Tag Archive for: Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic: “I’m Here to Help”

Goran Dragic made it clear that he is not worried about his role heading into next season, when speaking with media.

He said, “I’m here to help, whatever coach needs.”

Another reason that he will most likely come off the bench next season, is so he can preserve himself for the playoffs once again.

He mentioned that the depth of this team helps that even more, saying “The depth is crazy. We have eleven guys on the roster who can play.” And even before that when assessing the idea of a shorter off-season, he said “I’m not worried about that because we have so many players that can step up.”

Goran also elaborated on some of the young guys going into next season, saying “I can’t wait for them to take the next step. They’re a big part of this team.”

He also talked about his excitement for the Bam Adebayo extension, saying “I’m very happy for Bam. He deserves every dollar, every penny…I saw him when he was a rookie, and now he’s developed into a superstar in this league.”

And of course Goran had to bring up the idea of getting back to the Finals, which it seems as if it’s been weighing on his mind. He said, “I’m dreaming about that, every night when I go to bed.”

Lastly, Goran just began talking about his gratitude for staying with this Miami Heat team and organization. He mentioned their culture, while wearing the culture T-shirt, and said “I feel amazing. Miami Heat culture. I’m happy to be a part of this team.”

And clearly his teammates are happy to have him back as well, especially the young guys after many of them discussed his mentorship for them as they developed.

Goran is back, and as he said, he is “ready to help.”

A Deep Dive into the Miami Heat’s Bench this Season

Something I have mentioned quite a few times is that bench units will be crucial in the NBA next season. This will be a season that we have yet to see, since positive Covid tests could pop up at any time.

And for the Miami Heat, they had a much shorter off-season than others, which unfortunately could mean they will be more inclined to injury.

Either way, Miami’s bench will be a huge strength next season.

Going through the roster, they are filled with both veterans and youth, which will be interesting for Coach Erik Spoelstra since he will have quite a few avenues to choose.

Depth is something that isn’t so common among the rest of the East as of right now, especially if a team like Brooklyn trades away all of their assets for James Harden.

Anyways, here’s an advanced look into what the Miami Heat’s bench could look like next season, assuming the starting lineup is Herro/Bradley, Robinson, Butler, Adebayo, and Leonard. (And by the way, this is just speculation)

Goran Dragic:

Miami is very lucky to have a guy of Goran Dragic’s caliber coming off the bench, since it’s clear he’s a very quality starter. He showed that in the bubble for Miami, since they upgraded his role to starting point guard after he was Miami’s go to scorer in the playoffs. He told media about his role for next season, “If he needs me to come off the bench, I’ll come off the bench. If he wants me to start, I’ll start.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if they do the same thing as they did this past season, by starting him once the post-season begins.

Tyler Herro/ Avery Bradley:

As mentioned, there’s still uncertainty of what the starting lineup will look like, but I believe the final guard spot will be between Tyler Herro and Avery Bradley. That said, I think Tyler Herro starts by the beginning of the season, but Avery Bradley could be plugged in for him in certain match-ups. Either way, one of them will be on the bench, and will make huge contributions. Tyler Herro for offensive spark and Avery Bradley for a defensive spark, which once again will be situational. Putting either one of these guys next to Goran on a bench unit will be effective, which they will look to expose opposing team’s benches.

Andre Iguodala:

Andre Iguodala is one of those players on Miami’s roster that hasn’t been discussed much during the off-season, but he will be a huge part of this team next season, especially after losing Jae Crowder. For starters, Andre will make a major impact just due to his veteran leadership for the young guys once again. Having guys like KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa trying to work their way in, Andre can really help with their development. But on the floor, it’s obvious he can still bring his strengths of defensive versatilities or offensive IQ. He is still a very quality basketball player who will continue to be a great reliever for Jimmy Butler when he exits the floor.

Moe Harkless:

Miami was very lucky to land a quality wing, in Moe Harkless, to replace Derrick Jones Jr. DJJ was much more of an upside guy, while Harkless is the definition of a solid role player. He gives Miami the perimeter defense that they were looking for, as well as an intriguing jumper. He’s a career 36% three point shooter, which was about what Jae Crowder was when he joined Miami. As Moe Harkless said in his media session, “It’s a perfect fit.” And I believe it is, since he will play whatever role that he is given, as well as representing that Miami Heat grit on the floor.

