All-Star Snub Adds Spice For Dragic


VIDEO: Dragic’s big night

Keep an eye on Goran Dragic and see if he happens to put a little extra spicy salsa on those shots and passes in the Taco Bells Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night.

After all, the fact that he isn’t playing on Sunday with the West All-Stars might be harder to swallow than a plate of jalapeños.

The Suns’ point guard is 16th in the league in scoring (20.4 points a game), 17th in assists, (6.1), sixth in true shooting percentage (61.5), and his PER of 22.8 is 12th in the NBA. He is tied for 10th in win shares (7.0) with Chris Paul.

When new boss Adam Silver made his first public move as commissioner to add a dash of home-cooking by naming New Orleans’ forward Anthony Davis as a replacement for injured guard Kobe Bryant, it was just one more elbow nudge in the ribs.

“Oh yes, I was full of emotions,” Dragic said. “I was a little bit mad, angry, disappointed. All of those words. There it is. I think I did my job.

“If it happened it would have been a dream come true. It would mean a lot because I would know that I worked hard and it is way to be told I am on the right track.”

Not that the 27-year-old from Slovenia has done anything but barrel down the track like a locomotive in his sixth season in the league and his second as a full-time starter in Phoenix. While the Suns are a varied and interesting mix of young talent under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek, there is no question that Dragic has been the spark to their offensive engine with his scoring, passing and running of the offense.

Even in the absence of injured backcourt partner Eric Bledsoe, Dragic has kept the Suns going forward as the surprise team of the league. Picked by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win 21.5 games and thought by most as a club that was getting into position for a high lottery pick, the Suns have already won 30 to hold down the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference going into Tuesday’s home game against the defending champion Heat (9 p.m. ET, League Pass). That’s more wins than every team in the entire Eastern Conference except for Indiana and Miami.

And the Suns don’t have a single representative in the All-Star Game.

All the talk about winning be the only real stat that counts, yet Kevin Love of the disappointing Timberwolves was voted into the starting lineup by the fans and then Dragic was overlooked as a reserve, first by vote of the coaches, and then by Silver.

“I don’t want to complain or put myself ahead of any other player,” Dragic said. “I am trying not to think about what happen and just trying to concentrate and win as many games as we can and hopefully make that push for the playoffs. That will be my statement.”

Yet the incongruity and, well, hypocrisy of it all is something that all of the Suns have trouble digesting. The snub had been extended to the rest of the roster until Miles Plumlee was a late replacement added to the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night of the All-Star Weekend schedule.

“When a team has a guy make the All-Star team, it’s not only a testament to what that guy does, but also his teammates,” Hornacek said. “You don’t become an All-Star if you don’t have any good teammates. Someone’s got to throw you the ball. Someone’s got to help you out. The fact is, if he made it, it ought to be a sign that, hey, we’re a team that’s above .500 and weren’t supposed to be and that reflects on the whole team. I still think we’ve got a pretty good team.”

It’s been a dramatic rise for Dragic just 2 1/2 years after he entered the 2011-12 season in Houston No. 3 on the Rockets depth chart at point guard. When Kyle Lowry was injured, he got his chance to start 28 games, and that laid a foundation for what Dragic is doing now.

“It was my first year that I got a lot of minutes,” he said. “Now it’s so much clearer, so much easier for me because I know how the game is going to go and when I have to take my shot. I’m not rushing. It’s just a good fit and I’m just happy that I’m back and part of the Phoenix Suns organization. They did a lot for me. I’m never going to forget that they drafted me and give me my first chance in the NBA.”

And there’s a part of him that won’t forget being overlooked for the All-Star team.

“I can’t be angry now,” Dragic said. “I must let that go. But what I can do is to focus on finishing the season strong, help get our team into the playoffs, then see what we can do there. That would be the best way to talk.”

26 Comments

  1. GrumpyBaller says:

    I think potential stars will get their shot! Look at Curry’s snub last year, made him humble to be a starter in this year’s all star. Dragic is on the rise, you’d be blind not to notice that text book jump shot. Though I agree that he’s better than Dirk this season but he’s in his twilight years while Dragic will be around and much better. Love a starter? what’s up with that? They should have a rule, no centers can shoot the 3! Joe Johnson….uugh!

  2. tgf king says:

    Monta Ellis was more deserving of an allstar selection then goran dragic. The NBA is so disrespectful.

  3. Berdugo says:

    Dragic’s one of those players who will never be known as an all star no matter how good he is. The Suns will have to reach the 2nd or 3rd round, and the story should revolve around how Dragic made the Suns a contender in the playoffs. Until that happens, nobody will care about it. NBA drama.

