While the Miami Heat are making some lineup changes ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season, point guard Goran Dragic is ready for his new role off the bench.
Although the 33-year-old is losing his starting spot to youngster Justise Winslow, Dragic says his age won’t hinder his performance at all this season.
“I don’t look at myself as 33 years old,’’ said Dragic. “I still feel that I can play. I don’t have this in my thoughts that I’m old, I can’t play. I’m always positive, and I’ll do everything I have to be on the floor.”
Dragic played in a career-low 36 games last season due to midseason surgery on his right knee. The shortened campaign also led to low production. The 6-foot-3 point guard averaged just 13.7 points and 4.8 assists in 27.5 minutes per game last season.
Due to Dragic’s extended absence last season, Winslow got plenty of time to show he can be a serviceable point guard. The 23-year-old ended up averaging career-highs with 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 66 games last season.
While the transition hasn’t been easy, Dragic completely understands the natural cycle that occurs in the NBA.
“For me, it’s the path of every athlete,” the 2018 All-Star graciously said. “When you’re young you play a lot of minutes. Then it comes time when you need to make sacrifices for the team. It’s not easy, we’re all competitors; we have egos. It’s my job. I have to be professional.”
Although there is more coverage around who typically starts the game, the Slovenian speedster knows ending the game is far more meaningful than initiating it.
“Of course, you always want to finish the game,’’ Dragic said. “Whatever it takes to win games.’’
The Heat kickstart the 2019-20 regular season against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.