Kelly Olynyk:

Kelly Olynyk is another one of those players that hasn’t been discussed much throughout the off-season, only hearing his name when a potential trade seems to come up. Of course he’s the type of guy that can possibly get packaged in a deal before the deadline, but as of right now, he’s a quality back-up big for the Miami Heat. I believe he will be even more impactful if Tyler Herro ends up starting, since a bench lineup would lack a bit of shooting. Kelly is a bit streaky at times, but when he’s hitting from deep, it’s a huge plus for Miami. We will see how his role look this season, but I believe it will be pretty identical to the one from this past season.

Kendrick Nunn:

Kendrick Nunn is an interesting name to look at when going through the rotation. He was the starter for Miami this past year as a rookie, and absolutely thrived. He had such a great season that he ended up finishing second in rookie of the year voting. He did seem to struggle in the bubble, but there were a couple different reasons why that happened. And now when looking at Miami possibly playing Goran and Avery off the bench, he seems to be the odd man out as far as guards. He’s another player that could possibly get dealt by the deadline, but he also has a chance at coming back at the same level at which he played in his rookie year. And that would mean Erik Spoelstra has some decisions to make.

KZ Okpala/ Precious Achiuwa:

Finally, the two intriguing young prospects, KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa. The departure of Jae Crowder gives them yet another shimmer of chance to try and get some playing time. KZ Okpala, as I’ve mentioned, went through a similar Miami Heat process that we’ve seen before. Duncan Robinson went through the same process in his rookie season, two-way contract while bouncing back and forth from the G-League, and look how that turned out. Obviously there’s less openings as of right now, but Miami clearly sees something in him after not wanting to include him in any deals. Precious Achiuwa is another interesting name when looking at the rotation, since frankly we haven’t seen him play at this level. Not having the Summer League to adjust into the Pro level definitely hurts him as well, but if you’re going to trust any team with player development, it’s the Miami Heat. We will see how they elect to utilize their two emerging 21 year olds, since they each are full of potential.

Media Zoom Call with Heat’s Meyers Leonard, Goran Dragic

After Meyers Leonard and Goran Dragic both reached a deal at the start of free agency with the Miami Heat, they spoke with media about their return.

Meyers discussed his excitement to return to Miami, saying “There was unfinished business.”

He mentioned that his ankle injury in the bubble restricted a lot of the things that he wanted to do. He said, “I think it had everything to do with it.”

Now that he is healthy, he mentioned that he’s been working out like crazy, after being inspired by what Jimmy Butler did in the bubble. He said, “Watching what Jimmy Butler did…It made me feel like I could run through a wall in all of my off-season training.” And he looks like he picked up that Jimmy Butler mentality when he kept reiterating that he doesn’t care about what his stat sheet looks like.

Goran Dragic also talked with media, which he answered a question about losing Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. He mentioned “They made us better,” but went straight to discussing their new acquisitions in Avery Bradley and Moe Harkless. He discussed the fact that both of them are great defenders, and both have guarded him in the past.

He also said that he doesn’t care what his role is next season, “If he needs me to come off the bench, I’ll come off the bench. If he wants me to start, I’ll start.”

He also made sure to give praise to the rest of his teammates like Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and even incoming rookie Precious Achiuwa.

He mentioned that Precious will be a “big piece of this team.”

And well, it’s very possible with some slots opening up on this roster.

Goran Dragic is confident in this Heat team and so should Heat fans.

Goran Dragic Back in Miami Heat Uniform

Goran Dragic decided to make his own announcement at the 6 pm free agency opening, and it was a good one for Heat fans.

It was reported that he has agreed on a two-year deal, worth $37.4 Million.

Obviously this wasn’t much of a surprise, since Pat Riley made it clear that he would look to take care of Goran.

His ability to play through the injury in the Finals put the cherry on top, since it showed he truly trusts this organization to take care of him.

And as stated here, that trade clearly did work out. Forget the production side of Goran Dragic on this Heat team, his veteran leadership is what made it most assuring about his return.

Tyler Herro needs his veteran point guard as he tries to break out in his second year in the NBA, and lucky for him he will be there every step of the way.

Miami has officially got their guy, and he will be in Miami for many years to come.

Pat Riley: “I’d Like To Run This Thing Back”

Free agency officially begins this afternoon at 6 pm, and Miami may be involved quite a bit.

