Luka Doncic may have stolen the show on Wednesday night at Barclays Center, but fellow Slovenian Goran Dragic added another reason why the Nets have put so much faith in him since they signed him in February.
The 35-year-old guard had his best game in a Nets uniform in Brooklyn’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in a 21 point effort on 9-of-16 shooting. Dragic looked lights out dominating inside the paint as well as knocking down a few shots from further out.
A clear sign that he has continued to adjust to his new team under difficult circumstances.
“It’s getting better. It’s a different situation with Kevin (Durant) having the ball in double team. I’m more of the pick and roll guy, but I’m getting used to it. It’s getting better. I still think I’m not there where I want to be, but it’s going to come. As long as we’re winning I’m good.”
The Nets had won four straight before running into the Mavericks on Wednesday and falling in a heartbreaker.
Dragic has very quickly become an important part of the Nets lineup since making his debut on Feb. 26 against the Milwaukee Bucks. He has seen his minutes increase exponentially over the course of the 10 games he’s played with the Nets, averaging 24 minutes per game.
However, he’s appeared in over 35 minutes in two of his last two games with Brooklyn which included Wednesday night.
“I thought he was sensational tonight,” Nets coach Steve Nash said about Dragic. “He’s obviously a big game player. When we’re fully healthy you still have Kyrie and Seth as well and (his role) just depends on how we share it around. How the game goes, how the night goes, but he was excellent.”
Dragic has had to take on an increased role for the Nets with Irving unable to play in Brooklyn because of the COVID vaccine mandates and Curry has been out with an injury, which limits who the Nets have to help in that position. The Nets are expecting Curry to be back on Friday when they face the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Nets finished Wednesday’s game with six players in double figures, which included Dragic and big man Andre Drummond. The big who was acquired as part of the deal that brought Ben Simmons to Brooklyn finished the game with a double-double, picking up 14 points and dominating the boards with 17 rebounds.
The effort was just the latest example of the sizeable presence Drummond has brought to Brooklyn, especially with LaMarcus Aldridge dealing with a right hip impingement. prior to the game on Wednesday, Nash said that they weren’t expecting Aldridge back until next week.