Goran Dragić (born 6 May 1986) is a Slovenian professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He plays at both the point guard and shooting guard positions. He played professional basketball in Slovenia and Spain before entering the NBA in 2008. Dragić has played for the Phoenix Suns twice, the Houston Rockets, and the Miami Heat. He was an All-NBA Third Team selection and the NBA Most Improved Player in 2014.
Dragić began his professional career in 2003 at the age of 17 in the Slovenian Second Basketball League with KD Ilirija. He played there for one year before transferring to the Slovenian Basketball League and Adriatic League club Slovan in 2004. After spending two years with Slovan, he transferred to the Spanish club Saski Baskonia, who loaned him to club Murcia in 2006.
Dragić joined the Slovenian club Union Olimpija in 2007, and played there during the 2007–08 season, winning the Slovenian League championship.
Phoenix Suns (2008–2011)
Dragić entered the 2008 NBA draft, where he was selected in the second round, 45th overall, by the San Antonio Spurs. His draft rights were then traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the draft rights to Malik Hairston, the 48th pick. After the Suns finished a deal with TAU Ceramica (now known as Caja Laboral), with whom he was under contract, they officially signed him on 22 September 2008. The Suns hoped that he would take over the starting point guard position after Steve Nash relinquished it. On 25 January 2010, Dragić scored a then career high 32 points, hitting 6 of 7 three-pointers in a losing effort against the Utah Jazz.
On 7 May 2010, during game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals, he led a Phoenix Suns comeback against the team that originally drafted him, the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 23 of his total 26 points in the fourth quarter. Dragić scored his points on 10/13 FG attempts including 5/5 three-pointers and a 4-point play, as the Suns overcame an early 18-point deficit to defeat the Spurs 110–96 and take a 3–0 lead in their best of seven series in the Western Conference Semifinals. "I think it's safe to say that may have been the best fourth-quarter performance I have ever seen in a playoff game", Suns forward Grant Hill said.
Houston Rockets (2011–2012)
On 24 February 2011, at the NBA Trade Deadline, Dragić was traded to the Houston Rockets along with the lottery protected first round pick Phoenix received in an earlier trade with the Orlando Magic in exchange for Aaron Brooks. Dragić notched his first career NBA triple-double on 13 April 2011 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 45 minutes Dragić had 11 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. Dragić also blocked a shot in the Rockets' blowout win.
During the 2011 NBA lockout, he played for Saski Baskonia of Spain. He played for a brief period of time there until the lockout ended. He returned to the Rockets for the 2011–12 season. Throughout most of the season, Dragić continued to be used as a bench player as a means to help the Rockets out during the lockout shortened season. In March 2012, he filled in for Kyle Lowry, who was out with a bacterial infection. On 9 April 2012, Dragić won the Western Conference Player of the Week.
Second stint with the Suns (2012–2015)
In 2012, Dragić became an unrestricted free agent. He agreed to sign a 4-year, $30 million deal with a player option on the final year with the Phoenix Suns and officially became a member of the team again on 19 July 2012. He was brought in to replace Steve Nash, whom he played behind during his first stint with the Suns, as starting point guard. On 19 February 2013, Dragić recorded a career-high 18 assists to go with 14 points as the Suns defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 102–98. Dragić nearly recorded a triple-double against the Brooklyn Nets with 31 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds on 24 March 2013. Despite suffering through a 25–57 season, Dragić ended up gaining some career high moments in the process.
After getting Eric Bledsoe from a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Suns ultimately decided to move Dragić to the shooting guard position as a means of putting less pressure on Dragić to distribute the ball to his teammates. In his first game playing with Eric as a teammate, Dragić led the team with 26 points and 9 assists in a 104–91 season opening victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Dragić had over 8 games with 30 points or more, including a double-double of 31 points and 10 assists in a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on 27 November 2013. He also had what was, at the time, a career-high 33 points in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on 2 January 2014. On 3 February 2014, Dragić won his second career Western Conference Player of the Week award and his first with the Suns for games played between 27 January – 2 February 2014. Three days later, he was paired with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson in the revamped, team-based Skills Challenge at the All-Star weekend
On 8 February 2014, Dragić scored a career-high 34 points— while attempting only 13 field-goals— to go along with 10 assists in a 122–109 home victory over the Golden State Warriors. On 23 February 2014, Dragić scored a new career-high 35 points, along with 3 assists and 3 steals, in a 112–115 loss to the Houston Rockets. On 28 February 2014, he recorded a new career-high 40 points, along with 3 rebounds and 5 assists, in a 116–104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. He became the first player, since Rod Strickland in 1985–86, to set career highs in points three times in a single month. Dragić also became the sixth player, after his head coach Jeff Hornacek, Dražen Petrović, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant, to join the 20-50-40 Club — averaging 20 or more points per game while shooting 50%+ from the field and 40%+ on three-pointers. He also averaged over 5 assists per game throughout the season as well, leaving him joining the likes of Larry Bird, Jeff Hornacek and LeBron James.
