Most NBA players play for their home countries for a sense of pride, and most likely play because they are one of the better players on the team. While Goran Dragic may be one of the better players on the Slovenian national team, he certainly didn’t play like it Monday in his first game of the 2009 Eurobasket Tournament.
Even on a team where a lot of playing time was a popular assumption for Dragic, he filled a role that he is very familiar with in the first game of the tournament: backup point guard. Even with starters Beno Udrih and Sasha Vujacic out of the lineup, Dragic was still unable to assume the starting point guard duties. The nod went to supposed Slovenian stud Jaka Lakovic. Who knew?
Dragic struggled mightily in Slovenia’s 72-59 win over Great Britain. He posted a stat line of 0 pts, 1 asst, 2 rebs and 2 to’s in 14 minutes of action.
While it is somewhat concerning that Dragic struggled in his first game, what is more bothersome is that he could be actually getting some run with his Suns teammates rather than staying in Slovenia only to score zero points in 14 minutes.
Luckily for Dragic and Suns fans, he made the best of his Suns absence in game two against Serbia on Tuesday. In Slovenia’s 80-69 victory, Dragic scored 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting in 26 minutes of action. Slovenia will take on Spain tomorrow.
Dragic’s game two performance is certainly a step in the right direction, but wasn’t it already clear that he can play? He has shown through summer league and the end of last season that he has the skills to be a productive pro, but it is the mental aspect of the game that often trips him up.
Inconsistency usually comes from a lack of confidence and indecisiveness, both traits tied to Dragic. While it is good to see Goran get some run and fill it up for his home country, Suns fans need to see more than just a good game here and there to deem him Phoenix’s point guard of the future.