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How Goran Dragic has elevated his postseason play

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Goran Dragic has elevated his play to become one of the best offensive players in the bubble. We take a look at how he managed to do it.

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you told me a few months ago that Goran Dragic’s 2018 All-Star selection was going to be the peak of his career I would have likely agreed. Goran has been one of my favorite Heat players since he arrived in Miami via trade in 2015. He was the clear best player on the Wade-less 2016-2017 Miami Heat team and continued his elite play until he injured his knee last season. Though he’d try to return during that season, he never quite looked himself.

Over the summer of 2019 Goran found himself traded to Dallas (quickly reversed) and once the season began, coming off the bench in favor of rookie Kendrick Nunn. Though he put together an impressive Sixth Man of the Year case over the course of the season (averaging 16.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists) it was pretty clear that Goran’s best days were behind him. That is until the playoffs started.

Thrust back into the starting lineup with Kendrick Nunn struggling, Goran has become a lightning rod and key pillar of the Miami Heat offense. I mean, it’s no secret that Goran comes to play in the postseason. With the Heat he’s averaged 17.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists in the playoffs, but he’s never looked this good.

Over the 2020 Bubble Playoffs Goran has averaged 21.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. Looking at Dragic’s play in Cleaning the Glass it’s clear where he’s elevated his play to become such an offensive menace in this Eastern Conference Finals series.

After only shooting 32% of his shots from the midrange during the season, Dragic has increased his volume to 38% in the postseason. In doing so, he’s also been more efficient, scoring on 43% of his attempts compared to the 39% he shot during the season. This makes a lot of sense when he’s getting consistent looks like this:

Dragic is slashing to the basket a little bit less compared to his in season play, but he’s converting on 68% of his looks within 4 feet of the basket. Making for some very impressive finishes like this:

and this:

His three point shooting has remained consistent in terms of efficiency, but it’s worth noting that he’s scoring from different areas. Goran scored most of his threes from the corner during the season, but he’s not converting there in the playoffs regressing from 44% to 32%. Instead Goran’s threes are coming from everywhere, but the corner which makes sense considering he’s shooting and scoring on a lot of these looks:

Goran is a huge part of the Heat’s offense, so what does it mean for the future? Well, for one thing Goran is 34 years old, but still there’s little doubt in my mind that the Heat will offer him a large one year deal this offseason.

Goran has expressed wanting to retire a member of the Miami Heat, and I’m sure the front office wants the same. If I was to guess I’d say he’ll be relegated back to sixth man duties by the time the NBA returns next year, but I don’t want to think about next season right now. The Heat have an opportunity to go to the NBA Finals tonight and Goran needs to get himself ready to get buckets, and probably a few uncalled shots to the face.