Most importantly they will look to retain Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder, which although some rumors have loomed, I have no doubt they will be back in a Miami Heat uniform next season.

Pat Riley mentioned in his press conference the other night, “I’d like to run this thing back.” And well, that starts with retaining their key free agents.

This statement can be taken a few different ways, but I believe he was saying they want to run it back with their core. I don’t think that exactly pertains to a possible move trading away Kendrick Nunn or Kelly Olynyk.

But ultimately, every team in the Eastern Conference right now is scrambling trying to get better in any way they can, while Miami is sitting back watching.

And there’s a reason for that.

It is known that Pat Riley and company are never afraid to make the big trade to make the team better, but they make take a different approach this season. After reaching the NBA Finals, Pat is content with keeping the young and productive core that this team has, and rightfully so.

For one, I believe that showcases the bright futures of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Bam Adebayo is clearly untouchable, but Herro and Robinson seemed to have been thrown in some trade talks here and there throughout the off-season. But well, Pat isn’t giving these guys up for nothing, and he may not even give them up for something big.

There is a real and genuine tone in Pat Riley’s voice when he talks about the potential or production of his young players, and that is not always the case.

He is perfectly fine with “running it back,” and Heat fans should be too.

Possibly adding some role players, such as Wesley Matthews, may be the most attractive move right now, so we will see what happens this afternoon when Free Agency officially begins.

The Miami Heat’s Off-Season Prediction

The Miami Heat are expected to have an eventful offseason between trades, signings, and the NBA Draft. Some acquisitions from other Eastern Conference teams make these Heat decisions even more interesting, but here’s what I believe Miami can possibly do…


Goran Dragic 

It’s pretty clear that bringing Goran Dragic back is going to be a priority for Miami, most likely giving him a  one year balloon payment. I’ve mentioned the things he can bring in terms of production, but more important in terms as a mentor. Having him around to direct Tyler Herro in his second season is a priority for Miami, which is why he will be taken care of.

Jae Crowder

Crowder is another one that Miami will make sure to bring back, since he proved in the bubble that he is the ideal fit next to Bam Adebayo. His shooting was obviously much better than originally expected, but his defensive actions is why Miami will resign him. Miami’s defense definitely won’t be their best attribute with some point of attack issues, but having a versatile wing like Crowder helps that out a lot.


Wesley Matthews 

I’ve talked very highly about the signing of Wesley Matthews for a couple reasons. For one, he fixes Miami’s point of attack defense upon arrival. Secondly, signing him for the minimum is an absolute steal, especially since he’s also a knock down shooter. And lastly, it’s another move that improves Miami’s depth. While other teams will be trading away all of their depth for stars, Miami may look to counter for this upcoming season and grab a bunch of quality players.

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel hasn’t been discussed much when talking about possible guys Miami could potentially sign, but I believe it’s a huge possibility. With the moves Miami might be making, it may leave them without a backup big. And with a cheap and productive Nerlens Noel on the market, I believe Miami may scoop him up. It also helps out Bam when he exits the game, since he can replicate some of the things he does on the floor.

Sign and Trade:

Miami trades- Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk, Pick 20, and possibly additional picks

Miami gets- Danilo Gallinari, Pick 53

Now, this is the trade that I believe Miami will end up pulling off. Miami will give Oklahoma City a quality young guy in Kendrick Nunn, as well as the 20th pick, and we all know they love their picks. We know how it would look for Miami adding Danilo Gallinari, but I also see them throwing in that 53rd pick. Miami has been intrigued with trading down to the second round, so it benefits both of their needs. Once again, Miami will look to counter these other teams, and that may mean adding a bunch of depth, as well as offensive talent.


Ashton Hagans

So if Miami pulls off that trade, they would be picking late in the second round with the 53rd pick. And the guy I’ve continually mentioned Miami has their eye on is Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans. An absolute defensive burden, and could possibly make an impact off the bench in spurts. I’ve talked about Miami possibly selecting him higher than expected with pick 20, but this means they get him much cheaper.

The Return of Goran Dragic Holds High Importance

Since Goran Dragic is a free agent this off-season, it’s clear that Miami will make it a priority to bring him back.

For one, he’s coming off an incredible playoff run, where he averaged 22 points a game in the postseason. And while I don’t believe people were taking advantage of what he was doing at 34 years old, the injury definitely put it all in perspective.

