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Goran Dragic

The NBA’s biggest surprises, halfway through the season–Part 2

Yesterday, we took a look at some of the biggest surprises for this half-NBA season, including the surprising mediocrity of the Charlotte Bobcats and Minnesota Timberwolves (but perhaps not in the same context) and just how terrible the Brooklyn Nets are. Peep the second half right here!
 
Portland’s excellence despite their defensive shortcomings
 
Under almost any metric you can interpret, the Portland Trail Blazers are the best offense in the NBA. Led by Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, they can beat you in almost any fashion. They are willing and accurate three-point shooters, deadly from mid-range and potent in almost every rotation with guys like Mo Williams, Dorell Wright and now C.J. McCollum. The numbers are all there—they have the most offensively versatile starting five in the NBA and a very good bench behind them. In that sense, it’s no surprise they have the fifth best record in the NBA.
 
But defensively they’re not very good. They allow the 4th most points per game, coming in 22nd in defensive efficiency. They are the worst squad in the NBA at forcing turnovers and 22nd in opponent’s offensive rebounding numbers. Luckily, this team scores so well that they’re not often penalized for their defensive lapses. In many ways, they’re the lucky versions of the Minnesota Timberwolves—high scoring, efficient but with two closers at the end of games instead of Minny’s one. Portland could very well continue to thrive during the regular season, but I’m not sure how well they’ll fare during the playoffs with such mediocre to poor defensive scheme.
 
The completeness of Lance Stephenson
 
“Born Ready” Lance Stephenson was a Brooklyn, NY playground prospect, whose legend and skillset earned him a spot as one of the most highly recruited teenagers in the country. After spending one very mediocre season at the University of Cincinnati that was marred with rumors of him being difficult to coach, Stephenson made the jump to the NBA. Unsurprisingly, he was drafted 40th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers. His per game numbers in his first two NBA seasons were extremely uninspiring (just 54 total games played with averages of 2.6/1.3/1.2), especially for two decent, but unspectacular NBA squads. There was no doubt that he could be a very good pro defender, but it seemed that a player like Tony Allen was his comparative ceiling.… Read more...

Can Dragic and Bledsoe work? Phoenix Suns Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Goran Dragic, SG Eric Bledsoe, SF Gerald Green, PF A Morris brother, C Alex Len
 
Key Bench Players: F The other Morris brother, F/C Channing Frye, C Emeka Okafor, G/F Gerald Green
 
Offseason Additions: Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe
 
Offseason Subtractions:  C Marcin Gortat, SF Jared Dudley, SG Shannon Brown, PG Kendall Marshall, PF Luis Scola, C Jermaine O’Neal, PF Michael Beasley, PG Sebastian Telfair
 
FACT OR FICTION: Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic will work as two starting point guards.
 
FICTION. And I think everyone knows that. Including the Phoenix Suns.
 
It seems like writing “the Phoenix Suns have invested their future in Dragic and Bledsoe” is the easiest and most natural discourse to write for this preview. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.… Read more...