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The Enigma of Goran Dragic

With the NBA trade deadline finally settling down, one of the biggest names that changed teams was point guard Goran Dragic. Phoenix sent Goran Dragic and his brother Zoran to Miami in exchange for Danny Granger, Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton and two first-round picks. That’s a lot to give up for a player who seems to be looking ahead to free agency.

Growing disgruntled regarding the amount of playing time he receives, Dragic told the Phoenix front office that he did not intend on re-signing with Phoenix in this offseason, sparking this trade.

Dragic, an eight-year veteran, had his coming-out party last season averaging 20.3 points and 5.9 assists while shooting 50.5 percent, taking home Most Improved Player honors. This season, there has been a slight regression but that can be attributed to the surplus of guards on Phoenix’s roster.

Seeing decreases nearly all across the board, did Pat Riley get fooled by his success?

There’s no question that team basketball is the driving force in regards to Phoenix’s success and teams are wary that Dragic is a product of the system. Four players on Phoenix’s roster average over 15.0 points per game, something that will surely decrease Dragic’s value. Dragic is second on the team in scoring.

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There are also some alarming things about Dragic that teams need to realize as well. In Dragic’s most successful campaign, his usage percentage was at a career high 24.5 percent while playing 35 minutes per game. His usage has dipped back down to 21.5 percent, which is around the percentage he has been hovering at the majority of the past four seasons. His touches have seen a major decrease as well. According to ESPN, Dragic’s touches have decreased from 76.8 touches per game to 62.4.

An all-around type of player, Dragic might be losing his step on the floor. He heads to the charity stripe only 2.5 times per game compared to his 5.5 trips to line the previous season. In the changing landscape of the NBA, athletic point guards are starting to become a necessity and if Dragic can’t be a threat slashing to the rim, his value takes a hit.

It’s really a mystery as Dragic’s strong point is dominating the ball, being the primary ball-handler, setting his teammate up for plays meanwhile Phoenix has been using him more as a spot-up shooter.

The move to acquire Dragic almost seemed as a necessity, as point guard play has haunted Miami in the Big Three Era and this past season. There’s no telling how well he’ll play in Miami, but it is a better situation for him where he will be the primary ball-handler taking pressure off of Wade.

Dragic got his wish; he’s now on a different team with a chance to become the point of emphasis on the offense. Certainly, this is a different situation playing alongside Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, but how well will this team mesh with Dragic?

Money is the issue, like always, and Dragic has a point to prove in the second half of the season that he is worth the max money that Phoenix was not willing to give him. There’s a chip on his shoulder; he has to go out and prove that he can be the star point guard from last season and earn that new lucrative contract.

The real question is: How likely is he to return to form?

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