On 23 April 2014, Dragić won the 2014 NBA Most Improved Player Award. One month later, he would end up being honored by his home nation with their national "Apple of Inspiration" award for being a role model and inspiring hope in Slovenia, as well as helping out the nation's community with humanitarian activities. Finally, on 4 June 2014, Dragić was named to the 2014 All-NBA third team alongside Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson and Paul George.
Miami Heat (2015–present)
On 19 February 2015, Dragić and his brother, Zoran, were traded to the Miami Heat in a three-team deal also involving the New Orleans Pelicans. Two days later, he made his debut for the Heat, recording 12 points and 3 rebounds in a 105–91 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Dragić finished the season averaging 16.6 points and 5.3 assists per game in 26 starts for Miami, as the Heat missed the playoffs.
On 9 July 2015, Dragić re-signed with the Heat to a five-year, $90 million contract. In January 2016, he missed eight straight games because of a left calf injury. On 20 February 2016, he recorded a season-high 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in a 114–84 win over the Washington Wizards. He bested that season high on 11 March, recording 26 points and nine assists in a 118–96 win over the Chicago Bulls. On 7 April, he recorded 16 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in a 106–98 win over the Chicago Bulls, helping the Heat sweep the season series with the Bulls for the first time since the 2003–04 season. In the Heat's second-round playoff match-up with the Toronto Raptors, Dragić scored a postseason career-high 30 points to help the Heat to a 103–91 victory in Game 6, tying the series at 3–3. The Heat went on to lose Game 7, bowing out of the playoffs with a 4–3 defeat.
Dragić averaged 16.3 points and 5.9 assists over the first seven games of the 2016–17 season, but injured his left ankle on 10 November 2016 against the Chicago Bulls and missed the next three games. On 28 November, he recorded season highs of 27 points and 17 assists in a 112–104 loss to the Boston Celtics. He topped that mark on 6 December, scoring 29 points in a 114–103 loss to the New York Knicks. Dragić set a new season high on 12 December, scoring 34 points in a 112–101 win over the Washington Wizards (his highest-scoring total as a member of the Heat).
Slovenian national basketball team
Junior national team
Dragić won the gold medal at the 2004 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship with the Slovenian junior national team. He also played at the 2005 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship.
Senior national team
Dragić competed with the senior men's Slovenian national basketball team at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and the 2007 European Championship in limited roles. Dragić's role with the Slovenian national basketball team began to increase in the 2009 European Championship and the 2010 FIBA World Championship. He then played with his brother Zoran in the 2011 European Championship and the 2013 European Championship, the latter held in Slovenia. During the 2013 tournament, Goran and his brother helped lead Slovenia to a 5th-place finish and a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Championship. Dragić finished in the 2013 European Championship's top five in points and assists, which earned him a spot on the All-Tournament Team. In 2014, Dragić was named Slovenia's team captain after Jaka Lakovič retired from international play. In the friendly matches before the 2014 FIBA World Championship, Dragić rested in 9 of their 14 matches before actually playing in the championship matches. After finishing up their friendly matches, Dragić played with no restrictions beyond the rest of the competition; he was the only All-NBA team member to play in the 2014 World Cup aside from Team USA.
Dragić was born to a Slovenian mother and a Serbian father. He grew up in Slovenia playing soccer. However, an injury forced him to switch sports. As a child in Europe, he admired NBA players Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and former teammate Steve Nash, and woke up at 3 in the morning to watch NBA games. He is fluent in Slovenian, Serbian, Spanish, and English. Dragić's brother, Zoran, was formerly his teammate on the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat.
In August 2013, Dragić married his long-time girlfriend, Maja. In November 2013, Dragić's first son, Mateo, was born.
He and Zoran, alongside teammates Markieff and Marcus Morris, all briefly played together for the Suns during the fourth quarter of their 112-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on 2 January 2015. It marked the first time in the NBA's history that two different pairs of brothers played together for the same team at the same time.
Awards and accomplishments
- Won the gold medal at the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship (2004)
- Slovenian League Rookie of the Year (2005)
- Slovenian League All-Star (2005, 2006)
- Winner of the Borislav Stanković Tournament (2007, 2010)
- Won the Slovenian League national championship (2008)
- Won the MVP award for the Borislav Stanković Tournament (2010)
- Named Western Conference Player of the Week, 4/2-4/8 (Houston, 2012)
- Member of the EuroBasket All-Tournament Team (2013)
- Named Western Conference Player of the Week, 1/27-2/2 (Phoenix, 2014)
- Contestant for the Taco Bell Skills Challenge (2014)
- Member of the 20-50-40 Club (2014)
- Won the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award (2014)
- Jabolko Navdiha (Apple of Inspiration) by President of the Republic of Slovenia (2014)
- Member of the All-NBA Third Team (2014)
- "Dragic Honored with MVP, Yi Entered Best Team_2010 DONGFENG YUEDA KIA STANKOVIC CONTINENTAL CUP". Bscup.tom.com. 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- "Rockets' Dragić, Heat's James named Players of the Week". Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "Dragić Named Western Conference Player of Week".
- "Dragic presented with 'Apple of Inspiration' from Slovenian president". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|