The usual suspects of free agent point guards for hire this coming offseason typically begins with Deron Williams and Steve Nash. Everyone after that becomes lost in the shuffle.
But all of a sudden Goran Dragic is starting to climb the free agent point guard ladder. On Monday the Houston Rockets point guard took a couple big steps.
Dragic’s day started by learning he’d been named the Western Conference player of the week after averaging 20.7 points, 8.3 assists and 3 rebounds per game last week. Later that night he dropped 22 points, 7 assists and 3 steals on the Portland Trail Blazers.
Yet it was Portland who sat up close and personal for the Dragic show even if the Rockets point guard claims he wasn’t aware he was auditioning. At this point of the season and with a flurry of movement ahead this summer, every game becomes an audition for Dragic.
And by averaging a career-high 10.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 19 starts (57 games) in a back-up role to Kyle Lowry, Dragic is setting himself up nicely for a pay day this offseason.
“It was a little bit different,” said Dragic following Houston’s 94-89 win over Portland.
“Before, they never asked me this type of questions. ‘Are you going to come to Portland?’ Still, all the doors are open. We’re going to see what is going to happen this summer. I feel great in Houston. Hopefully, I’m going to stay in Houston.
“It’s going to be a crazy summer for me. Still, I have to get every game, try to be focused, play hard and try to make playoffs with Houston Rockets. What is going to happen after the season, we’ll see.”
A fourth-year pro, Dragic is finally getting the chance to show what he can do at the point and the production is still only coming at a small rate. The 25 minutes he plays per game is the most run he’s had next to Dragic’s second season in Phoenix when the 6-foot-3 point guard (playing 18 mpg) was backing-up Steve Nash.
You have to wonder what the 25-year-old Dragic can do in a starting role, much like he’s receiving after Lowry was down and out dealing with a bacterial infection. Will he ever be an all-star? Probably not, but Dragic is as active as they come and can break down a defense by either getting into the paint or forcing defenses to collapse on drive and kicks.
Face it: the guy is reliable and produces. Not a bad combination.
It’s no wonder Dragic continues to draw comparisons to Manu Ginobili.
Dragic may not be Deron Williams.
He may not be Steve Nash.
But he’s not a bad third option at the point if the first two are spoken for.
Houston will be hard-pressed to keep Dragic and put that much money into one position. Lowry is on the Rockets’ books for two more seasons with $12 million left on his contract, so for as much as Dragic says he would like to stay in Houston all signs point to the organization being unable to afford to keep him.
No worries. Dragic won’t have a hard time finding a new team this summer.