We've got a really candid interview that Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic gave to a Slovenian sport magazine Ekipa on this site: Ekipa+Goran. By clicking the link, you can more answers on topics like national team, Eurobasket and his brother (who has surprised, good season so far in Spain). Enjoy.
Here is Goran on the Suns.
Now, when you have a son, are you more tired in practice or games? To what extent has changed your daily routine?
Goran Dragic: Mateo has now a priority. I'm not in the foreground, the spotlight is on him. That has changed. I do not think a lot about myself, but just about him. I have to say that I'm not tired, because here is also Maja's mother. When I have game next day, I sleep in another room, so that I get eight hours of sleep and I am sufficiently rested for the game. When we have a day off, I'm always with Mateo and I have to admit, It is tiresome. (laughs) But, it's nothing serious.
Do you also change Mateo's diapers?
GD: Of course, this is already routine. I lay him on his back, remove diaper, give his feet up, wipe his ass, and put a new diaper. I was already peed on a few times, when I removed the diaper. (laughs)
How do you get along with a new coach Jeff Hornacek?
GD: Super. He is a great coach, but also a great person. He is not only our coach, but also a friend. This helps a lot to the whole team. If you need help, you can talk to him and he will be the first to help you.
A lot has been said about you and Eric Bledsoe. How did you perceive the whole story of his arrival and thus also of his status in the team? Did you feel threatened?
GD: I did not feel threatened. Of course, you are looking a bit differently about the whole thing if you get into the competition. But I was even more self-confident, and I even more "chew" on training. Many people say that competition is healthy, and I agree with that. I'm not afraid of anybody, I'll always give my best, and if I don't succeed, I can't do anything more.
Was really one of the options a trade? How did you experience these rumors?
GD: When it started to talk about Bledsoe arrival, I and my agent requested a meeting with owner Robert Sarver and GM Ryan McDonough. We talked frankly. I wanted to know whether I will be replaced or not. They confirmed that Bledsoe will come, but that they don't have plans for my departure and that I'm not at risk. Already then they said, that most of the time we'll play together. When the Bledsoe trade came about, I already knew where I stand, but of course, you never can be one hundred percent sure, if this is how it will be. Also the media spread the rumor that I might have to go away.
How is the chemistry between you and Bledsoe on the floor? You seem to be very awkward duo for the opponents.
GD: Very well. It's true that I had to sacrifice a little at my primary position, since I play more at 2 now. The coach wants me to score. It's already evident that I have a smaller average assists, because most of the time I play without the ball in my hands. But it doesn't matter, it's good that I submit to the team, doing what coach wants me to do. We're really very unfavorable, because we both can play with the ball in hand. If Bledsoe plays pick'n'roll on one side, and I get the ball on the other, I can immediately repeat pick'n'roll play there, so it's hard to stop us.
Were you also surprised because of the good start in the NBA season? Basketball experts predicted quite different results.
Yes, no one expected anything like this. But we have a really great team players and we support each other. We play together. The joy and chemistry, that we have, deliver results. We have a young team, everyone is fighting 48 minutes, we don't temper, that's why we are so good.
Will you be able to get to the playoffs?
I think we will. The atmosphere is really great, we can still fix a lot of things. In many games we already beaten good teams: Houston, Golden State, twice Portland. These are all teams that will be in the playoffs, so surely we have the quality that we get there.
Before the season was a lot of predictions that Phoenix suns will tank this season in order to have a better choice in the 2014 draft. Is the front office unhappy because of the good results? Did you surprise them?
I think we did. We know that the next draft will be strong. At the beginning, when everybody said that we will get maybe one game more than ten, probably also the front office had the same impressions. But in the end I think it will not be so. But front office will not be unhappy, on the contrary, we will all be happy.
Who are your main favorites this season? Still Miami?
Indiana is very good, this year they have gone one notch higher, so I would put them next to Miami. You must never write off the 'old men' from San Antonio (laughs), which are really very experienced. There is also a few teams that will be fighting for the title, so that it is difficult to predict now. West is much stronger and it is very difficult, Eastern Conference is on the contrary ridiculous, since the third team Atlanta is at 13-12, all other teams are below 50 percent.
You are the candidate for the basketball player of the year in Europe and for the appearance on the All- Star game in the NBA. Do this recognitions mean anything to you and which of the two would you value more ?
They mean a lot to me, namely because they give me confirmation that I'm moving forward. Already that I am a selected in the group of nominees, tells me that I'm on the right track. Of course you would like to be chosen, but I know it will be very difficult. Basketball player of the year award is already reserved for Tony Parker, who has been in the NBA Finals, won the title of European champion, plays well, so here we already know that he will win. On All-Star game is very hard to get there. I think it's a bit unfair because people vote - I have better statistics than some players who will play there. For example, Jeremy Lin has more votes than Kevin Durant, which is ridiculous. For me the most important thing is that I'm playing well. The wish is present, but even if it does not happen, it will not hurt.
Did Hornacek complain when you hurt before the season, saying if you had not spent all summer at Eurobasket, this would not happen?
They are not angry on me, but they really said that these injuries probably occurred because I had so many matches in the summer and my body was tired. I still think that this is not the reason, because I've had problems with sports shoes. Twice I sprained my ankle because of them, because they were not comfortable enough or did not suited on my foot. As soon as I changed them, I didn't have any problem more. That 13 stitches blow I got could happen anywhere, anytime.
But otherwise, did you have any problems after the European Championship, did you feel tired?
I did. When I arrived in the United States, I immediately went to the training camp, but I had time-zone adjustment problems. The coach was very understanding and wanted that I rest first, so that I will be ready for the start of the season. Throughout training camp I more or less sat on the side and worked only in the gym.