April 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Goran Dragic (3) dribbles during the first half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Can Goran Dragic The Take Next Step?

When Goran Dragic lit up the San Antonio Spurs for 23 second half points in game 3 of the western conference semi-finals back in 2010 he single handedly won that game for the Phoenix Suns. After that legendary performance Dragic had people talking “Star Potential”. However Dragic never lived up to the hype after that performance, and was traded midway through the 2010-2011 season to the Houston Rockets.

Dragic played behind Kyle Lowry as the back-up point guard until Lowry went down with an injury and Dragic flourished. During Dragic’s 28 games as a starter he averaged 18 points, 8.4 assists, and 2 steals a game on 49% shooting from the field and shot 38% from beyond the arc. It still remains to be seen if Dragic will be able to keep up that kind of performance but a bigger question would be, can build on it.

Derrick Rose made the leap in 2010-2011 going from a player who’s coming off a good season into an MVP. Can Goran Dragic make a leap like that too? Dragic has a great offensive arsenal as he can get to the rim and knock down the outside shot, but Dragic still has yet to completely refine a certain aspect of his game. Much like Rose, Dragic is a big, bulky, aggressive, scoring point guard. So where are some of the areas of improvement for Dragic?

Apr 18, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Goran Dragic (3) waits for play to resume during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Rockets 117-110. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Let’s start with his turnovers, during Dragic’s 28 starts he had an assist to turnover ratio of 2.6 compared to Chris Paul’s 4.3; no one is saying he has to be Paul but that number has to get closer to 3. Now that Dragic is going to be the full time starter he’s going to have to learn to make better decisions with the basketball which means holding on to the basketball, and making good plays.

Dragic also has to get to the free throw line more often. Dragic averaged 4.4 free throw attempts a game in his 28 starts which is a decent count but with his size and aggressiveness his free throw numbers has to improve. Dragic also shot 84% from the foul-line which was a huge improvement from 2010-2011 where he shot 61%. Dragic needs to take a page out of Chauncey Billups’ playbook and learn to post up the smaller point guards in order draw more fouls and get to the free throw line with both players having a similar build of 6’3 and around 200 pounds; Billups has a career average of 5 free throw attempts a game, almost 6 in the past 9 seasons. During the final month of the season in April Goran Dragic had double digit free throw attempts 3 times during that stretch and averaged 5.4 free throw attempts a game in the month of April which is a positive sign.

Dragic will get his chance this season as the Suns will be more or less his team, and he’s arguably the best player on the roster if anything a close second behind Marcin Gortat. NBA Ranks had Dragic ranked 83 which I felt was a bit unjustified. Much like Steve Nash, Dragic was traded to a Texas team however Nash came back and became a two-time MVP, so question now is, what will Dragic be?

Tags: Goran Dragic NBA Phoenix Suns

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