The Toronto Raptors spent most of the first half of the year being held hostage by Goran Dragic. A veteran who clearly did not want to be in Toronto after being included in the Kyle Lowry trade, Dragic soured relations immediately after arriving by saying he had “higher ambitions” than playing for the Raptors.
Dragic ended up getting traded and bought out, which led him to Brooklyn as he tried to hitch his wagon to the Nets’ championship hopes. However, the tsunami of bad luck that swept over the Nets knocked them out of the first round. The rival Celtics were just too difficult for Dragic to overcome.
Boston swept the Nets as Dragic was a non-factor for large chunks of the series. At the same time, the Raptors managed to take a 3-0 deficit against the Philadelphia 76ers and turn it into a 3-2 series that is heading back to Toronto. Even without Dragic, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes are stepping up.
Dragic has to feel somewhat silly about ditching the Raptors after just five games just to have the privilege of getting swept in the first round. Dragic could have had a role as a backup point guard on an ascending Raptors team, but he chose to leave that for a spot in Brooklyn.
Goran Dragic got swept after leaving the Toronto Raptors.
Dragic averaged just 7.3 points per game on 37% shooting for the Nets this season. Not only did he fail to get further than Toronto in the postseason, but he didn’t have the statistical production needed to make Toronto jealous. It’s safe to say the Dragic experiment in Brooklyn has been a complete failure.
While Siakam and the rest of the Raptors tried to claim that Dragic’s departure was much more amicable than fans tried to make it, that quote was the definition of a bombshell. It’s hard to put that genie back in the bottle, and fans were not willing to listen to his explanation.
In a weird twist of fate, the Dragic injury helped Nick Nurse use Barnes as a point guard more frequently. That unique adjustment was one of the main reasons that Tyrese Maxey was much less effective in Toronto’s Game 5 victory. What a happy accident that was.
Both parties seem to have gotten what they wanted, as Dragic joined a contender and the Raptors moved ahead with younger players. However, watching Dragic crash out of the playoffs after refusing to play for the Raptors has to feel nice for this fanbase.