Suns point guard Goran Dragic is getting an extra dose of competition, conditioning and, perhaps most importantly, leadership as he and the Slovenian national team prepare for Eurobasket 2013.
For those who aren’t familiar with Eurobasket, think of it this way: it’s soccer fan fever transferred to the hardcourt, where it’s nation vs. nation rather than club vs. club. The two-week tournament will be well worth following come mid-September, when the real games start.
For now, most of the Eurobasket teams are participating in “friendlies”, exhibitions that serve as tune-ups heading into the real deal. As a standout NBA player, Dragic is already being billed as one of the marquee players of the field.
The Suns’ leading scorer lived up to that billing over the weekend, hitting a game-winning shot in a sequence that has become familiar to Suns fans: a twisting, contorting layup that leaves the defense leaning one way while leaving Dragic with a sufficient opening for a contorting layup, which he sank with 2.5 seconds left over Turkey.
Don’t forget, Turkey, not Spain, was the world’s heaviest punch against Team USA back in the 2010 World Championships. Dragic’s crunch-time chops showed up against a quality opponent, an experience that should only help Phoenix in the upcoming season.