Published On: Sun, Aug 28th, 2016

Spoelstra: Heat will focus on Dragic following Wade departure

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Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Having lost their franchise player of 13 years, the Miami Heat are left scrambling to fill the void of Dwyane Wade‘s departure.

For now, the plan involves running a high-tempo offense built around their star point guard.

The responsibility of being the No. 1 option will fall to Goran Dragic, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday, according to Barry Jackson of the MIami Herald.

“It only makes sense for us to maximize Goran’s strengths, and Hassan (Whiteside’s) strengths, Justise Winslow’s strengths,” Spoelstra said. “Their strengths are their speed, their athleticism. Goran is one of the best fast-break, transition point guards in this game. He will force tempo regardless of how you want to play or how you want to defend. Goran is going to run …”

Dragic never quite lived up to his billing as a franchise-altering addition after joining Miami by trade from the Phoenix Suns two seasons ago. The Slovenian guard struggled to mesh with Wade’s game as it became a struggle of who would dominate the ball, rather than how they could share the rock to leverage each others’ abilities.

Related: Spoelstra denies tension between Wade, Dragic

Given his stature on South Beach, Wade easily won the power struggle in the backcourt against the newcomer. But the cost of that was pace – Wade preferred to play in a halfcourt setting, and so the Heat posted a bottom-five pace score over the last two seasons.

Dragic, meanwhile, largely thrives in up-tempo offenses. He’s been one of the league’s best transition scorers since he entered the league, and he even earned an All-NBA Third Team billing three years ago with the run-and-gun Suns when he averaged 20.3 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting from the floor.

Now with Wade gone, Spoelstra hopes Dragic can seize the reins and repeat the form he found in Phoenix.

“You don’t find many players that can attack, that can play fast, that can make other players better in that type of game. And he’s relentless in getting to the rim. And Goran is that kind of player. And I think young players gravitate to Goran. They want to play that style.”



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