They are three point guards whose season averages are separated by only 1.4 points, 1.6 assists, 0.3 steals. 2.1 field-goal percentage points and 2.0 minutes. Only the standings differentiate where the intertwined NBA lives of Goran Dragic, Jeremy Lin and Raymond Felton placed them. Dragic arguably is having the best season of the three but for the decidedly worst team. The Suns visit Dragic’s former team and Lin’s new team, Houston, Tuesday night as a Western Conference doormat. Houston is playoff bound with a James Harden-led makeover. Felton plays for the hottest team, New York, with 12 consecutive wins, second place in the Eastern Conference and league-leading scorer Carmelo Anthony. Dragic is the common link — the reason that Lin is in Houston and Felton is in New York. When Houston’s negotiations broke off with Dragic, the Suns signed Dragic to a four-year, $30 million deal that is similar to Lin’s four-year, $28.8 million contract with the Rockets. Some Suns brass favored Felton, but Managing Partner Robert Sarver interceded to negotiate with Dragic in the US Airways Center parking garage while Eric Gordon was being wooed inside the building. Dragic has been the Suns’ ray of hope in one of their darker seasons. He improved, playing like an elite point guard after the All-Star break. He is popular and amiable with staffers and fans. Dragic thrived despite replacing a legend, Steve Nash, and working with a lacking, shuffling roster. The Suns would not have been any better with Felton, 28, and it possibly could have gone worse, considering Felton arrived out of shape last season in Portland, criticized the coach and was booed by fans. But Felton was on his way to Phoenix before the Suns canceled his visit once Sarver secured Dragic, 26. Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said there was consensus on Dragic, but that General Manager Lance Blanks liked Felton’s leadership — an important element in the wake of the departed Nash and Grant Hill.
Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic is team’s ray of hope
Arizona Republic | Apr 9