clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Is the Hassan Whiteside problem also an issue with Goran Dragic?

New, comments

Dragic’s history in the NBA suggests he may be more suited as a shooting guard than a point guard.

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat signed on Goran Dragic as their point guard, yet in his ten-year NBA career Dragic had mixed results as a starter in that position per basketball-reference.

In his first three seasons, mainly with the Pheonix Suns, he started a total of 8 games, and came off the bench to play alongside point guard legend Steve Nash.

Later, as a member of the Houston Rockets, Dragic had Kyle Lowry as his backcourt partner.

With the Suns again in 2012-13, Dragic lead the team to an underwhelming 25-57 record as their starting point guard.

The next season the Suns acquired Eric Bledsoe and they improved dramatically to finish with a surprising 48-34 record, and Dragic was listed as their shooting guard 47% of the time.

Upon joining the Heat Dragic initially had Dwyane Wade, and then Dion Waiters sharing the ball-handling duties in the backcourt.

Per basketball-reference Hassan Whiteside‘s Offensive Rating dipped from 117 with Wade, to 113 with Waiters, to 111 with Dragic as the only point guard.

Looking at Whiteside on the court, he doesn’t set picks or handle the basketball at elite levels, because his talents lie as a finisher at the rim and last line of defense for the Heat.

Wade and Waiters both seemed to have a better knack for finding Whiteside at the end of a lob plays than Dragic, who started off learning from how to dish out assists at the rim to a more skilled and mobile, at that time, center like Amar’e Stoudemire.

Sharing point guard duties with the likes of Nash, Lowry, Bledsoe, Wade, Waiters, allowed Dragic to be at his best with his aggressive attacks at the rim or making 3-pointers like his boyhood idol Drazen Petrovic, who was a shooting guard, not a point guard.

Forging Justise Winslow into a Ben Simmons, non-jump shooting bull attacking the rim, and developing an ability to make lobs to Whiteside, could unlock Whiteside’s best skills on the court alongside Justise.

Part of Whiteside’s 99% transformation involves studying and implementing to know his spot on the court when Dragic, Wade, Winslow are ready to pass the ball, because each sender has his own unique way delivery style.

The return of Waiters next season, if he’s not traded, might be a major factor in how the Whiteside dilemma resolves itself, along with a not-so-subtle message for Erik Spoelstra demanding to make the $100+ million Micky Arison invested in the roster a success.

”The disconnect between he [Whiteside] and Spo, that’s going to take a discussion between them and it’s going to take thought on the part of coach and also Hassan.”

”How can Spo transform his thinking when it comes to offense and defense and minutes or whatever?”

Clearly the “also” part gives Spoelstra the primary mentoring responsibility of fixing the relationship, with Hassan (also) in a secondary role as a 29 year-old student.

The Boston Celtics, without Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, calmly defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 117-101, showing Riley and Arison injuries to key players don’t stop well-coached teams in the playoffs.