Dragic didn’t make a favorable first impression on his new club, openly griping to reporters in his native Slovenia after coming the other way in the Lowry trade. Fortunately, the 35-year-old has done expert damage control since then, apologizing for the remarks and appearing genuinely excited to start fresh.
Best Case Scenario
Dragic has, perhaps, the clearest ‘best case scenario’ path of any of the guards. If he can provide steady on-court leadership of the young club and, essentially, assume the same secondary role he held with the Heat, he can raise his stock in a bid to find a taker via trade later in the season.
Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster, and company wisely opted to hold onto Dragic in the aftermath of the comments when no evident suitor emerged who’d be willing to part with an asset for the point guard. Rather than place him on waivers to negate any possible distraction, they evidently convinced Dragic to make the best of the situation.
For now, at least, we can look to what Dragic will bring on the court rather than harping on another ‘doesn’t want to play in Toronto’ story.
The former All-Star and Most Improved Player recipient has averaged between 13.4 and 20.3 points in each of the past 10 seasons. More production like that while helping some young Raptors develop will surely make him an appealing trade candidate for a contender.
Will Goran Dragic be able to help the Toronto Raptors?
Worst Case Scenario
Six years ago, Dragic essentially complained his way out of Phoenix when he was stuck in a logjam with Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas. The current situation isn’t quite the same and the 13-year veteran could be more mature, but it’s also possible that the best developmental path for the club sees Malachi Flynn earn bigger minutes at his expense.
How will he react? What happens if Toronto gets off to a very slow start once again and he isn’t playing well?
Dragic has already underperformed in the preseason due to inefficiency, and if his scoring dries up, the Raptors will find it even more difficult to trade him and his hefty player option.
Things seem fine for now, and I’m truly excited to see Dragic in a Raptors uniform. However, if he’s openly unhappy, it brings a negative sub-plot into the mix for this season and severely impedes the front office’s negotiating position on a possible trade.