Goran Dragic insists it’s just another game.
Having the Los Angeles Lakers in town Wednesday night means no more or no less than the previous 45 times he’s led the Suns against an opponent this season.
“For me, it’s not going to be different,” Dragic said Tuesday after practice. “Probably it’s going to be a lot different for him because he’s coming back.”
Oh yeah, Steve Nash is returning.
The former face of the franchise will make his first visit back to the Valley since the Suns agreed to send their two-time MVP to rival L.A. in a sign-and-trade deal in the offseason.
What was once Nash’s team is now Dragic’s team.
“I know Steve well,” Dragic, acquired as Nash’s heir apparent in a draft-day trade in 2008, said. “He’s one of the best point guards in the league. We know what he’s capable of doing. It’s going to be a touch matchup.”
Dragic has handled himself well in the spot his mentor had occupied the past eight seasons.
Dragic is leading the Suns in scoring (14.2), assists (6.3) and steals (1.4). In addition, he’s become a much more vocal leader on and off the court.
Dragic and Nash were teammates for two-and-a-half years before a 2011 trade moved the Slovenian guard to Houston.
“I always going to remember when I was guarding him in practice,” Dragic said. “It was really hard.”
The lessons the now five-year veteran learned about the game and about life are what Dragic remembers most about their time together.
“How to play pick-and-roll,” he said. “Just try to be professional. How to eat properly. How to practice.”
The two remain close though Dragic said they haven’t spoken in a couple of months.
“He’s got his own problems (with the Lakers),” he said. “I’ve got my own problems with the team. It was just not a good moment to talk.”
They will Wednesday.