During a recent Miami Heat victory over the Washington Wizards, Tyler Herro paused to thank Goran Dragic on the sidelines per Ira Winderman.
“At one point during a second-quarter timeout, Dragic coached up Herro on the bench.”
“Herro shook Dragic’s hand after the talk.”
That action brings to mind how Dragic helped another young phenom, Luka Doncic reach stardom in just his second season.
“Dragic has become Doncic’s national team roommate, friend, mentor and sounding board as he goes through the pre-draft process that almost took Dragic to the brink mentally. Doncic’s situation is different. He’s a potential No. 1 pick, a child prodigy who has been producing at an unprecedented level at age 18. But Dragic’s presence is imperative for Doncic, who will likely face the criticism that goes with European prospects selected in the top five.”
”’What Steve Nash was for Goran 10 years ago, that’s what Goran has become for Luka,’ Kokoskov said.”
During the game against the Chicago Bulls, Dragic was seen giving Chris Silva some pointers on improving his game.
Culminating with the dramatic finish over the Bulls, Herro has upped his game during Dragic’s time on the bench: perhaps Dragic has a natural talent as a mentor to those who listen.
If Herro achieves a fraction of Doncic’s success, then he would join Bam Adebayo as the partners Jimmy Butler needs to make the Miami Heat contenders sooner rather than later.
In addition Derrick Jones Jr. current ranks just behind Kawhi Leonard as an on-ball defender holding rivals to below their normal shooting percentages, -9.5% versus -10.2% respectively.
Among 199 qualifying forwards (min. 50 DFA), the Heat feature three players among the top 13: Jones Jr. -9.5%, Adebayo -7.8%, Butler -7.6%, along with Justise Winslow at 24th place with -5.5%.
The striking aspect is their youth: Herro – 20 years old next month, Adebayo – 22 years of age, Jones Jr. – also 22 years old, and Winslow the elder at 23 years of age.
Under the on-court leadership of Dragic and Butler (Most Improved Player award winners in 2014 and 2015) this season, Miami’s youth could help carry the team, offensively and defensively, to exceed preseason expectations of 44 wins.