Goran Dragic has taken on a heavy load for the Phoenix Suns this season — playing 34.7 minutes a night he has had to become the focal point of the team’s offense due to injuries around him. Dragic is averaging a career high 20.3 points a night, plus is dishing out 6 assists, and he had the highest usage percentage of his career at 24.6.
He’s understandably a little worn down.
He’s also a key part of the national team for Slovenia, which qualified for the FIBA World Cup this summer in Spain. Only the Olympics rivals the importance of this tournament.
But after his long season, Dragic may skip the summer trip to Spain and rest, he told Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
“Sometimes, it is too many games,” Dragic said. “I still have to sit down with my national team and talk with them about making a decision if I’m going to play or not. I’m thinking more toward not playing and trying to get my body some rest to be fresher for the next season.
“That is hard because, back home, all the people judge you that you have so much money and you’re a star and now you don’t want to play for the national team. That bothers me a little bit but those people don’t know how the season goes, how many games it is and being in a different hotel every night. I’m more on the plane than in my car.”
There are Americans taking the summer off as well — LeBron James being the biggest name. However, because the United States can roll out Kevin Durant and Kevin Love and a host of other elite players nobody really gets up in arms about it.
Slovenia isn’t quite so deep. They can roll out Beno Udrih (he hasn’t played for the Slovenian national team since 2006) and guys now out of the NBA such as Bostian Nachbar, but they don’t have the depth to make up for missing stars. They have Goran’s brother Zoran Dragic at the three, but after Goran at the point they often play Jaka Lakovic.
Which is to say Goran may get a lot of pressure back home and really be stuck between the “club or country” debate. Right now, he’s leaning club in that argument, but we will see.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.