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Miami Heat 2020-21 player review: Goran Dragic

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A year removed from dominating in the bubble playoffs, the 35-year-old struggled to find a consistent offensive groove.

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason has arrived for the Miami Heat, who were swept out of the first round in the NBA playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks — losing their four games by a combined 82 points.

Before we deep dive into everything regarding the future months for this team, let’s discuss the seasons for Heat players who played and finished on the 2020-21 Heat roster.

For our seventh player review — conducted in alphabetical order — we will one of the Heat’s best point guards in franchise history, Goran Dragic, informally known as “The Dragon.” Here’s the previous six Heat players we’ve reviewed thus far.

Let’s dive into it!

Brief Overview:

2020-21 stats (50 games):

  • 13.4 PPG
  • 3.4 RPG
  • 4.4 APG
  • 37.3 3-point percentage
  • 55.2 true shooting percentage
  • 13.0 player efficiency rating

Dragic spent a majority of the regular season off the bench for the second straight year. Given the short layoff, Dragic — Miami’s third-best player in its deep playoff run — had one of the most unproductive seasons of his 13-year career. His 13.4 points per game was the fifth-lowest of his career — the lowest since tallying 11.7 points in 66 games with the Houston Rockets in 2011-12. There were flashes offensively, but the rollar coaster campaign ended up as one of Dragic’s worst years. Now let’s look at some of the positives!

Numbers to note:

44.0 - For the second consecutive season, the 6-foot-3 guard sported a 3-point rate above 40 percent — meaning he took over two-fifths of his field goal attempts from beyond the arc. His 3-point rate this season was 44.0 — hitting his triples at a 37.3 percent clip — marginally lower than his career-high 46.7 3-pointrate last season. In Dragic’s previous 11 seasons, his 3-point rate averaged 28.9 percent, never exceeding the 38 percent threshold.

4.4 - Dragic tallied just 4.4 assists in 26.7 minutes per game this season, his fewest since dishing out just 2.9 a game in 2010-11 (his third NBA season). Though he came off the bench for 39 of his 50 games, his assist number dropped in games he started (4.2 apg) compared to when he didn’t (4.4). Among the 47 players that played in at least 30 games off the bench while averaging at least 20 minutes in such games, Dragic’s 4.4 assists placed third — trailing the pesky T.J. McConnell (6.6 apg) and rookie Tyrese Haliburton (5.0 apg).

Best game?

Feb. 26 vs. Utah Jazz

Dragic showed spurts and blips where it looked he was in last year’s bubble. This was one of them.

The 35-year-old had 26 points — tying a season-high — on 9-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. He added three boards, two assists with two steals in 33 bench minutes.

What’s next?

Dragic enters this offseason in an interesting position. Dragic has a $19.4M team option. Miami could accept that — either using it as a salary filler in a trade or to bring Dragic back for another season. It could decline the option — making Dragic an unrestricted free agent — but opens the opportunity to bring him back on a team-friendlier deal to give Pat Riley more cap flexibility.

If I were a betting man, I expect the former to be a more realistic choice. Having the flexibility to use Dragic’s contract in a trade opens up potential sign-and-trade options — specifically for Kyle Lowry, who Miami’s been linked to for the entire season. If Lowry was that guy, tagging Dragic’s contract with Iguodala’s team option ($15M) or other smaller salaries allows Miami to match money with Lowry’s dollar amount makes the most sense, though it consequently hard-caps the Heat for the third consecutive season.