How former Phoenix Suns players will impact NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Goran Dragic (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Goran Dragic (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Former Phoenix Suns players in the Finals: Goran Dragic, Miami Heat

Goran Dragic scored 23 points in a 2010 playoff game 10 years ago. Dragic was a clean-shaven young point guard with his whole career ahead of him. Now, Dragic is a grizzled, bearded veteran (and noted connoisseur of Jimmy Butler’s Big Face Coffee, which should be a nationally recognized coffee brand on par with Starbucks by the end of 2020).

Time has flown by in these 10 years. Dragic’s career looked like a flyover destination at a glance. His career became a bit obscure but it was always successful. The analogy fits here. He had been inexplicably traded from Phoenix to Houston, then he went back to Phoenix as the successor to Steve Nash.

Dragic became the head of the three-headed point guard Dragon, which, unsurprisingly, became a disaster. Surprisingly, a Dragic-led Suns squad won 48 games in the 2013-14 season and still missed the playoffs. All they were missing was a big man.

(Or, as I mentioned earlier, a coach who would play an enhanced version of Micro Ball.)

A trade to Miami followed. Then he took a backseat to Dwyane Wade. Wade retired. Then Miami was in a long malaise, consistently staying in the middle of the pack. Dragic has had a quiet roller coaster of a stint in Miami: all-NBA in the 2017-18 season, injured for most of the 2018-19 season, and a trade piece going into the 2019-20 season.

Dallas was supposed to be his destination. Dragic’s contract needed to be jettisoned in order to sign Jimmy Butler. From Steve Nash’s successor, to “expiring contract” trade chip – a bit of a fall from grace. Then, the 2020 Bubble happened. Dragic replaced Kendrick Nunn in the starting lineup come playoff time.

Now, Dragic is back. In vintage form.

Dragic will be crucial in this series. If the Lakers have one weakness, it is their ability to guard opposing point guards. This weakness has not been exploited so far: Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Jamal Murray had transcendent performances going into the series. Now they are all out of the series.

Dragic is the final dragon to slay.