What Goran Dragic Brings To The Nets

For the second straight season, the Brooklyn Nets have dominated the buyout market. Lead by effective recruitment from Kevin Durant, Sean Marks, and now Steve Nash, the team secured the services of both Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge midway through last season. This year was no different, with Coach Nash recruiting his long-time teammate Goran Dragic to the borough. Let’s discuss what Goran Dragic brings to the Nets.

Dragic was traded to the Raptors this offseason in the sign-and-trade that netted Miami Kyle Lowry. After playing 8 games with the team, the two parties mutually decided to have the vet sit out of games, even as Toronto ascended to the 7 seed. At this year’s trade deadline, Dragic and a first-round pick were sent to the San Antonio Spurs for Thaddeus Young, and Dragic was subsequently waived.

Well Rested

Despite barely touching an NBA floor this season, The Dragon has a lot to offer for the new-look Nets. In fact, one of his strengths is that he has not played much this season and has fresh legs to offer the team for the stretch run. Brooklyn has been missing a key starter for literally every game of the season, and players like Patty Mills have been recording career highs in minutes to the desperation of the situation. Dragic entering energized can be a huge benefit to the exhausted bench.

True Point Guard Presence

Additionally, he gives the Nets their only true ball-handler on the roster besides Kyrie Irving. His primary strength is as a facilitator, which separates him from Irving and the other guards on the roster. Mills has been playing out of position the entire season; he’s best suited as a pure shooter. There’s even an argument for Irving being a better player off-ball than on. Dragic’s presence on the roster helps the rest of the team around him by allowing players to play in more comfortable positions.

Pick and Roll Pro

As a pass-first point guard, he also helps the players by getting them good looks. Dragic has mastered the pick and roll, and his prowess in this department fits perfectly with the roster’s construction. Nic Claxton and Andre Drummond provide two different, but equally potent, types of rim rollers. Additionally, LaMarcus Aldridge can add his unguardable midrange pick and pop presence.

Whenever Dragic shares the floor with one of these big men and any of the Nets’ elite shooters, open looks will be abundant. Dragic (and Ben Simmons, eventually) provide the elite set-up capabilities that will make the lives of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, and Patty Mills that much easier.

Note: Just before the publication of this article, it was announced that Joe Harris would undergo a second surgery on his ankle and miss the rest of the regular season.

Oh, and Dragic has a 40% career 3 pointer catch and shoot percentage, just like the rest of the guys listed.

Locker Room Presence

It would be a mistake to not mention the locker room values of bringing Dragic to Brooklyn. As previously noted, he’s extremely close with Nets coach Steve Nash; Dragic backed up Nash in Phoenix for the first half of his career. Having an established vet who’s familiar with what Nash envisions on the court will benefit the entire team. He can also serve as yet another mentor for Cam Thomas, helping the rookie slow the game down. Thomas has already shown elite scoring potential; Dragic can help him unlock the facilitation aspect of his game. This can push Thomas to progress faster than projected. 

Conclusion

Ultimately, Goran Dragic was yet another fantastic post-deadline addition for the Nets. He’s going to have immense value to this team on and off the court. Time will tell if Kevin Durant can lead Brooklyn to its first NBA championship.

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