The Miami Heat have gotten hot at the right time. The fifth-seeded Heat are in the NBA Finals thanks to strong play from a mix of talented young stars to veteran players. While young-gun rookie Tyler Herro has been wowing with his record-setting performance, it’s been veteran point guard Goran Dragic who has quietly sparked the Heat’s recent playoff success.
Goran Dragic’s NBA career
Miami Heat point guard Goran Dragic is in his 12th season in the NBA. He was a second-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs back in the 2008 NBA draft. Two days after the draft, the Spurs shipped Dragic off to the Phoenix Suns.
Dragic had two different stints with the Suns and it was during his second time around where he really blossomed. In his second go-round with the Suns during the 2013-14 season, Dragic averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game. He was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player that year. In February of 2015, Dragic was part of a package deal in a trade to the Miami Heat.
Dragic has spent the last six seasons with the Heat. He matched his career-high of points per game with 20.3 during the 2016-17 season. The following year, Dragic made his first NBA All-Star appearance. He averaged 17.3 points and 4.8 assists in 75 games. With Miami, he blossomed into a scoring point guard, averaging 16.6 points to go along with 5.3 assists.
Tyler Herro has been the talk of the Miami Heat
The Miami Heat have a very nice mix of young players to go along with veterans. While Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder, and Kelly Olynyk provide the veteran leadership, it’s been 20-year-old rookie guard Tyler Herro who has gotten a lot of the ink during the latest round of the playoffs.
Herro, who played collegiately at Kentucky, was Miami’s first-round pick (No. 13 overall) in the 2019 NBA draft. Herro had a very impressive rookie season with Miami as he was named All-Rookie. He averaged 13.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 27.4 minutes of play this year.
Herro singlehandedly lifted the Heat to a Game 4 victory and a 3-1 series lead over the Boston Celtics when he scored a career-high 37 points. He became the talk of the town after becoming the youngest player ever to score 30 or more points in a conference final. “First of all, I don’t believe he’s 20, how he’s playing,” Dragic said, according to ESPN. “We believe in him. Everyone believes in him. That’s why we’re not afraid to put the ball in his hands.”
Goran Dragic has been the key to Miami’s success
While Tyler Herro has been setting records for rookies in the postseason and Duncan Robinson has been lighting it up behind the 3-point line, Goran Dragic has quietly been leading the team. The veteran point guard has been the glue that’s held the team together during its impressive playoff run.
“This is not my first rodeo,” Dragic said in a Sports Illustrated story back in early September. “This is probably the best basketball that I’ve played in the playoffs. I feel really comfortable. I’m already a vet. I know what to expect. That definitely helps how I prepare myself.”
Dragic is 34 years old and the oldest Miami starter. He says he’s having fun and hasn’t been affected by playing in the NBA’s ‘bubble.’ “I’m just enjoying myself,” said Dragic, who has become one of the game’s best finishers. “I think that’s the biggest reason I have that smile on my face. I love my teammates. We hang out together. For me, it feels like I’m back with the (Slovenian) national team when you spend maybe one month and a half, two months away from your family with those guys. For me, it’s exactly the same in the bubble.”