Miami Heat Changing Offense To Better Suit Goran Dragic
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had a difficult task when the team acquired Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns. He needed to figure out how to get the speedy guard to fit in with Dwyane Wade, the veteran who was much more methodical in his approach on the offensive side of the game. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Spoelstra has decided to speed up the game, and Dragic has been benefiting from it greatly.
Earlier in the season, it appeared that the Miami Heat made an $85 million mistake when they signed Goran Dragic to a long-term contract. The 6’3″, 190-pound guard seemed really out of place playing in the same offense as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He appeared like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. It got to the point where some even wondered if Heat president Pat Riley should try to move the 29-year-old veteran before the NBA Trade Deadline in February.
It’s understandable that Goran Dragic would concede control of the offense to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The two of them have won an NBA Championship together. Dragic has yet to win one, so he feels that it would be better to fit in with the Miami Heat rather than cause ripples. He played at the speed that Wade and Bosh were accustomed to. Then, for whatever reasons, Dragic decided to step on the gas, and the results have been much different.
The Miami Heat players have enjoyed the rise of Goran Dragic. Since the NBA All-Star break, the Slovenian guard is ranked eight in assists. Since the ball is in his hands more frequently now, he can use his play-making abilities to create opportunities for his teammates. That has increased chemistry and raised morale in the Heat locker room. That says a lot because Miami already had one of the best locker room environment in the entire National Basketball Association.
One of the teammates that has really benefited from the new Goran Dragic is Hassan Whiteside. Earlier in the season, the two of them had very little chemistry together. Now, Whiteside finds himself on the receiving end of a lot of the passes that Dragic likes to throw out. That bodes well for the Miami Heat because they are trying to find as many reasons as possible to convince Whiteside to continue his NBA career in South Beach.
On an individual level, Goran Dragic is finding a surprising bit of success. Right now, he’s ranked second in the NBA in plus-minus. That means that there’s only one player whose team outscores the opponent more when he’s on the court. That player is San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who happens to be considered one of the five best players in the league. That’s good company for Dragic to share.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the health of Chris Bosh, a lot of people in the NBA have ruled out the Miami Heat as serious contenders to the title. Much to his credit, Erik Spoelstra has figured out ways for his team to continue winning. He’s even figured out how to quickly implement Joe Johnson, who was bought out by the Brooklyn Nets earlier this year, into the open space offense.
The quick style of play was what Goran Dragic was hoping to find when he made a long-term commitment to the Miami Heat. Rather than waiting until Dwyane Wade was out of the NBA, Dragic fortunately gets to play that style now. While it’s true that their odds of getting past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are not that great, the Heat at least have something to play for during the remainder of this season.
[Featured Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]