As the New York Knicks prepare for a return to relevance, adding a veteran guard who can run an offense would be a wise move. Enter Goran Dragic.
The New York Knicks are expected by many to target a playmaker at the 2020 NBA Draft. That may yet come to fruition, but with New York on the outside looking in of top-five lottery odds, free agency may ultimately come into play.
Thankfully for Leon Rose and the Knicks, there’s a pending free agent who may be able to fill a significant void and thus push the franchise in the right direction: Goran Dragic.
Many moons ago, Phil Jackson targeted Dragic as a potential fit for the triangle offense. That never came to fruition, as the Miami Heat instead moved in on the All-NBA guard who led the Phoenix Suns to 48 wins in 2013-14.
The Most Improved Player Award winner went on to help Miami make postseason appearances in 2016 and 2018, including a trip to Round 2 during the former campaign.
In 2019-20, Dragic has sacrificed his ego for the sake of providing opportunities to rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro. He’s transitioned seamlessly into the role of a sixth man, helping Miami’s second unit rank in the top half of the NBA in net rating.
As far as what the future holds for the 34-year-old, Dragic would be the perfect point guard for a Knicks team that desperately needs his type of presence.
The New York Knicks need a playmaker like Goran Dragic to run the offense.
The top priority for the Knicks heading into the 2020 NBA offseason should be finding a player who can run a successful offense. Dragic is one of the better players in the Association in that regard, as he can work both with and without the ball.
Even in 2019-20, when his playing time has diminished, he’s pieced together averages of 5.1 assists per game and 6.4 assists per 36 minutes.
Furthermore, Dragic boasts a respectable assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.05. He’s averaged just 2.9 turnovers per 36 minutes for his career, which clearly displays his ability to both get an offense into its sets and make plays without losing possession.
That’s a valuable trait for a Knicks team that ranks 27th in assists per game and owns an assist-to-turnover ratio of just 1.54.
What makes Dragic different from the recent crop of point guards to play for the Knicks is that he can also play without the ball. Dragic is a career 36.4 percent three-point shooter who has converted 37.7 percent of his attempts in 2019-20.
Dragic has buried at least 37.0 percent of his three-point field goals in three of the past four seasons, and is shooting 36.3 percent in catch and shoot situations in 2019-20.
That level of effectiveness from 3 would enable the Knicks to run the offense through other players, thus becoming less predictable. That’s a luxury that isn’t present when a point guard is unable to convert catch and shoot opportunities, which has long been an issue for New York.
Even beyond the positional discussion, Dragic’s presence would help New York escape the depths of ranking dead last in three-point field goals made.
Clearly, having a point guard who can pass and shoot with efficiency would be ideal. What makes Dragic truly compelling as a target, however, is the fact that he’s played in structurally similar situations to the one he’d enter in New York.
RJ Barrett needs the ball to be effective and hasn’t exactly established consistency from beyond the arc, but that wouldn’t hurt Dragic’s game.
In Phoenix, Dragic played alongside a downhill finisher who was capable, but not necessarily consistent from distance in Eric Bledsoe. In Miami, he operated out of a backcourt that consisted of he and Dwyane Wade.
Wade‘s Hall of Fame game was based heavily on dribble penetration, post-ups, and midrange marksmanship. He never truly valued the three-ball.
Based on past experiences, it stands to reason that Dragic could make it work with Barrett. Barrett obviously isn’t yet on the level of Bledsoe, let alone Wade, but the similarities are present in terms of style of play.
Give Dragic a pick and roll target like Mitchell Robinson, and the fit between he and the Knicks becomes even easier to identify.
There’s no telling whether or not the New York Knicks will be able to sign Goran Dragic, but he’s a low-risk, high-reward type of target.
A J.J. Redick to the Sixers type of contract would even maintain financial flexibility for 2021.