Turns out, Heat culture is in fact a winning culture, as after beating the Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami will advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.
As dominant as the Heat have been this postseason, they have their toughest test ahead of them, as they now enter a battle with the Los Angeles Lakers and their two-headed monster in Lebron James and Anthony Davis.
James and Davis are the best duo in all of basketball, and will have Hall-of-Fame moments in this series, but when looking at the rest of the Lakers’ roster, Miami has much more depth and quality role players to compete in the 2020 NBA Finals.
Miami’s top players in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo will likely be the defenders trying to slow down the superstars, and with all the effort they’ll have to excerpt on that end, they’ll need a few other scorers to step up on the offensive end.
One of those scorers counted on will be Goran Dragic, a veteran point guard who has been underrated his whole career and is finally getting his chance to shine on the brightest stage.
Dragic’s best postseason ever
Unlike most starting point guards on NBA Finals teams, Dragic doesn’t have many individuals awards to his name. The point guard was named Most Improved Player in 2013-14, while also earning a spot on the 2013-14 All-NBA Third Team after averaging 20.3 points per game, 5.9 assists per game, and shooting 40.8 percent from three.
After being named an All-Star in 2018 at 32 years old, it wouldn’t have been crazy to assume that Dragic was going to enter the twilight of his career. Much like NFL running backs, most NBA point guards rarely peak after the age of 30.
But Dragic is clearly not most NBA point guards, as with talented rookie Kendrick Nunn sidelined with an ankle injury from February, Dragic got a chance to start in the bubble and has not looked back.
Dragic must have found the fountain of youth down in Disney world, he’s averaged 21.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, being a consistent scorer for a Heat team pundits before the season thought lacked a superstar.
A huge chunk of that scoring comes from the three-point line, as even though Dragic was a pretty average marksmen from deep during the regular season (36.7 percent), he has been able to drill threes consistency in the postseason.
This is partially because Dragic doesn’t have a hot spot from deep that defenses can deny him from. He can consistently hit threes from everywhere on the floor to keep defenses guessing and keep the ball moving.
In addition to being an major offensive component while spreading the love to all of Miami’s hot shooters, Dragic has been a great leader for this Heat team, accepting his role as the savvy veteran who can be in the spotlight or slide into a role player slot.
“I was never concerned about the role on this team,” Dragic said back in March. “That’s not how we operate. That’s not the way this team is built. Coach told me what he needed and it’s my job to do what needs to be done. That’s all.”
The Slovenian point guard is far from a superstar, but that’s the whole point of this team that has embraced Heat culture: he doesn’t need to be a superstar, he needs to be a consistent offensive threat, spread the floor for Miami’s shooters, and be a cool veteran leader for a Heat that skews younger than most Finals teams.
If Dragic continue to make it rain from deep while being a pest on defense and a leader that the young role players can rally around, not only can the Heat upset the Lakers, but Dragic might do a decent 2007 Tony Parker impression and take home the Finals MVP trophy.