TORONTO – Goran Dragic downplays any notion that he and Dwyane Wade cannot thrive in the same backcourt.
The two started alongside each other for a year and a half after Dragic was acquired from the Suns in February 2014. Dragic averaged 14.8 points in the 98 regular season games, including 14.1 points in 2015-16, his lowest output in six seasons in his only full season with Wade.
Dragic, though, said it took time to learn how to play with several unfamiliar faces after joining Miami.
“People (got) this wrong, they said me and D-Wade we didn’t co-exist or something,” Dragic said today. “You know when you come to a new team it’s hard to find your spot at first. We had (Chris Bosh) at first, we had D-Wade, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng; there were a lot of players they were good and you just need time to adjust and fit into the system.
“You could see the last year together we demonstrated we can play together.”
That season the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals despite losing Bosh at the All-Star break and were eliminated by the Raptors in seven games. Wade led the Heat with 21.4 points while Dragic averaged 16.5 in the postseason.
Wade left the Heat in the summer of 2016, signing a free agent contract and in 2016-17 Dragic played a much larger role and his scoring average spiked to 20.3 points per game, equaling his career best. This season, Dragic is leading the Heat with 17.2 points per game and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
The Heat reacquired Wade on Thursday in a deal with the Cavaliers.
“That was never a concern for me, maybe for you guys outside this locker room,” Dragic said. “I had a great relationship with him. He helped me a lot. I always said that. I’m happy to have him here. You know in the playoff run we had we we played well together. So, it is what it is, regardless of what people said.”
But the Wade-Dragic backcourt may not be so much of an issue in Wade’s second go around with the Heat. Wade is being used as Dragic’s backup up as coach Erik Spoelstra prefers to bring him off the bench and two played just one minute together in Wade’s first game back with the Heat on Friday. Wade will continue to come off the bench as the Heat face the Raptors tonight.