Playing behind greatness can do wonders for any young athlete. Think about how much having Joe Montana around helped Steve Young or how much Dr. J meant to Charles Barkley’s development. Phoenix Suns backup point guard Goran Dragic is in a situation where he can learn from one of the best floor generals in the game in Steve Nash. The second-year guard from Slovenia has improved in almost all of his stats from last year.
During last night’s game against the Knicks, you could really see Nash pull him aside during timeouts and throughout the game to give the 23-year-old some pointers. Before tipoff, I caught up with Dragic to ask him what he’s learned from the former two-time MVP. (Disclaimer: Goran is still struggling with his English)
Dime: What kind of things has Steve Nash taught you on the court?
Goran Dragic: I try to learn everything. He’s one of the best point guards in the league. I have to be focused and listen on what he has to say to me. But he’s taught me everything so far. How to push the team, make offense run. Put all the players in their spots. Pick and roll and find the open player.
Dime: Has he told you to be patient when you’re trying to pick your spots when you shoot?
GD: No, we didn’t talk about that. If I’m going to be alone, I’m going to shoot. Everybody in our team, if you’re alone you have to shoot. But like I said, try to be as organized as much as possible.
Dime: Does he give you pointers off the court like on the plane or after practice?
GD: Not in the plane but on the practice. On the practice we play against each other, so if I make some mistakes, he correct me. He tells me what I have to do and all these things, but so far it’s really well and I learn a lot from him.
Dime: We all know Nash likes to eat healthy. Does he give you pointers on having a good diet?
GD: We didn’t talk about that. But I know this stuff, like how you have to eat. Notice, I’m skinny I can eat everything (laughs) and I will not go bigger. But still, off the court, we just hang out. When we are away we got together to dinner and we talk all these things. So far it’s really good and I’m lucky to be here.
Dime: Depending on your matchup, does he give you pointers on how to play certain people.
GD: No because we know what we have to do. Because in the practice, we practice like this and we have to play our concept. So far it’s working. I don’t know maybe because we run a lot and everybody’s in great shape and we just push the ball and make easy baskets.
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