Goran Dragic arrives in Miami, eager for a fresh start
MIAMI (AP) — Goran and Zoran Dragic held up their new uniforms and smiled for the cameras, then followed Miami coach Erik Spoelstra’s lead and quickly made their way toward the Heat locker room.
Their crash course in Heat basketball awaited.
The Dragic brothers were formally introduced by Miami on Saturday, hours before the Heat playoff push would continue against the New Orleans Pelicans while the team continues to deal with the illness-related absence of All-Star forward Chris Bosh.
Goran Dragic, who wanted a trade out of Phoenix, said he was thrilled to be in Miami.
“They won three championship rings,” he said, “and everyone wants to play for a championship team.”
Miami got the Dragics — Goran being a third-team All-NBA point guard last season, Zoran a rookie shooting guard — in what became a seven-player, three-team trade on Thursday.
The Heat had only nine players available on Friday in New York, and spent Saturday in a walkthrough with hopes of incorporating their newest teammates.
“Our basic offensive package is very simplified right now,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll have some basic pick-and-roll sets, spread the court and play with pace, play with energy, get the ball in specific areas. These guys are high-IQ enough that they’ll pick it up very quickly.”
The Dragics both speak multiple languages, so learning Heat terms and sets shouldn’t prove too difficult. Goran Dragic answered a few questions in Spanish on Saturday, always a hit in multicultural Miami.
“Coming to Miami ... very happy,” Zoran said.
The Heat had tried to land Goran — who’s averaging 16.2 points and 4.1 assists this season, down from 20.3 points and 5.9 assists a year ago — several times in the past, Spoelstra said. It’s no secret that Heat President Pat Riley hopes that he can keep the Slovenian guard long-term, and Goran said he can see that happening.
First, though, there’s the matter of getting through this season. And Spoelstra said he’s hopeful that with Goran at the point, Miami’s pace can get back to the level the Heat are seeking.
“The players will ultimately tell us, but this man right here has an incredible energy, a real battery that we want to utilize,” Spoelstra said.