The Nets announced on Saturday that veteran guard Goran Dragic is available to play against the Milwaukee Bucks and will likely make his team debut.
Dragic’s minutes on Saturday will depend on how he’s feeling, according to The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer. The guard also told reporters that he feels comfortable with the Nets playbook, mentioning that it’s similar to what he ran with head coach Steve Nash while with the Phoenix Suns.
The 35-year-old hasn’t played in a game since Nov. 13, after mutually agreeing with the Toronto Raptors to sit out until finding a trade partner. He was traded to the San Antonio Spurs before the deadline, and was then bought out so he could sign with a contending team.
Brooklyn signed Dragic on Feb. 21, as he’s been conditioning and working to get back on the court. In just five games this season, he’s averaging 8.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
Over Dragic’s 14-year NBA career with the Suns, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, and Raptors, he’s averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. He was named Most Improved Player of the Year in 2013-14 with the Suns, averaging 20.1 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting from the field and 40.8 percent shooting from three-point range. Dragic earned All-Star honors in 2017-18 while with the Heat, and helped lead them to an Eastern Conference title during the 2019-20 season.
While stars Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons still remain out, Nash gave positive updates on both of them. Durant is expected to return “within the next week” from a sprained left MCL that he suffered on Jan. 15. Nash added that Simmons has yet to participate in a “high intensity workout,” which could be the final hurdle for him to clear before making his team debut.
“He’s still building his body up,” Nash said.
The Nets will look to turn things around with the return of their All-Star caliber players, as the team has gone 4-14 without Durant. They are currently just two games above .500 at 31-29 and are the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.