Goran Dragic continues to cruise. Through his third game of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, the Phoenix Suns point guard is averaging 20.3 points and 4.7 assists while shooting a ridiculous 70.6 percent from the floor.
The Slovenian led his team to its third win in three games of group play by scoring 22 points in an 89-72 win over Korea on Tuesday. Dragic knocked down 2-of-4 three-point attempts, moving his total to 6-of-11 through Slovenia’s 3-0 start to the World Cup. He also recorded four assists to zero turnovers.
A win against Korea wasn’t surprising, but the more significant news in terms of Slovenia’s success moving forward is what happened elsewhere in Group D. The Australian squad that Dragic and Co. defeated days earlier has recovered to win two straight, including a Tuesday morning victory against Lithuania. Considered the favorite of the group despite lacking scorer Linas Kleiza, Lithuania now risks coming in second, third or worse with two games left in group play. The Lithuanians have a final game showdown against Slovenia, but the loss on Tuesday gives Dragic’s squad control of its own destiny. That destiny involves making the cut. More importantly, it gives them the opportunity of going into the 16-team tournament on the side of a bracket that also includes Group C, which is likely going to be won by the United States.
What does that mean? If Slovenia wins its group (and assuming USA does as well), it wouldn’t have to face Team USA in tournament play until the event’s semifinal round. That would be considered a very successful run for Slovenia. Indeed, there’s a lot that must be done to get that far, but the door for such a possibility continues to blow a little more open as each day passes.