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Can Goran Dragic make the Heat contenders with his international style?

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Serbia made the USA Olympic basketball team sweat by using ball movement to make up for Team USA's superior talent.

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A 3-point win over 20-1 underdogs last night made the USA Olympic basketball team seem mortal. Featuring Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Klay Thompson, among other NBA stars, Team USA barely defeated Serbia 97-94. What can the Miami Heat learn from this?

As the Serbian coach Sasha Djordjevic pointed out:

"You guys are better, of course, but you have to prove it on the court."

Paul George said after the game:

"Once again, we relied on our natural talent to get us over this one. This is why these [foreign-born] guys are special in our league. These international guys, they really know how to move. They really know how to cut. It's more so about how they're running their offense that's wearing us down."

Enter Goran Dragic, who began his professional basketball career at age 17 in Europe. With over a decade's experience in both international ball and the NBA, he could make opponent's lives difficult by using a type of play that even NBA All-Stars have problems coping with on the world stage for 48 minutes.

As SB Nation pointed out:

"The Americans have plenty of good individual defenders, so why have they allowed a combined 182 points in their last two games to Australia and Serbia? It’s strange. They’ve fallen asleep with both teams’ off-ball movement and have let small guards (Patty Mills on Wednesday, Milos Teodosic on Friday) get open look after open look."

Dragic knows how to exploit NBA player's tendency to relax at times during games. Paul George noted:

"You don't ever sit still [in the international game]. In our [NBA] game, there are moments where you're sitting still, you can have a rest period. It might be an action that a guy runs on one side. [Here] you're constantly moving from side to side. It's like they don't get tired. That's new to us. That's very new to us."

Not only can Dragic call the plays himself, he could serve as a mentor to the other Miami guards, such as Tyler Johnson or Briante Weber, by giving tips them on how to exploit leaks in NBA defenses. The process takes time with countless reps on the court. The earlier the practices begin as a group, the smoother the Heat's offense and defense becomes once the season starts. The infusion by Miami's fresh faces, of non-stop effort, points to a team suited to the constant off-ball action of international basketball.

The Miami Heat won't rank among the top five NBA teams, but they shouldn't be a lottery team this season either. Just as Team USA was brought down to earth by the well-oiled team performance of Serbia, the Heat have their own European-trained floor general to steer them in Dragic

Ball movement brought down the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals versus the Spurs, who used an international playbook with foreign-born Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu GinobiliBoris Diaw, and Patty Mills on the team. This season the Heat could turn the tables by using a game plan that has pushed the 2016 USA Olympic basketball team to almost suffering their first defeat since the 89-81 loss to Argentina in 2004.

The Heat didn't have Dragic on their 2014 team, but now they do. Overlooked, but not forgotten, he may be a more important piece of the Heat's success than fans realize.