With Dwyane Wade no longer in town, Goran Dragic looks strikingly similar to a dynamic player from the 2013-14 season: himself.
Though the sample is merely four games, Dragic’s raw numbers and advance metrics this season are quite comparable to the best season of his career when he was with the Phoenix Suns, winning Most Improved Player while being named to the All-NBA Third Team.
2013-14: 20.3 PTS, 3.2 REB, 5.9 AST, 50% FG, 41% 3FG, 35.1 MPG
2016-17: 20.0 PTS, 5.3 REB, 7.0 AST, 48% FG, 52% 3FG, 34.5 MPG
Everything is remarkably close, except for his 3-point shooting, which sits at a stifling 52 percent. It’s unlikely the career 36-percent shooter sustains this from behind the arc, more likely regressing closer to the still excellent 40-percent vicinity.
If we look at his advanced metrics, the story continues to tell a similar tale:
Key: Usage, Player Efficiency Rating, True Shooting Percentage, Win Shares per 48 minutes
2013-14: 24.5 USG, 21.4 PER, .604 TS%, 0.19 WS/48
2016:17: 24.7 USG, 22.6 PER, .607 TS%, 0.21 WS/48
Here they are laid out, per Basketball Reference, showing the 2014 season, last year, and this one, with his career averages below them.
For many, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise because Dragic is clearly more comfortably in attack mode with the ball in his hands.
With heavy usage players like Wade and Joe Johnson elsewhere, Dragic is the unquestioned No. 1 creator on the roster and, thus far, he’s reverted back to the Top 15 player who tore shit up in Phoenix three seasons ago.
Dragic and the Heat should also receive a nice boost in the coming weeks when Josh Richardson and his sweet shooting returns to the lineup, in turn lowering the usage and minutes of the inefficient Dion Waiters, which should optimize Miami’s offense.
The Heat currently ranks a disappointing 22nd in the NBA in offensive efficiency, but if the Dragon continues to breathe fire it won’t be long before this team becomes a more dangerous offense.