During a last-minute win that saw the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade hit the game-winning shot in a 100-97 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, the shooting struggles of Wade’s backcourt partner, Goran Dragic, offered Wade an emphatic opportunity to keep Dragic’s confidence up.
In an online blog published Monday, the Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser indicated that during the third quarter of Sunday night’s game, Wade simply told Dragic to “shoot the f*cking ball.”
Up to that point, Dragic had missed nine of his first 10 attempts. After Wade fed him the ball in the right corner for a possible three-point attempt with 6:50 left in the quarter, a gun-shy Dragic instead passed it to the wing, where Luol Deng was situated.
After the game, Wade was asked about the sequence:
“He turned it down and threw it to Lu and we got a bad shot,” said Wade. “I felt like he needed to shoot. Shoot the (expletive) ball. I told him that because we need him to do that. He’s a very good shooter. He needs to have that mentality.”
Following up, Wade then explained the reasoning behind his blunt commentary
“It’s simple. We want him to be aggressive. I know what he was seeing. You get out of rhythm sometimes, but I still want him to be aggressive,” said Wade. “When I’m penetrating and I kick to him, be ready to shoot. He needs to hear that we want him to be aggressive and shoot the ball at the right times. When he’s off the ball, he becomes a scorer. It’s my job. We’ve got a great relationship, and I can talk to him that way.”
Against Memphis, Dragic connected just 3-of-14 times, failing to hit any of his five three-point shots. Over the last three games, he’s managed to hit just 7-of-26 field goal attempts, including just 1-of-10 from beyond the three-point line.
That downturn continues in what’s been a rollercoaster season so far for Dragic, who started slow during Miami’s first 11 games before seeing a boost over the next seven contests, which preceded the latest slump.
During his previous two campaigns, Dragic has averaged a 50.3 field goal shooting percentage, including an even 38 percent when it comes to three-point shots.