Slicing through Jimmer's "D"
As if Goran Dragic needed more accolades to add to his increasingly impressive résumé to show off to teams this summer, he has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week for the week of April 2nd.
In a week full of must-wins, Dragic led the Rockets to an undefeated record, including an exceptional win in Los Angeles where he scored 26 points and added 11 assists to boot.
Luis Scola and Courtney Lee also made huge contributions in an important week, with Scola putting up an impressive 19 and 8 line and Lee with 16 points per game over the three game stretch. As well as Dragic has played, without their help, this team would've been stuck in neutral.
Dragic helped the Rockets to a 3-0 week with averages of 20.7 points, 8.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Dragic, who has reached double figures in scoring in a career-high 18 consecutive games, posted 21 points and tied a career high with four steals during a 99-93 win over the Bulls on April 2.
Everyone in Houston has noticed how well Dragic has been playing, and the national media is starting to catch up. For weeks, Dragic has hit every three he's looked at late in games, has flown past defenders for near-impossible layups, and fit passes through the tiniest of holes, all the while playing long minutes without respite.
Now that respite is coming in the form of Kyle Lowry, the Rockets have a first class problem on their hands.
Some are concerned that Lowry's return could have a detrimental effect on the team, but those fears are misguided at best. At this point, anything the Rockets get from Lowry, who was expected to be lost for the season, is gravy. Dragic is entrenched as the starter for the near future, that is not going to change, especially with Lowry's having missed a month of basketball.
In essence, the Rockets just acquired an All-Star backup point guard. If Dragic falters in the next month or two, don't attribute it to Lowry's return. Instead, realize that playing 37 minutes a game for a month after getting used to a bench role can wear on a player after a while.
Yes, McHale will have a difficult decision on his hands if Lowry returns to form, but having two point guards playing at a high level is a good thing if I'm not mistaken.
You can't worry about how big of a bill you'll have to pay in the off-season if Dragic keeps this up. You just have to enjoy the ride and hope for more weeks of the same.