If Bledsoe’s responses following last night’s win against the Lakers is any indication, he certainly feels the same way about the Dragon.
Dragic said last offseason he would give Bledsoe a call about re-signing with the Suns as a restricted free agent to keep him around. When asked if he would do the same to Dragic — since Gogi is an unrestricted free agent this summer — Bledsoe smiled and said, “I’m definitely going to do the same thing. Definitely.”
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Bledsoe may be Phoenix’s do-it-all guy, but there’s something special about the nights when Dragic transforms into the Dragon. Last night against the Lakers, he put up 24 points (11-of-15 shooting), five assists and a team-high nine rebounds in the win. He also defended Nick Young after Swaggy P buried four straight threes to pull Los Angeles back into the game.
Dragic is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 17.0 points per game on 51.6 percent shooting. He’s not always as assertive as he needs to be, but Gogi understands the give and take of a three point guard-system and uses fast break opportunities to earn easy points.
Bledsoe, one of the best rebounders in the NBA for his position, is more than aware of Dragic’s speed and ability as the NBA’s “one-man fast break.” Last night against Los Angeles, Bledsoe found Dragic in stride multiple times for easy transition buckets with half-court football passes, a trend that occurs more and more frequently with each passing game.
"“I think maybe he was a quarterback back in high school or something,” Dragic said. “I had the easy job, just to lay it up. Those plays keep us going, our energy level is way up and easy baskets.”"
Dragic is fourth in the NBA in fast break points, averaging 5.6 per game.
Last season, the Dragon had a breakout season in leading the surprising Suns to 48 wins. With Bledsoe missing half the year, Dragic averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from downtown. He earned All-NBA Third Team honors and the league’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award.
Dragic’s numbers are down this season, but that’s to be expected with so many guards in the rotation. The Dragon has the reputation of being one of the craftiest point guards in the league, though it wasn’t long ago that hardly anyone outside of Phoenix knew his name.
Hornacek says his high expectations of Dragic have stayed pretty much the same since he first arrived in Phoenix.
"“I don’t think it’s changed any. I thought Goran was a great player when I got here and saw him over the past couple years coming of age and his ability to score and get to the basket, so none of that’s surprising to me.”"
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