The Toronto Raptors acquired point guard Goran Dragic as part of the deal that sent Kyle Lowry back to Miami following his legendary Canadian career. Purely on paper, it looked like Dragic, who averaged 13.4 points per game last year despite his advanced age, could be the bench scorer that this team needs.
In practice, however, that might not come to fruition, especially after Dragic has voiced his discontent with ending up in Toronto after years of contending for championships in Miami. He has apologized, but that comment will likely hang over whatever he accomplishes in Canada.
While Dragic has been heavily linked to a move to the Dallas Mavericks considering his willingness to form an all-Balkan backcourt between him and Luka Doncic in Texas, he is a Raptor right now, and it will be extremely unlikely for Toronto to move off of his $19 million salary before the season starts.
Assuming that he isn’t going anywhere, what does a successful campaign look like for Dragic in 2021? Although he’ll likely be on the bench alongside two other ball-handlers in Malachi Flynn and rookie sensation Scottie Barnes, that’s not an excuse to expect little of someone with his pedigree.
Can Goran Dragic have a successful 2021-22 with the Toronto Raptors?
Dragic should average double digits in points per game, something he’s done every year since 2011. The Raptors have a versatile roster with tons of good defenders, but scoring and shooting might be a bit of an issue, and Dragic could help supplement that with his potentially award-winning blend of offensive skills.
The Raptors were dead last in the NBA in bench scoring last year, and the loss of players like DeAndre’ Bembry might make it even tougher to get some quality minutes from the second unit on offense. In this regard, it’s invaluable to have someone with Goran’s history of production as a reserve.
Dragic is a battle-scarred veteran who has learned a thing or two from his stints in Miami, Phoenix, and Houston. With Flynn looking to improve his finishing at the rim, Gary Trent Jr. figuring out how to come into his own as an iso scorer, and Barnes improving his shot, Dragic could impart an encyclopedia worth of knowledge into these 3 developing players.
Just score, keep the bench clicking, and teach the young guys for as long as you’re here, and we’re cool.
The best scenario for all parties is that Dragic continues to showcase his scoring quality, helping the Raptors end up right on the cusp of a playoff spot up until the trade deadline in the process, before getting flipped to Dallas for picks and young players.
If he accomplishes that, he could put his infamous quote in the past and help Toronto succeed in 2021.