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Goran Dragic’s struggles this season: what’s wrong with The Dragon?

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Signed for $85 million this summer, Dragic has been a shell of himself so far this season. But why ?

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Even though statistics and analytics don't tell the whole story most of the time (just look at Justise Winslow), Goran Dragic's numbers this season are not lying. After the first nine games, The Dragon only averages 10.6 points and 4 assists per game on 42.4% shooting. Not good for a guy who played at an All-Star level two years ago and who is being paid like one today.

To be fair to him, there are mitigating factors that explain some of his struggles. First of all, no one should forget that the Miami Heat is still a work in progress, especially on the offensive end. The starting five of Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside never played together before this season because of the injuries that occurred last year. So obviously, it's not an easy situation for a point guard who is trying to find the right combination between being aggressive and creating for others. A lot of times this season, Dragic has looked hesitant and out of rhythm, which is very uncharacteristic of him.

In Miami, The Dragon plays in a system that is very different from his Phoenix Suns days. In fact, the Heat is 28th in the number of possessions per game this year and dead last in field goal attempts, according to John Hollinger. Not very Suns-like, a team who loved (and still loves) to run, shoot threes and go in transition.

Furthermore, Dragic doesn't play with a lot of outside shooters today like he did in Arizona. Instead, he shares the ball with Wade in the backcourt and tries to improve his chemistry with a dominating frontcourt. Bosh played at an All-Star level the past few games and Whiteside is a beast in the paint with a larger role offensively than last year. So clearly, Dragic doesn't have the liberty he once had in Phoenix, and not as much space he would like in order to attack the basket, his number one weapon.

But outside of all these basketball issues, personal problems are maybe the main reasons of Dragic's difficulties. During the summer, his wife had pregnancy complications in Slovenia and he hasn't been able to be with his newborn baby.

Obviously, family is way bigger than basketball and it's pretty easy to understand that this type of situation can affect any player, even though Dragic doesn't want to make any excuses. The good news is all of his loved ones arrived in Miami this weekend, which will hopefully help The Dragon to return.