Goran Dragic’s Five Best Moments of 2013-14
April 23, 2014
By Ben York, Suns.com
No matter what way you look at it, the season Goran Dragic had was one for the books.
Better said, a career-defining season.
Statistically speaking, Dragic put up numbers that few players in the history of the NBA have ever attained.
For example, Dragic exceeded marks of at least 20 points, 5 assists, 50 percent field goal shooting and 40 percent three-point shooting this season, becoming just the fourth player in NBA history (and second Sun) to surpass each of those four marks in the same season. He was also the first guard in the NBA to average at least 20 points, while shooting over 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point since Drazen Petrovic did so for New Jersey in 1992-93 (among all qualified players after 1992-93, only Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant and LeBron James have done so).
Needless to say, his Most Improved Player honor was certainly well-deserved.
With the help of stat guru Cole Mickelson, click through for The Dragon’s top five moments of the season.
No. 5: Taco Bell Skills Challenge
As an homage to a stellar beginning to the 2013-14 season, Goran Dragic competed in the 2014 Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of All-Star Saturday Night in New Orleans on Feb. 15, teaming with Reggie Jackson of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Western Conference guard duo posted the second-best relay time of the opening round at 42.3 seconds, though they did not advance to represent the West in the championship round as Damian Lillard and Trey Burke clocked in at 40.6 seconds before eventually winning the competition.
The Dragon became the third Sun to compete in the Skills Challenge, joining Stephon Marbury (2003) and Steve Nash (2005, 2006, 2010).
No. 4: Player of the Week
Goran Dragic was named Player of the Week in the West for Jan. 27-Feb. 2 after scoring 20+ points in all four games as the Suns went 4-0.
Dragic averaged 26.8 points and shot .639 FG% and .692 3FG% for the week as he won his second career Player of the Week (Houston, 2012).
No. 3: February 8
Goran Dragic had a historic performance vs. Golden State on Feb. 8, scoring a then-career-high 34 points on just 13 field goal attempts (10-13 FG, 6-7 3FG, 8-10 FT).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only once prior in Suns history had a Sun scored 34+ points on 13 or fewer field goal attempts: Gail Goodrich scored 36 points on 13 attempts (10-13 FG, 16-18 FT) vs. the San Francisco Warriors on March 17, 1970.
No. 2: February2 8
Goran Dragic scored a career-high 40 points vs. New Orleans on Feb. 28, becoming the first Suns player to score at least 40 points in a game since Amar’e Stoudemire scored 44 points on March 19, 2010, vs. Utah.
The last Suns guard to score 40+ points in a game was Leandro Barbosa (41 points) vs. Oklahoma City on Feb. 20, 2009.
It marked Dragic’s eighth game with 30+ points of the season; he had three in his career entering the season.
No. 1: Most Improved Player
Dragic helped lead the Suns to a 23-win improvement while establishing career highs in scoring and field goal percentage.
Collecting 408 of a possible 1,134 points, Dragic received 65 first-place votes from a panel of 126 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.
Dragic, who entered the 2013-14 campaign with a career scoring average of 9.5 points, averaged a career-best 20.3 points to go with 5.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds, as the Suns finished with a record of 48-34, one game behind the Dallas Mavericks, who claimed the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
He shot a career-best .505 from the field and a career-high .408 from behind the three-point arc, the only player in the NBA to shoot at least 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range.
Dragic is the third Sun to win the award, joining Kevin Johnson (1988-89) and Boris Diaw (2005-06).