The Miami Heat’s first regular season win against the Memphis Grizzlies is seen, rightly, as a great opening moment for three rookies — Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn and Chris Silva. They all played well in their NBA debuts.
But 33-year-old Goran Dragic helped Miami as a crucial scoring threat in his newfound role as a sixth man. In 25 minutes off the bench, Dragic scored 19 points and made nine of his 10 attempts from the foul line.
After Miami faced a six-point deficit at halftime, Dragic motored the Heat back. He hit two 3-pointers within a minute-and-a-half of each other to bring Miami to within one point with 3:54 left in the quarter. And he then made six trips to the foul line before the end of the quarter to pull Miami within one point to start the fourth quarter.
And Dragic told reporters afterward that his goal is to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. He said that winning that award will “keep me going.” Dragic may also naturally fill in the scoring role that Dwyane Wade offered off the bench in his final year-and-a-half with the Heat.
Marc Stein of the New York Times predicted Dragic winning Sixth Man of the Year a few days ago. He looks on track for heavy consideration based on the first game.