When talks of the League’s top point men in the game come up, the usual names that come to mind are the veterans such as Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, Deron Williams and Chris Paul. There are also the new kids on the block with Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry. After his showing on Friday against the Spurs, is there room to add Goran Dragic to this list?
In Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals matchup, the Suns took a pivotal 3-0 lead over the Spurs. This was thanks in large part to the 26 second half points from the twenty-four year old from Slovenia. What is even more telling than the 26 points scored is the way Dragic went about it. He showed a vast array of skills, including slick moves in the lane, a quick step driving to the rack, a smooth jumper from three-point land and underrated athleticism.
Most of the damage was done with Nash and other stalwarts in witness of the explosive second half. What an amazing luxury it is for Alvin Gentry to be able to rest Nash. After sweeping the Spurs and now preparing for the Lakers, the emergence of Dragic could prove to be pivotal in their Finals quest – think what Shannon Brown meant to the Lakers last year with the added offensive power and youthful energy he provided in their title run.
With the consensus being that the Lake Show will handle business in their journey to a repeat, Dragic could be vital throughout the Western Conference Finals. Veteran Derek Fisher had trouble checking the younger D-Will, and guarding Dragic could prove to be just as big an issue. If Dragic can get off, maybe the Zen Master will have to put Kobe on him (ala Westbrook in the OKC series). Either way, Dragic could pose some headaches for the Lakers.
It may be too early and just a little overreaction for one career night, but the Suns just might be looking at their next franchise point guard once Nash decides to take his crafty game to local pick-up runs. Like Nash, Dragic displays a game that is enjoyable to watch, fitting right into the traditional exciting play down in cactus land. And at 6-4, he also has more size than his teacher. This will allow him to excel in the suddenly tough Suns squad.
At the end of the day, Dragic plays with an infectious spirit that is hard not to like. Maybe it is too early to crown him as the next great young point guard and heir to the Nash throne, but we at least caught a glimpse. Instead of the next Nash, he could end up being the next Beno Udrih.
What do you think? What is Dragic’s ceiling?
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