CHICAGO – While most of the focus was on Hassan Whiteside when it came to the All-Star reserves, the Heat had a player more deserving of a spot.
Goran Dragic has been Miami’s best player this year, leading the team with 19.6 points per game and 6.5 assists. But Dragic, like Whiteside, did not do enough for the coaches to vote him onto the East squad.
“Didn’t even look,” Dragic told me Friday when I asked if he was watching Thursday’s announcement. “I’m not about that. It would be nice to be there but it’s not my priority. I just want to do my job, play the games that count. This is a great opportunity to have some days off to recover my body.”
Later that night Dragic, who plays as hard as anybody on the team, went out and scored 26 points on 12-of-20 shooting and dish out 11 assists in the Heat’s sixth straight win, this one over the Bulls. Dragic has 43 points and 20 assists in his last two games.
Dragic started paying less attention to the All-Star selections when he was left of the team during the best season of his career. Dragic averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists while shooting better than 50 percent from the field for the Suns in 2013-14. He was voted third-team All-NBA following the season.
One problem is the league is as deep at the guard position as it has ever been. After Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving were voted in as starters, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry Washington’s John Wall and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker were added to the team by the coaches.
“The last few years it’s the league of the guard,” Dragic said. “There’s a lot of great players. I am grateful because when I get older I will talk to my kids and tell them I was playing at that time there were a lot of good guards and I was competing against them.”
Dragic finished 17th in the fan vote, tied for 15th in the player vote, and did not receive a vote from the media among Eastern Conference guards.