How Goran Dragic Will Help the Miami Heat’s Struggling Offense


The difference between worst in the league–which is what the Miami Heat’s point guard situation was before Thursday–and average is a huge one. The difference between worst in the league to an all-star caliber player at the position is enough to shift the balance of power in the Eastern Conference.

By trading for Goran Dragic, the Heat have become nothing short of a contender in an open East. At least that’s what the numbers backup.

According to, the Heat’s point guards were giving up a league-worst net 9.2 points per game. Miami is scoring the third fewest points per game and playing at the slowest pace in the NBA this season.

In Erik Spoelstra’s perfect world, he isn’t grinding out games. Spo wants to get out in transition, dictate a fast pace and space the floor. However, because of the inept play at point guard this season, the Heat couldn’t do that. They had to slow the ball because it took them so long to get good shots.

Dragic is a maestro in the pick-and-roll–something the Heat needed desperately. Dwyane Wade was the only guy who could find Hassan Whiteside diving to the rim, Luol Deng cutting to the paint or Chris Bosh floating into position on the pop consistently. When he was out for rest/injury/whatever, the Heat struggled to butter their bread.

Adding Dragic ensures that the Heat’s backcourt will not only feature a pair of All Stars, it will also consistently elevate the most impactful players on the team. Check out the following table showing how Wade and Dragic perform as ball handler in the PnR, via

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As you can see, Dragic brings a similar efficiency to what Wade brings. Pairing Dragic up with Whiteside and Bosh will yield similar results to the great stuff Wade has been able to do with those guys when healthy.

Here’s a couple of videos of Dragic’s highlights and then a compilation of pick-and-pops with Channing Frye from last season. Just imagine Bosh in Frye’s position.

Having Dragic as the primary ball handler will also allow Wade to spend less time running the offense and more time where he thrives–in the post or cutting to the basket.  This extra dynamic will help layer Miami’s offense with more options and make them more unpredictable.

Dragic’s ability to get the offense in gear will help Miami pick up the pace. Currently, Dragic plays at the fifth fastest speed in the NBA. That’s not a measure of his simple foot quickness. Dragic knows how to initiate offense and get guys open and he knows how to do it quickly. That’s something that Chalmers and Cole couldn’t do, even with a full 24-second shot clock.

Dragic has a net rating of plus-2.2, per Let’s compare that to Miami’s point guards real quick: Chalmers (-4.4), Cole (-4.6) and Napier (-2.2). That means that at any given moment with Dragic on the floor, the Heat will be 4.4-to-6.6 points better than before the trade. That projects to a top-10 NBA offense.

Some of a player’s net rating depends on who he shares the court with, but Dragic will be playing with a starting lineup of Wade, Bosh, Deng and Whiteside that is certainly better than the Suns. And the Heat will be better with Dragic.

Next: Heat Check Podcast: Welcome Goran Dragic!