Brooklyn Nets bring in veteran goaltender Goran Dragic

Photo: nba.com

Veteran point guard joins the Nets

Still fresh from their successful acquisition of All-Star forward Ben Simmons, veteran great Andre Drummond and combo guard Seth Curry, the Brooklyn Nets now bring another veteran presence to their roster. According to multiple outlets, the Nets signed veteran point guard Goran Dragic this season, a great move to bolster their backcourt depth, especially with the game-to-game availability of superstar point guard Kyrie Irving still in the game. the air. Due to New York City’s mandate not allowing unvaccinated athletes to participate in their team’s home games, Irving, who has yet to take the vaccine, has yet to play. just one home game for the Nets this season. .

This makes acquiring Dragic a very smart move for the Nets, especially since he’s an affordable signing considering they nabbed the point guard via the buyout market. Dragic, who is a former All-Star point guard, adapted for the Toronto Raptors this season, but he was unable to agree with the organization and that disagreement resulted in the early termination of their short duration. Partnership. Dragic and the Raptors then agreed to a buyout route, which allowed the veteran point guard to enter unrestricted free agency and sign a contract with the Nets. It remains to be seen which version of Dragic we’ll see in a Nets uniform, but there’s no doubt he can contribute a valuable role off the bench and provide a scoring boost and veteran experience in the team’s second unit. .

Dragic, who turns 36 this May, was 45and overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. He was an underdog prospect in a draft class that includes highly talented players such as Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks, Russell Westbrook and DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Danilo Gallinari of the Atlanta Hawks, Eric Gordon and DJ Augustin from the Houston Rockets, Brook Lopez, George Hill and Serge Ibaka from the Milwaukee Bucks, Robin Lopez from the Orlando Magic, JaVale McGee from the Phoenix Suns and Nicolas Batum from the Los Angeles Clippers. Other notable players in this draft class include Anthony Morrow, Timofey Mozgov, Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Brandon Rush, Anthony Randolph, Marreese Speights, Roy Hibbert, JJ Hickson, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Kosta Koufos, Darrel. Arthur, Nikola Pekovic, Mario Chalmers, Omer Asik, Henry Walker, Sonny Weams and Luc Mbah a Moute.

Dragic’s arrival will not only add another seasoned presence to the Nets’ locker room, but it will also help them ease Irving’s absence from their home games, especially come playoff time. Dragic’s shot could also help fill the void of losing superstar shooting guard and former Most Valuable Player James Harden, who was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers in the same deal that brought them Simmons, Curry and Drummond. According to a column written by Dan Devine for The Ringer, Harden was a big part of the Nets’ success, but now that he’s gone, the team must find new answers.

Five games into the season, Harden is yet to score more than 20 points; the last time it took him this long to break that record was ten years ago when he came off the bench for the Thunder. A lot of teams would kill to have a starting point guard who is averaging 16.6 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds per game. But given Harden’s resume and the Nets’ galactic need for firepower without Irving, that kind of production isn’t just an issue. It is a disaster. Many, including Nets head coach Steve Nash, have pointed to the NBA’s latest adjustment to refereeing as a contributing factor to Harden’s slow start. Heading into the 2021-22 season, the league instituted “a shift in interpretation in officiating overt, sudden, or abnormal non-basketball movements by offensive players with the ball in an attempt to draw fouls “. One of the specific types of moves that referees have been told not to reward the offensive player with free throws for?

When he uses his free arm to initiate contact with a defender, long a specialty of Harden. Adjusting to this new set of standards seems to be taking time for Harden: he has attempted just 15 free throws during the season, his lowest total over a five-game streak in more than 10 years. Harden is far from the only player affected by the new ‘no abnormal movement outside of basketball’ rule change. NBA teams are on course to average the lowest number of free throws in NBA history, down about two per game this season from 2020-21, and three less than in 2019-20. Harden is the most notable, though, for the same reason he’s the first bad guy in the league to hunt calls in years: nobody makes him more visible. On more than one occasion this season, Harden has done his usual job of making contact with a defender, locking arms and slamming his head back. Yet the whistle does not come and the game ends up failing.

Dragic, who is an excellent shot-maker and above-average playmaker, is a one-time NBA All-Star. He also won Most Improved Player of the Year in 2014 while playing for the Phoenix Suns, which is also the same year he made the All-NBA Third Team. Dragic has also won numerous individual accolades throughout his NBA and international career, including winning the Slovenian League Rookie of the Year in 2005, the FIBA ​​Stankovic Cup Most Valuable Player award. in 2010 Euroscar Player of the Year and Slovenian Sportsman of the Year. Award of the Year in 2017 and the FIBA ​​EuroBasket Most Valuable Player plum in 2017.

Besides the Suns, Raptors, and Nets, Dragic also played for the Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat. He never won an NBA championship, but he went on a trip to the 2020 NBA Finals when he partnered with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk , Kendrick Nunn and head coach Erik Spoelstra to help the Heat defeat the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics to become Eastern Conference champions. Dragic may already be past the peak years of his career, but there’s no doubt he could still contribute on a significant level to any team that’s in the hunt for the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season.

But of course, this Nets team is so much more than Dragic can offer on the offensive side. They may have lost Harden’s elite services, but they got Simmons in return, who is a star at both ends of the floor. Simmons hasn’t played a single game this season, so it remains to be seen how much he can bring to the table. According to a column written by Kevin O’Connor for The Ringer, he pointed out that Simmons’ desire to get out of the Sixers camp has more to do with growing as a player, not a dysfunctional relationship with the Sixers organization.

The question is whether a team built around Simmons would help. Although Simmons is big, fast and powerful like Giannis, he doesn’t score like him. Giannis is one of the most dominant inside scorers in league history. Last season, Antetokounmpo shot 63.5% on discs at the rim, according to Second Spectrum. Simmons shot just 53.4 percent on drives, and in crossless lineups he shot just 46.4 percent. Believers in Simmons see it differently. Sure, Simmons can’t finish like Giannis, but he’s a better passer who can already separate defenses in open ground. If Simmons was paired with a pick-and-roll playmaker at guard — like Giannis did with Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, or Draymond Green with Steph Curry — it could unlock the dimensions of his game as a screener as he handles the ball with four shooters. In a new situation, Klutch hopes plays are designed to allow him to attack the basket creatively. And who knows, maybe he could develop a competent shot.

Not much has changed on offense for Simmons since he was a rookie, but people around him remember the highs. In April 2018, the morning after Simmons had a performance on 15/27/13 in a non-Embiid win over LeBron James and the Cavs, I texted about the game with someone from Klutch. They replied that he “is going to be the face of the league in 4-5 years”. Three years later, Simmons has failed to live up to those expectations. But their confidence in his potential has not wavered. The question is where it could reach that potential. And when.

As for the Nets team as a whole, they are currently posting a 31-29 record, which is quite disappointing for them considering they were among the favorites to win the title this year. They lost their last mission against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Robert Williams III and the Boston Celtics, but they will have plenty of opportunities to bounce back against the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Miami. Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic in their next series of games.

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