The Miami Heat have been missing a legitimate starting point guard for the past five years. Before in the past people would get upset because they felt that the point guard position was the final piece to the roster that would make it whole. Well now that Goran Dragic is finally in town and he’s starting the Heat finally have a legitimate starting point guard.
To start the season, Dragic hasn’t been his normal self. On the year, Dragic’s averaging a pedestrian 10.6 points, and four assists per game, numbers from a point guard that would have him sitting on most NBA benches. But what most people don’t know is what really has been missing from his game has to do more about his personal life than it does with playing basketball. Dragic for some time has been away from his family and it’s a real problem to his game.
When a man gets married to a woman they get joined together as one. Who can survive while they are missing the other half of their body? Dragic has been without his wife and two children, including a new infant baby girl, for almost three months. However, now that Dragic has been finally reunited with his family, fans should get excited about how well he’ll start to play with his focus being back on hoops instead of worrying about the well-being of his family without his presence.
“It’s going to be much easier, to go to practice, come back into a full house, I can talk with somebody. I still can talk with the players, but it’s not the same, you know” said Dragic. “Sometimes, there’s too much distractions around,” he continued. “It’s tough to just forget about everything and play. Especially in the summer, with the baby, come here, looking for the house, and try to establish with the team. There’s a lot of things going on. But now, I’m at that point, where I made a cross on everything else, and the only thing I’m waiting for is my family, and then I can relax and just play.”
The question is why is everyone so worried about how he’s playing already? The season is a marathon, not a sprint and we’ve only seen the Heat play in nine games. What’s been worrying fans is how schematically the Heat haven’t been utilizing Dragic’s skill set to his potential. We know that Dragic enjoys playing at a fast tempo (more on this later). We also know that right now the Heat are better suited when they are playing the slow down game. But since Miami is better at the halfcourt, they need to start using a lot more pick and rolls in their plays in order to get Dragic more involved. If you’re paying someone close to play for your organization, you need to use their skills in order to succeed or it’s a waste. How often have we seen the Dragic to Bosh, or Whiteside pick and roll this year? Not nearly as much as we need to.
Furthermore, the Heat need to start incorporating Dragic in more lineups with faster tempo players that fit his game. It’s not a bad suggestion to have Dragic start games and then leave him in with the second team in order for him to start working at his own pace with players that can run up and down the court with him.
Bench players such as Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow, and Gerald Green all enjoy playing fast, and they all can get up and down the floor. In addition, having this lineup with a player like Chris Bosh at center could give Miami a huge advantage offensively, especially when it comes to spacing. Bosh himself has extended range and having a point guard who enjoys getting to the rim would create easy opportunities for him to do so.
Dragic doesn’t have handcuffs on his game, he just needs to tweak it a little bit. The coaching staff of the Heat are going to put him a position to become a winner and it’ll also be because of his skills as a player. We’ve seen Dragic already start to play with the second team a little bit more, and moving forward it might become something we get used to.
The only thing missing is the chemistry he’ll have to develop with the starters. That too will take some time.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.