Oct 17, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion (0) reaches in and fouls Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) during the third quarter at the American Airlines Center. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 100-94. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Goran Dragic Has Big Shoes To Fill

Oct 17, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) passes the ball past Dallas Mavericks center Chris Kaman (35) during the third quarter at the American Airlines Center. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 100-94. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

The Dragon, Goran Dragic’s return to the valley of the Suns has been a very popular decision made by the Suns front office this summer. The fans seem to appreciate Dragic’s return, the coaching staff seems to appreciate Dragic’s return and Dragic seems to appreciate his return.

Now here’s what I wonder about at times when I’m watching, reading or studying up on the Phoenix Suns, I’m thinking “Is Dragic a permanent solution or a temporary band aid?” Dragic proved himself last year in the absence of Kyle Lowry, posting career numbers as the Rocket’s starting point guard, averaging close to 19 points and 9 assists a game as a starting point guard including great shooting percentages; 49% from the field, 38% from 3-point land, and 84% free throw percentage.

No doubt that if Dragic posts those kinds of numbers on a winning team he’s going to be named an all-star but he posted those numbers on a team that finished .500. Nonetheless I still have questions about Dragic’s ceiling as a basketball player; most people look at this as a glass half full as they’re thinking “Oh! Look at how good this guy already is!” But from my personal prospective I see it as glass half empty.

I think if Dragic posts the kind of numbers he posted as a starter in last season here in the valley he’ll do just fine but let’s face it, Suns fans have been spoiled with greatness at the point guard position for what seems like the past two decades from Kevin Johnson to Jason Kidd to Steve Nash; Yes I know there were about a couple of seasons worth of Stephon Marbury torture but Marbury was pretty damn good for the Suns, not KJ, Kidd or Nash good but good.

Jan. 26, 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard (2) Goran Dragic drives to the basket in the second half against the Charlotte Bobcats at the US Airways Center. The Bobcats defeated the Suns 114-107. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

I hate to bring all of this back around to free agency but it’s headed there regardless. The Suns future will be heavily reliant on free agent signing in the summer. Should Goran Dragic continue his fine play from Houston, in Phoenix I believe he’ll stick around as long as the Suns are able to put better players around him.

However at this point, Dragic is indeed an asset for the Suns. He’s on a 4 year deal worth around 30 million dollars which is a very reasonable contract for a player of his caliber. The Suns traded this guy once and I believe if Dragic doesn’t show great improvement the Suns may trade him once again. I love Dragic as a player but like a lot of European players he came over to the NBA late and that hurt his potential, A LOT.

Dragic is just fresh off his rookie deal and he’s already 26 years old. Take a look at Kevin Durant, Durant is in his 6th year in the NBA and he’s only 24 years. Players in the NBA tend to grow a lot faster as basketball players than players who play in Europe and Dragic’s lack of time in the NBA during his younger years has hindered his potential. Which brings up the question, is Dragic a permanent solution or just a band aid?

As we all know age is a big factor to potential, not a lot of players burst on the scene from mediocrity after their late-mid-twenties. Steve Nash was a miraculous exception, because he hit his prime in his 30s, no one saw that coming, and I mean NO ONE. Dragic on

Nov. 3 2010; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (2) handles the ball during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

the other hand, yeah we seen some flashes of star level talent but his struggles with consistency are fairly obvious.

With Suns fans accustomed to seeing hall of famer point guards from Johnson to Kidd to Nash over the past two decades run the Phoenix Suns show, Dragic has some big shoes to fill. What he brought to the table in Houston as a starter won’t be enough, and he still has a little ways to go before he can be regarded as a permanent solution. Silver-lining for Dragic right now is he still has a year or two to make that leap, and even if he doesn’t the Suns can easily find a taker for him, he’s got a reasonable deal and he can be a very serviceable point guard for a lot of teams in the league.

Tags: Goran Dragic NBA Phoenix Suns

  • Brad

    Wow, I can’t say I agree with anything in this article. Players that haven’t played much have more upside potential, not less, if they are showing improvement. Dragic is a very young 26, his game is trending up and there is little reason to think he’s done getting better. He’s not only the future PG, he’s the future star.

    • Matthew

      @001a3c35d0afa59d41608b74d1e925bc:disqus Well sorry to hear that you don’t agree but should I be wrong and you turn out to be right that’s a positive thing. Appreciate your optimism! Go Suns!

      • Brad

        I said he was a young 26, not young. Big difference. Still, there are quite a few players that age and beyond that have shown considerable improvement. I just think it would be rather odd (and also a poor bet) to think that he somehow played his best ball in the very first time he’s ever given a chance to play full time. So, for me, I see his best days ahead. If they’re better than his Houston time, that’s All Star level. Hey, maybe you’re right. Hollinger agrees with you.

        • Matthew

          @001a3c35d0afa59d41608b74d1e925bc:disqus You make a great point. His best days may very well be ahead but the question is how much better? I’ve stated on many occasions regarding elite level talent and how elite players excel at one if not many aspects of the game(IE: Derrick Rose’s ability to finish, Nash’s passing, LeBron’s passing, size and athleticism) and when I look at Dragic he doesn’t excel at anything and he hasn’t show he can excel at anything which makes me think his ability is limited. Not many players hit their stride in their late 20s, but I do think if Dragic can fully hone in on one skill and elevate it to the next level he “CAN” be a star but until he can do that I think as of right now what we see is what we’ll get. Love your optimism Brad! The Suns have broke my heart one times too many for me to be constantly expecting the best of them haha.

    • Matthew

      @001a3c35d0afa59d41608b74d1e925bc:disqus Well sorry to hear that Brad. For the Suns sake I hope I’m wrong but realistically speaking in the NBA 26 isn’t exactly considered “Young”. Glad to see someone is full of optimism about the Suns.