The last time the Miami Heat advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs, Goran Dragic scored 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting in Game 7 against the Charlotte Hornets. Dragic was a little less than a year removed from signing a five-year, $90 million contract.
Now, Dragic is in the final year of that deal. And he’s showing that he still has a lot left in the tank.
After spending much of the 2019-20 season as the anchor of the Heat’s second unit, the 2018 All Star moved into the starting lineup for the Heat’s first-round playoff matchup. Even while averaging 34 minutes per game in the postseason, the 34-year-old Dragic has delivered in the fourth quarter to protect Heat leads.
First Round 4th Q Scoring— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) August 25, 2020
1. Donovan Mitchell 14.3 pts
2. Jamal Murray 10.3 pts
3. Goran Dragic 9.5 pts
In the Heat’s four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers, Dragic averaged 22.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field, including 41.4 percent from beyond the arc. How many people thought he’d do that before the series? He’s connecting on long-range shots, using his crafty play to get into the lane and even serving as a good help defender.
What a pass by Goran to Bam for the finish pic.twitter.com/2WyuxYCNiv— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) August 25, 2020
The veteran has also offered invaluable leadership to the Heat in the playoffs. Along with Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala and Udonis Haslem, Dragic has helped mentor Miami’s young core.
Dragic has played so well that Dwyane Wade has called for the Heat to re-sign him on Twitter. (Back in March, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that “an associate of Dragic expects a large one-year offer from Miami.”) Butler has praised him.
Going into training camp last year, most Heat fans would have considered a first-round playoff win a successful season. Now, Miami will go into a likely second-round series against the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks as an underdog with a puncher’s chance. Coming off an injury-riddled 2018-19 season, Dragic’s resurgence this year has proven a vital part of this season’s success.