It made it clear how much weight he takes off of Jimmy Butler every single night. Throughout the regular season, Goran was the guy they relied on when Jimmy came off the floor, and even times when he was on the floor.

He continually stepped up every single night when Miami was going through a tough stretch, which he’d hit some must needed shots to get them back in the game.

I think his impact and level of play is obvious, but the veteran leadership is what stands out even more with this resigning.

There is an obvious locker room connection with Goran, especially with Jimmy, since they’ve created a special relationship this past season. But more importantly, the way to elevate Tyler Herro’s game in his second year is by having Goran on the roster.

I’ve discussed the impact Goran had on Tyler in his rookie year with his style of play, but there’s also a level of comfort that he brings.

Tyler had to come off the bench this season with Goran, and they elevated the benches level of play, which was a major contribution to this team’s success. Not many people believed Herro would bring immediate impact to this team, but I think the Goran Dragic effect made him ready.

Herro isn’t the only guy that had his game elevated, since Bam Adebayo seemed to thrive when he was on the floor. Once Goran began to be comfortable with throwing the lob in the pick and roll, they developed a unique type of offense. And since Bam is such a great screen-setter, Goran had increased scoring opportunities, which was a major upgrade from the previous screen-setter he had.

It’s pretty clear what Goran Dragic brings to this Heat team, and I believe the Heat front office realizes that. They will take care of him, and ultimately I believe Goran will take care of them as well, when he tries to make another run at a title next season.

Goran Dragic to Tyler Herro: Passing It Down

“I’m gonna say I learned everything from you.”

That’s what Tyler Herro told Goran Dragic mid-game while being mic’d up, after Goran told him he’s going to be watching all of his games when he is 40.

Learning everything from Goran is clearly a stretch, but learning a lot of things seems pretty accurate.

Obviously Tyler’s overall offensive game he’s had his whole life, but when you begin to look at the small things in his game, you begin to see some similarities.

For starters, the ability to use a soft touch off the glass. For many young guys, using the backboard doesn’t always seem to be their first priority. Usually players develop that part of their game as they age, but for Tyler Herro, it’s clear Goran has showed him that already.

Not only from the mid-range area, but mostly when attacking the rim for a layup. This was on full display once Tyler entered the bubble, where he’d throw the ball off the top of the backboard when driving for a soft touch off the glass.

Another thing that stood out was utilizing the floater off the pick and roll. The reason Goran is such a great pick and roll player is because he uses fundamentals when doing it. That includes patience, quick decision making, a floater, and the ability to throw the lob.

And now, these four things seemed to have been passed down to Tyler Herro in his rookie season. Tyler began to be comfortable with his decision making when throwing it up for Bam to catch the lob, but more importantly his natural feel around the rim allowed him to utilize his high arcing floater.

It’s also obvious that Goran Dragic is not afraid to use his off arm when going up for a layup to gain a bit of an advantage. And funny enough, Tyler began to do that as well when driving to the rim, except he doesn’t get the veteran calls like Goran does from the refs.

These two guys played next to one another all season since they both came off the bench, and it was clear that there was automatic chemistry between them on the floor.

Now that Tyler may be switching over to the point guard position, Goran may have a few more tips to add to his game. Obviously it is essential for Miami to bring back Goran Dragic this offseason, but it may be even more essential for them to bring him back for the continued development of Tyler Herro.

Goran Dragic out for NBA Finals Game 2 as expected

Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic has been ruled out for game 2 of the NBA Finals, joining Heat big man Bam Adebayo on the list of players sidelined. Dragic suffered a plantar tear in his left foot in the first half of game 1. 




Both Dragic and Adebayo were listed as doubtful. Adebayo is expected to be able to return some time during the series. There is less optimism surrounding Goran. 




Dragic has been Miami’s leading scoring during its run to the NBA Finals. Rookie guard Kendrick Nunn will have to fill the void in Goran’s absence. Nunn scored 18 points in game one, which could help return some of his confidence after struggling during the postseason. Expect Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro to also pick up some of the scoring load.


Game two will tip-off at 9 p.m. tonight.


Royal Shepherd (@RoyalAShepherd) has written for several major newspapers, including the Tallahassee Democrat and the Augusta Chronicle, and now contributes to Five Reasons Sports.

