The Legacy of Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic made his mark in South Beach, and will go down as one of the top PG’s in franchise history.

Consistent. To me, that is the word that would best define Goran Dragic’s tenure with the Miami Heat.

On the court, Goran’s impact was historic. In Heat history, he ranks 9th for field goals made, 7th in three-point shots made, 3rd in assists and 9th in overall points. While the goal of an NBA Championship was never accomplished, he did end up leading the senior Slovenian national team to its first FIBA EuroBasket title in 2017, while being named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Before he came to Miami, Goran spent his first 7 NBA seasons with Phoenix and Houston. His time after the Heat was spent with Toronto, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Milwaukee. From the outside in some may see him as a journeyman. But those 7 seasons with the Miami Heat? That’s what made him a Miami man. His impact on the team and chemistry with all the players had me wondering about when he would re-sign with the team even after he left!

Even though Goran made the AllStar team for the first time in 2018, one of his most memorable runs would be with the Heat during the 2020 playoff run in the bubble. Before tearing his foot during Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers, Goran averaged about 21 points a game along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Add that with the 36% from three-point land, and one can see why some called him the Bubble MVP of the team. Just ask the Bucks about those playoffs.

Dragic remained the consistent piece during different builds of the franchise. He came to Miami as one of the first big moves during the postLeBron James era as the point guard that would play alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. When Chris went down with blood clots that season, Miami missed the playoffs as a result. In my opinion, that team will always go down as a “What If” team. At full health, I believe they would have challenged Cleveland for an appearance in the Finals.

Post Dwyane and Chris, Goran played with Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters, while mentoring rookies Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow. Remember 7-11? They made a 41-41 season much more entertaining with that 30-11 second half run didn’t they?

Then the current era, and maybe the most entertaining of them all, his friendship with Jimmy Butler.  

Their friendship seems to have started for their love of soccer. Then came the “brat” relationship, and eventually their bromance was the most entertaining for all of us. Did it eventually turn into free coffee from Jimmy? Not on social media at least. It was just joyous watching Jimmy and Goran together. 2020 was a joyless year for many worldwide, but as a Heat fan you knew there would be laughter when seeing each of their social media pages. Wherever you saw Jimmy, you just expected Goran nearby. Jimmy himself said one of the hardest calls he had to make was calling Goran to tell him they wouldn’t be teammates anymore.

Goran was an athlete that wore his heart on his sleeve every game he was available to play. He wanted to show his care and love for Heat Nation whenever he could. Check out this story thread by Tim Reynolds. Stories like this are why we always felt the love from Goran and why we returned it just as well.  

Not every season during Goran Dragic’s time in Miami was the best for the team in the standings. But his character off the court and his passion on the court always remained. You know what you call that? Consistent.

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SunManFromDogBone

I posted this a few games ago, but it took 3-4 days to get it approved and posted. I thought I would post it again for anyone who missed it.

I followed Dragic’s career from draft day in 2008 until now. I always loved his game and his ability to bring the best out of his teammates. I remember his days in Phoenix most, especially the 2013-2014 season, when he led a ragtag group of rejects, undrafted players and underperformers (not an all-star in the bunch) to a 48-34 record, only to miss the playoffs by one game. That year, the Western Conference had 7 teams with 50 or more wins. Dallas at 49-33 beat Phoenix out for the 8th playoff spot.
https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2014_standings.html

I followed Goran to Miami after the fiasco in Phoenix. For those of you who don’t know the story, in a nutshell, prior to the 2014-2015 season, the former Phoenix GM, Ryan McDonough, decided to bring in a third starting point guard, Isaiah Thomas, rather than building on the past season’s successes. Using Thomas, Eric Bledsoe and Goran, McDonough created what he called a “Hydra (three headed) offense” starting all 3 PGs at the same time, When that experiment failed miserably, he decided to use Goran as a combo SG/SF, having Bledsoe and Thomas share the PG/SG duties. This was after McDonough had previously committed to Goran that he would be the team’s primary PG. Goran became frustrated, unhappy and felt betrayed. He then demanded a trade. Phoenix accommodated him and traded him to Miami, where he became a fan favorite.

I was hoping Miami would bring Goran in as a “UD Type” player late in his career to function as an emergency point guard, mentor and locker room leader. But that was not to be. I still can see him joining the Heat one day as an assistant coach.

I will always remember Goran’s excellent play during the 2020 Playoffs in “The “Bubble.” Dragic scored a team-leading 29 points during a 117–114 overtime win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. After winning that series, in the 2020 NBA Finals they faced the Los Angeles Lakers. Dragić missed 4 games in the Finals due to a plantar fasciitis injury that he suffered in Game 1. Bam was also injured during the series. The Heat lost the series in six games.

Thank you Goran “The Dragon” Dragic for many memorable games and playoff moments. Good luck in the future. I hope to see you back on the Miami bench one day as a coach.

Last edited 1 month ago by SunManFromDogBone
Bout30man

Dragon was many times our best player in the Covid playoffs. He will always be one of my favorite players.

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