Goran Dragic "Excited" About Suns' Offseason
Despite a busy offseason that has included national team play and marriage to his long-time girlfriend, Goran Dragic has paid enough attention to the Suns to like what his NBA team has done.
In a phone interview with Suns.com on Monday, the Slovenian playmaker gave a big thumbs up toward the Suns' offseason moves, which included the hiring of a new general manager and new head coach, the drafting of two first-round picks and a blockbuster trade.
"I’m really excited with what they’re doing," Dragic said. "I talked with [Suns General Manager] Ryan [McDonough]and [Head Coach] Jeff [Hornacek] a couple of times. They told me what they're doing and how they want to do things. I think it's awesome."
At the beginning of his career, much was made of Dragic's affinity for NBA basketball after it was learned he woke up in the early morning hours to watch Steve Nash and other NBA stars on his home television in Slovenia. His knowledge of the game's history goes back even further, and includes a first impression of his new head coach.
"When I was a kid and I was watching the games, they were talking about those legends and about NBA history, so I know that Jeff was a great player," Dragic said. "The most recognized thing about Jeff was when he was at the free-throw line and he would touch his face before taking his free throw. He was one of the best shooters in the NBA. I have a great opportunity to learn a lot from him. He was a point guard, too. So I’m going to try to get as much information as I can from him to be a better player."
Dragic is also looking forward to another transition of running mates. After temporarily switching out Phoenix teammates for his Slovenian countrymen, Dragic will return next month to get acquainted with his new partner in the Suns' backcourt, Eric Bledsoe. Both McDonough and Hornacek have expressed optimism over the plan to start the two of them together as interchangeable playmakers and scorers at both guard positions.
The duo boasts a combined NBA experience of just eight years, leaving plenty of room for the potential that has Dragic excited to see how they mesh together on the court.
"He’s a mini-Lebron James," Dragic said of Bledsoe. "He’s got that big strength so when he's in the open court, he’s unstoppable. Like a lot of fans know, I like to play fast basketball. When I get the ball to the other guy, he’s going to run. We’re going to score a lot of points."
As for Dragic himself, he's intent on both improving his game while taking care of himself as Eurobasket 2013 unfolds. With self-improvement and an improved supporting cast, last year's most consistent player is looking for the Suns to take a collective next step in the right direction.
"Right now, my goal is to be healthy, to not have injuries in the European championship," Dragic said. "When I’m done with that, [I'll] try to play as hard as possible and improve a lot of things. Personally, I’d like to upgrade from how we did last season to this season. I think we have a better team this year. I’m hoping we’re going to fight for the playoffs."