With Dwyane Wade on the Chicago Bulls, Goran Dragic will now be the Miami Heat’s primary ballhandler.
The particular construction of last season’s Miami Heat team was never all that kind to Dragic. His optimal role demands freedom with the ball in his hands. Sharing creative responsibility with Dwyane Wade sometimes made it difficult for Dragic to get the ball. In crunch time, Dragic was relegated to spot shooting or cheering from the sidelines—both similarly ineffective uses of the primary ball handler. When given that benefit, Dragic can produce more. He can only snake his way to the rim and collapse defenses if he’s empowered to take the ball off the bounce and run an offense for himself. Grant Dragic that much, however, and it also becomes clear that his breakout season in Phoenix was a bit of a mirage. Dragic isn’t shooting that well (40.8%), exploding to the rim that effectively, or propelling an offense so single-handedly again. Dragic is a lesser player now than he was then—clever enough to still be relatively effective, but slowed a touch and outpaced by many of his positional peers. (Last year: No. 42)
+ Still a smart, varied finisher who tests the discipline of opposing bigs
+ Has enough changes in speed and direction to his game to shed some defenders on the perimeter
– Technically can guard both backcourt positions but isn’t all that effective defending either
– Neither a prolific playmaker nor a top scoring guard