pace that not a soul saw coming.”