The Dragon has finally been unleashed in Miami.
The Miami Heat may already be nine games under .500 with two-thirds of the season remaining but Goran Dragic is one of the few dazzling pieces on this injury-riddled squad.
His raw numbers on the season are solid, averaging 18.8 points and 6.6 assists with a 46-40-81 (FG-3FG-FT) shooting split, but his game has really taken off in December, posting averages of 23.6 points and 6.4 assists on a stifling 51-48-86 split in seven games.
While Goran is likely getting more comfortable being the man despite no stability around him — Heat wings have missed over 50 games combined thus far — his recent surge has coincided perfectly with the absence of one Dion Waiters, elite ball stopper and grim reaper of beautiful offense.
Dragic’s usage is up to 30.1 percent in December (seven games). For perspective, Russell Westbrook led the league last year at 33.3 percent while Dragic’s was at 22.1 percent, well behind Dwyane Wade’s team-leading 31.6 percent.
Taking a look at Dragic’s shot chart in this timeframe, it’s interesting to see he’s been scoring efficiently from all over the court except at the rim, where he’s converting a modest 50 percent of his attempts.
Historically he’s been among the league’s best finishers and was just under 60 percent last year. The areas where he’s been especially lethal are from three and on mid-range jumpers.
In December, he ranks fourth in the NBA in pull-up shooting (minimum of five attempts), per NBA.com.
Dragic smoked Washington on Monday night with 34 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, converting 14 of 23 from the field.
Notice how he especially carved the Wizards up with his mid-range game, making John Wall and Kelly Oubre look helpless all night. Dragic was aggressive and engaged from beginning to end.
The Dragon was all over the place tonight! pic.twitter.com/8tKEbKbsoh
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 13, 2016
Goran Dragic is showing he’s capable of producing efficient offense as a team’s definitive No. 1 option, something many doubted he could do entering the season.
However, for the Heat to elevate its 24th ranked offense (offensive efficiency) he needs assistance, especially from his wings.