Goran Dragic Stepping Up Mightily for Phoenix Suns with Eric Bledsoe Injured

By Cody Williams
Dragic Hornacek
Jennifer Stewart – USA Today Sports Images

Goran Dragic has enjoyed the 2013-14 NBA season a great deal now that he has been given a highly talented running mate in the backcourt in Eric Bledsoe. However, now that Bledsoe has had to have surgery to remove part of his meniscus that will keep him out for four-to-six weeks, Dragic and the Suns have needed a different sort of attack.

On the year, Dragic has been great. Seeing the floor for 35.2 minutes per night, the 27-year-old has averaged 19.3 points, six assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting an impressive 48.3 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three. However, without Bledsoe to draw defensive attention, the safe assumption might be to say that both Dragic and the Suns would struggle. That would also be the wrong assumption, though.

The Suns notched a 121-114 victory on Wednesday night over the Los Angeles Lakers, moving their record without Bledsoe to 3-5. Though 3-5 isn’t the level that this team was playing at with Bledsoe healthy, it’s better than you might’ve expected from this team without their explosive young point guard.

Over this eight-game stretch, Dragic has been unreal. In 37 minutes per game, Dragic has averaged 22.1 points, 6.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and one steal per night. What’s been more impressive is that his overall efficiency has barely declined and he’s shooting at an even better clip from three than before Bledsoe went out.

Dragic has always been a talented player, but he didn’t look much like a player that could be used in a starring role in Phoenix last season. While Dragic deserves a great deal of credit for his play this season, a big nod is due to new head coach Jeff Hornacek. Hornacek has come in and done wonders for this team with a full roster. How he’s handling and getting his team to play since Bledsoe’s injury may be his greatest accomplishment to date, though.

Cody Williams is a Senior Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20, add him on Google and like his Facebook page.

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