Quietly, Dragic Off to the Best Start of His Career
Maybe it’s his casual, friendly demeanor.
Or, his instinctive, humble nature.
But Goran Dragic is playing the best basketball of his young career, and few people are talking about it.
Indeed, his greatest asset for the Suns this year could be his unique combination of versatility and toughness. In Jeff Hornacek’s up-tempo system which is implemented by a young team, Dragic’s leadership on both ends of the floor has provided stability and inspired confidence.
In fact, in seven games this season in which Dragic has started and not had to leave the game early due to injury, he has averaged nearly 20 points and eight assists per outing – comparable with whom many consider to be the top point guards in the game like Chris Paul (19 points, 12 assists) and John Wall (18 points, 8 assists).
Most recently against the Miami Heat, Goran Dragic scored 14 points, added eight rebounds and dished out a team-high nine assists. He finished just two rebounds and one assist from his second career triple-double.
Over the course of the past two games, Dragic has committed just one turnover in over 72 minutes of action.
He also totaled 22 assists during that span.
“He’s a veteran player,” Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s one of the better point guards in the league – certainly in the top half. A lot of his turnovers this year have come from him not getting rid of the ball fast enough so we told him to get rid of the ball quicker. The last two games he had 13 assists with no turnovers and nine assists with one turnover.
“To go 22 assists with one turnover is pretty darn good.”
Cumulatively, however, Dragic is averaging career-highs in points (16.2), field goals made (5.9) and free throw attempts (4.6). His assists per game average (6.6) trails only his 2012-13 season (7.4) along with his rebounds per game (2.9 compared to 3.1).
Furthermore, Dragic ranks tenth in the NBA in points created by assists per game with 16.7 and ninth in the league in potential assists (passes by a player to a teammate in which the teammate attempts a shot, and if made, would be an assist) with 13.7 – both career-bests.
Still, Dragic dismisses any individual accolades and deflects any credit toward the team as a whole.
“I just want to create opportunities for my teammates to score,” Dragic said. “We have a lot of good players and it’s important to get them involved.”
But what does he think of his gaudy numbers to start the season?
“I just want to win,” Dragic added. “The numbers are fine but all I care about is winning.”