Player Report Cards: Goran Dragic

 

Time to wrap up the point guards on the Rockets. This one, graciously enough, is going to be even shorter and sweeter than our previous article’s sugar-dipped midget. We have to evaluate a guy for 22 games. I’ve flayed this team in the past for half a season of effort and not rewarding them for it but Goran’s sample size being so small, he’ll get a break on this one.

Again, to recap the rules, Goran will be evaluated on his offensive contributions, defensive contributions, development, and potential. I might even delve into advanced stats just to have a bit more stuff to type about. Come with me on this magical journey of "Haha the lockout is KILLING out news."

Offensive Contribution:

So in his debut for the Rockets Dragic played 22 games and contributed with a stat line of 8 PPG/2.5 APG/ 2.5 RPG. These were limited minute stats, of course, at 17 minutes per game. Goran came in at an important time for the Rockets with all the butthurt surrounding Aaron Brooks and his contract situation the Rockets needed to find someone happy to be a backup or to pay out to Aaron. The team went in the direction of "Hey, we like this halfcourt point guard set thing, let’s give it a chance." Goran came to the Rockets in a rough spot with his shot suffering in Phoenix and he had managed to fall from grace, but we’ll touch on that subject in development because let’s face it, I’m boned with this write up for length (Don’t read into it). Something worth noting though, efficiency darling Kevin Martin shot a 60.1% True Shooting percentage, Dragic offered up a 60.5% for the Rockets so I have hope for him in the potential category when combined with this production.

Ideally for a team that ran an offense like the Rockets I’d like to see a bit more out of a guy in 17 minutes. We’re looking at about half a point per minute on a team that uses a spread offense and relies on the backcourt to space the floor with spare shots. The assist numbers are subpar but part of that was just getting acclimated to the team. The rebounds, I’m left wanting, he’s 6’4" and the Rockets gang rebound. Having said all that, I’m going to be a bit harsh with Goran just because you guys need something to argue/insult me about.

Grade: C

Defensive Contribution:

One of the biggest hooplahs we got relating to this signing was that Goran was a massive defensive upgrade over Aaron. I was happy with the pick up since he’s a lanky and taller point guard who shadows his man and makes his job more difficult as well as keeps him honest on the defensive end. Dragic averaged .6 steals per game and not really worth noting, .2 blocks per game, which puts him near the top of the team in blocks per game.

His contribution comes again, mainly from the fact that he gave us the ability to play some defense on the floor with the second unit that we were sacrificing before by trying to force Aaron into the role. I was happy with the production Dragic offered but I’m also on the fence as to whether or not I’m sold on it all. Like most of this write up the only conclusion to walk away with is 22 games isn’t enough.

Grade: B-

Development: 

Saying Dragic developed last year, let alone in Houston, is a stretch. He improved his play when he was over here in Houston but that has to be weighed against the slump he was mired in while playing in Phoenix. He regressed overall last year and that freed him up on the trade market. It’s hard to sell low on a guy who was behind Nash but was seen as a guy who could challenge for the starting job on most teams. He hinted at as much when in his last game for the Rockets he put up a triple double of 10/10/11. I look for him to take his limited minutes and build on them as we go forward. That flash of quality has me hopeful.

Grade: B- 

Potential:

When it comes to Dragic’s potential I think more fans are sold on it than I am. By that I mean I think most fans are wrong. Goran’s upside is a solid backup. His body of work is limited, especially in Texas, but when it boils down to it he played behind Steve Nash and picked up a lot from him but I’m not sold on him being the kind of guy you want starting the game and guiding your squad. He cashed in a triple double in his last game of the year for the Rockets but Ariza did the same thing last year and the board treated it like a fart in church. I am going to wind up grading Goran high just because there’s so many things left unresolved since I’m grading Goran in a vacuum. We saw him in 22 games in Houston, we saw some good flashes and watched him mend his three-point percentage after the trade. When I consider these factors I can’t help but think he’s got some more upside as a backup but certainly not a starter. A 6’4" distributor who can space the floor and play some bothersome defense as a backup? I’ll take it.

Grade: B+

Overall: B-/C+

Dragic is a better back up than most teams see but he’s closer to run of the mill than special. I’m thinking he’ll be a good pickup for the Rockets and the strength of his value is that we moved a disgruntled Aaron Brooks for him and a draft pick. We made the backup situation a happier one and at the end of the day that was a boost to the team. I’ll look forward to what he brings next year in another year of development for this Rockets team. 

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