The Chicago Bulls free agency continued last Sunday with the signing of veteran point guard, Goran Dragić. The 36-year-old appeared on his way out of the league before the Bulls pulled the trigger to acquire his services.
It is quite hard to be too critical of a signing on the veteran’s minimum.
Goran Dragic and the Chicago Bulls have agreed to a one-year contract, as first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by ESPN. pic.twitter.com/UzB0JixRZG— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 3, 2022
Much Left in the Tank?
It is a reasonable question to ask of a just-turned-36-year-old lead guard who played 21 games in the 2021-22 season — five with the Raptors and 16 with the Nets (plus four playoff appearances).
Last season he averaged 7.3 points and 4.8 assists in that stint, shooting a paltry 37.6 percent from the field and 24.5 percent from 3-point range.
Although he submitted three double-digit scoring outings and shot 56.3 percent in Brooklyn’s first-round playoff defeat at the hands of the Celtics, his play was well below his established standard.
The good news is that, other than a one-game absence due to knee soreness and a stint in health and safety protocols late in the season, Dragić has not had any pressing injuries flare up of late. His short stint with Toronto was more a product of his desire to be traded than health-related concerns.
He has even this summer come out of national team retirement to help Slovenia in its bid to qualify for the 2023 World Cup, averaging 18 points on 48.3 percent shooting in two games thus far.
Why Add Him to Chicago’s Guard Depth?
The six-time champions already have enough guard depth – between Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, and Dalen Terry, Chicago’s backcourt might be one of the deepest in the league … so why add Dragic when size upfront still feels like the priority?
While the Slovenian may not be what he once was in terms of what he brings to the hardwood, he is an experienced ballhandler and scorer who shot 37.5 percent behind the arc in the five years leading into the 2021-22 season.
Goran Dragic to the Bulls is good cover in case Lonzo Ball isn't ready, but they've got a lot of points guards now:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) July 3, 2022
Even with Caruso playing mostly off-ball, gotta imagine White is in play to get traded at some point.
He is expected to hit the ground running by providing the team with another reliable jump shooter and high-IQ passer, as well as a player who is known for performing well in the postseason.
The Upcoming Season Will Tell
The front office would hope that last year’s struggles were circumstantial and that he can bounce back offensively in a new environment. Defensively, the team will rely on its solid perimeter infrastructure to cover for any limitations.
Whether that bet pays off or not, the downside is minimal given Dragić’s contract details (one year, $2.9 million) and reputation as a solid vet.