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Will Goran Dragic resolve the Lakers woes?

Goran Dragic of Slovenia at FIBA World Cup basketball match between Slovenia and Dominican Republic, September 6, 2014, in Barcelona, Spain.
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The halt to the NBA season due to the coronavirus is about to come to an end. We can’t wait for the play to resume but secondary playmaking is a significant issue for the Lakers and needs a solution sooner or later. Could Goran Dragic be the solution to this problem during Free Agency 2020? 

When the season does resume there will still be four months of games let to play. The Lakers were in good form before the hiatus but will need to come back on full form to capitalise on their strong position. It could be that we see the first title in a decade. 

When the off-season comes around, could the former Miami Heat point guard, Dragic, offer a great option for strengthening a potentially legendary team.  He may be 34 but he has a lot still left in the legs – and experience and intelligence that could guide some of the younger players through.

Playmaking

Although Dragic will never be as good as now-retired Steve Nash, his mentor, there are few people who could compete with this level of technical knowledge. Still, Dragic is an impressively efficient playmaker and is adept at making a simple pass that unlocks the defence. Although with age Goran Dragic is more shooter than passer, he is capable of reaching the hoop from all over the court. 

However, with Anthony Davis on the court, there is little chance he would get off the shot. Therefore,  his role would be in the secondary playmaking and leading the second unit when LeBron is benched. This is the strength of signing Dragic. When LeBron comes off the second unit disappears. This would give the team another option to keep the pressure on. 

Dragic has only started once this year for Miami Heat. Therefore, his mindset would be right for this support role. He would be a starting level player you could call off the bench and would still want to fight for a team starting position.

Scoring

Basketball is often a confidence game and it would be easy to believe that Dragic’s fall from first-team grace to affect his shooting. Yet, this has not happened. He may be struggling to get minutes on court, but when there he still makes his points. He is still keeping up his average to his assists are as high. 

Being older means he cannot sustain the level for as long but when he is there he is fully engaged. There would be no need to run Dragic into the ground. He could be brought off the bend to have a second wave impact when LeBron needs a time-out. He could be the game-finisher, delivering certainty of results that always feels a little unsteady at the moment.

The hope is that if Dragic joins the Lakers that he could continue his 16 point game average, making him a powerful option. There would be a third scoring option, taking the pressure of the likes off Kuzma and Green.

Toughness

You can have all the skills and pace in the world but if you have no physical and mental resilience, you are nothing in the NBA. You can try to coach this into players but really you have either just got it or you don’t. Dragic most definitely has it. He has played on when bleeding, with teeth knocked out or a black eye forming. Our favourite story is the time when his tooth wad knocked out and to the floor. Dragic bent to pick up, throw it to the bench and requested the ball to continue the play. That’s character – pure and simple. It is toughness. Players unable to deal with his vision of the game are more often than not forced into a foul, often knocking him out of the air and to the floor. Still, he gets up and continues his play.

He has had many minor injuries, which he uses to fuel his desire to get better. He loves the battle and smiles through the pain. There are some like this on the roster such as Morris and McGee, Bradley and Dudley. Yet, there can never be too many tough players with talent. He also has the capacity to bounce back from injury, which means even with age he would continue to be an option to the coaches.

Makes other players better

There are superstars out there. There are those players – which Lakers has in abundance – that steal the limelight and make the flash play. However, the greatest teams in time have always had that player that helps to make others play better. Since his time in Pheonix, his ability to elevate less talented players has set him apart. He doesn’t play the flashy game, he isn’t the fastest or the most athletic. However, he does command the court and use his presence to bring others into the game. 

This is not to say there isn’t hunger in Dragic that will give him that selfishness that great players need. He still hasn’t won a ring and he won’t want to end his career like his mentor Nash. He still has ambitions to better his game and drive the team to victory.

Sign him or don’t sign him?

Some might argue that signing someone towards the end of their career is a risk. Sure, he has shown reliance to bounce back from injury in the past but surely this trend cannot continue. However, he is the full package that gives the team options. When LeBron has his issues or needs time-out how impressive would it be to call the likes of Dragic off the bench.

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