    • mee(a)t says:

      This somewhat happened to the Warriors. Steph curry brought attention when he scored 54 on the Knicks but the team really started to get some spotlight when they lost against the Spurs in the second round

  4. Mike says:

    I remember watching Dragic single-handedly destroy the Spurs in the playoffs a few years ago. It was terrible to watch, and yet I couldn’t help but think that I was watching the birth of a superstar. I think the All-Star weekend is a complete sham, and his snub is testament to this fact. Players like Goran Dragic will always be underrated because they don’t play for highlight reels or All-Star selections – they play so that their team has another W at the end of the night. He may not be getting the recognition he deserves but I can guarantee that at certain stages throughout the rest of the season he will make half of the All-Star players look silly.

  5. okc2014 says:

    I think Dirk deserved it because like the Chuckster said, “you should also be awarded for winning”. But Joe Johnson? Please. Kevin Love? Hmmmmm. I think Silver chose Anthony Davis as a “wild card” because he’s hosting the event. Although he’s a great player, his team stinks. So yes, I think Dragic might have been snubbed too.

  6. JM says:

    Dragic should’ve been an Allstar… if he can keep this up until they make the playoffs, he can prove the coaches and Adam Silver wrong about this snub…..

  7. Number 13 says:

    50+ wins seems like an attainable goal for the Suns this season. Beef up the defense and try to obtain a well-rounded interior big man and suddenly they could be contenders.

  8. Danijel says:

    Its all good. I guess they calculated he cant sell enough sneakers :) It is just the business side of basketball. The world just is not a place where everything is fair and beautiful and full of flowers. Money, money, money :)

  9. mark says:

    Such a shameful mistake. Dragic is an all-star player and more, he’s a real showmaker.

  10. Blues says:

    Nice articles, Frank. I agree to Kevin Love not be voted ahead! Was hoping someone would highlight the Suns’ snub in the all star..

  11. great guy shame that he’s not in the all star roster!!!

  12. dustydreamnz says:

    I’m interested to see what Phoenix do in the trade market. With Bledsoe back and a good trade or 2 they are going to be very tough.

  13. Mark says:

    The dude should be there in front of Lillard and possibly Parker and Davis.

  14. Eaham says:

    I am a bit dissapointed wiht dragic being snubbed but to be honest I feel like he could have made the all star team if he had the opprtunity longer. Bledsoe took the spotlight from dragic even though dragic was playing well. Everyone started to notice Dragic only after bledsoe went down wihtout realizing that dragic was amazing even with bledsoe playing. He reminds me of a younger nash right now and I ope he keeps up his game, fun player to watch

  15. Marac says:

    Gogi ti si legenda!
    Lahko uredis kaksno karto za katero od tekem v marcu? Pridemo slovenci navijat za tebe…

  16. baller says:

    Too bad Dragic is in the west…If he was in the East he definitely would’ve made it…There’s no question that Kyle Lowry and Dragic are both playing 194083259023 times better than Joe Johnson is right now

  17. nes says:

    Loved Dragic when he was with us on the Rockets, it’s a shame he’s not in. I think he is more deserving than Lillard tbh. If by some chance someone else goes down he should definitely be in, and with the look of this Phoenix team they might be around for a while.

  18. RAPS says:

    The quality of the video and the music mix is great, but the angle pans and the slow motion really doesn’t work here. Could have been a much better tribute if it was regular highlights with the music added on.

    As far as Dragic not getting his All-Star nod, I mean its not THAT shocking. Yes he is having a great season, but he is not in the top 5 PG in the league and having one breakout season, does not mean you HAVE to be on the all-star team. Hedo Turkoglu was a 1 and done player. I believe Kyle LOWRY was far more deserving, arguably playing at top 5 in his position in the league and likely top in the East!!

  19. TTKIN says:

    Dragic should have made the West team, and Stephenson should have made the East team. Nowitzki and Joe Johnson shouldnt be all-stars. I love Dirk, but Goran has had a better season and his team looks better than Dallas.

    • allaroundballer says:

      Nowitzki is still reasonable
      Dragic > parker
      Stephenson > johnson

      Does anyone ever thinking bout wade? He’s been on and off this season and also won’t join usa team. If he needs those rest, then why would he play for an allstar game?

  20. john says:

    This dude is for real! I can’t wait to see how he will handle the Heat tonight…=)

  21. James says:

    Now I feel bad for not voting.