Phoenix Suns backup point guard, Goran Dragic, has been playing fantastic basketball so far this season. It's not a big surprise considering how well he played last season, but at the same time, it would be understandable if he started the season slow.
Dragic had a busy offseason playing for his Slovenian National Team and came to camp a bit under the weather and battling through a mysterious "leg" issue. On top of that, Goran strained his knee in the first game of the season and has been playing with it wrapped since.
Despite those obstacles, Dragic is showing us a much-improved pick-and-roll game, shooting the ball well, attacking the basket and breaking down defenses, and he looks confident and in charge when the ball is in his hands. The third-year guard has taken his game to another level, which is exactly the kind of progress you want to see from a young player.
On Sunday, the Suns played Atlanta and Dragic looked a bit "off." He wasn't quite as aggressive and didn't seem to have that spark in his eye. That look of "unwell-ness" continued into Monday's game in Memphis where, in the first half, he was lacking the energy we've come to expect.
In the second half of the Suns/Grizzlies game, with his team on the ropes, Goran seemed to sense the need to dig deep and he sparked his team to a mini-rally that at least kept Phoenix in the game. His ability to find another gear even when he didn't have his "A-game" is just another sign in the development of this dynamic young player who many think is ready to take over for Steve Nash. I'm not so sure about that, but he's certainly on the right path.
Goran had yesterday's NBA Play of the Day against the Grizzlies, and oh what a play it was.
On the season, Dragic is averaging a career-high 9.4 points and 3.7 assists despite playing only 16 minutes per game. Dragic is the 16th ranked point guard in the NBA according to ESPN's PER stat with an impressive 18.51 and is the top-ranked backup PG.
Coach Alvin Gentry has repeatedly said that he will try and find more minutes for Dragic, but it's difficult to give him time at the shooting guard position with Jason Richardson and his backups (Jared Dudley and Josh Childress) also playing so well.
For Dragic to get more time, it will have to come at the expense of Steve Nash. At some point, if Dragic continues to play like this, Gentry will be forced to cut Nash's minutes back to keep Goran on the floor. As the coach likes to say, it's a good problem to have.