The Miami Heat’s 5 free agent decisions

The Miami Heat will have little time to celebrate a successful playoff run this offseason before making some roster decisions about the upcoming season. The Heat are positioning themselves to be major players in the 2021 free agency market, with names like Giannis Antentokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis potentially being available for the taking.


Although Miami is set to have enough cap room to sign a max player, there are some tough choices this summer that could impact the Heat’s “whale hunting” in the future. Here are a few of Miami’s impending free agents and where they potentially fit in Miami’s plans moving forward.  


  • Goran Dragic

Dragic has been one of the biggest stories of the team’s run in the bubble. He is leading the team in scoring in the playoffs and has displayed some of his best basketball in a Heat jersey this year. Goran is in the last year of his deal, which pays $17 million this season. Considering his production, that number is relatively inexpensive. However, at 34, his best days are probably behind him and he will likely return to the bench next season. Miami will want to reward Goran because of how important he has been to this team’s success but avoid messing with any of its potential spending for 2021. Is the Dragon willing to take a one-year balloon payment or will he take a multi-year deal elsewhere? 


Prediction: Dragic will take the one-year balloon payment this summer and negotiates a team-friendly deal with the Heat next offseason. Dragic has now spent half of his career in Miami and this run should help both he and the franchise realize that he should finish here. 


  • Meyers Leonard

Leonard has been a joy to have in Miami this season with not only his play, but his professionalism and commitment to the organization and the community. Meyers has been a model citizen this season and would have been welcomed back with open arms under any other circumstances. He will command more than his current $10 million salary this summer from another team. The Heat will not be able to match that. 


Prediction: Leonard will give the Heat an opportunity to retain his services. Unfortunately, the team won’t have much to offer him in terms of money, long-term security or playing time. Meyers will be a one-and-done in a Heat jersey, but he will be remembered fondly by fans.


  • Jae Crowder

Crowder was the steal of the Winslow trade. His impact on defense became a secondary thought when compared to the revelation that has been his three-point shooting. The Boss Man converted at a nearly 45 percent clip during the regular season for Miami after arriving from Memphis. He is shooting 38 percent on nine attempts in the playoffs. The team got more than what they bargained for in Crowder and will scramble to make room for him on this roster moving forward. The challenge will be convincing Crowder to forgo a multi-year deal and accept a one-year deal to remain in Miami. By all accounts, Crowder enjoys Miami and wants to be here. With his shooting numbers going up, so has his value to other suitors, many of which more willing to spend than Miami. He may have played his way to much more than his current $7 million number. The question for Jae is will he choose culture of currency.


Prediction: The likelihood of Crowder duplicating this year’s success next season are slim to none. He has been a sniper for Miami, but there is no evidence to suggest that he can sustain that level of play long term. Miami will do everything within reason to keep him, but ultimately, another team comes in with a deal too good for Jae to pass up.


  • Derrick Jones Jr.

DJJ deserves to be paid and he will be paid, but will it be by Miami? If the Heat were able to keep him at his current $1.5 million price tag, the deal would have been done months ago. Jones’ defensive length and athleticism are hot commodities in today’s league where long, versatile wings are all the rage. Miami might have an avenue to success. Unless they are completely outbid in the market, Miami may be able to use the scraps of the potential Leonard and Crowder departures to cobble up a suitable deal for the slam dunk champ. 


Prediction: Miami should be able to keep DJJ for a price between $5-7. The only two things that could derail that are unexpected offers from outside teams and Jae Crowder choosing to stay in Miami.


  • Kelly Olynyk

This one is pretty straight forward. Olynyk declining his $12 million player option for next year is as about as likely as Pat Riley calling Danny Ainge up to go for beers. Expect to see Kelly in a Heat jersey next season, unless he can be flipped for something better by the trade deadline. While KO has been inconsistent at times, at his best, he is the perfect complement to Bam Adebayo. His ability to shoot from range, above-average playmaking and basketball IQ have become invaluable off of Miami’s bench.


Prediction: Olynyk was nearly traded to Dallas last year along with DJJ to help facilitate the Jimmy Butler trade. While Kelly may start the season with Miami, expect the Heat to try and trade his expiring contract before the end of the season.  


Honorable Mentions: Solomon Hill, Gabe Vincent, Kyle Alexander, Udonis Haslem


Royal Shepherd (@RoyalAShepherd) has written for several major newspapers, including the Tallahassee Democrat and the Augusta Chronicle, and now contributes to Five Reasons Sports.