The NBA is celebrating the first-ever Filipino Heritage Week and Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (swollen eye and all!) joined a few members of Philippine media on Tuesday night to talk on a wide range of topics.
In an exclusive Cisco video conference, the Dragon opened up on playing without Dwyane Wade, the Heat culture, and more.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
The Heat’s winning streak:
We finally developed that chemistry that we need. At the start of the season it was really tough – lot of injuries, the players were in and out. We had the most different starting lineups in the NBA. We finally got bodies back. Finally we clicked as a team. We’re playing amazing right now.
Not running out of gas towards the Playoffs:
We have a lot of players who can step in. There’s a lot of players who can contribute. For us, every game counts. It’s really important that we come in every day and put in thee work. That’s gonna be the key for our success – as long as we prepare, we’re gonna be fine. And of course, no injuries.
On team chemistry:
I think it’s important to have that team chemistry. Not only on the floor when you’re playing with your teammates, but off the court. Most of the time when we’re away in different cities, we go to dinners, we go to movies. That’s how you get closer with your teammates and that’s how you develop chemistry. I feel like that’s really important thing – to get to know the guy who is next to you, who’s playing beside you not as a player, but as a human being too.
On playing without Dwyane Wade and putting up career numbers:
It was really different and tough to go to this season without D-Wade. And CB [Chris Bosh] was hurt.
When D-Wade was here, I had great chemistry with him. Now the important thing for me, why I’m putting up these kinds of numbers is not because D-Wade is gone, but because I’m in the best shape of my life. I really worked hard this offseason.
The NBA celebrating Filipino Heritage Week:
I think that’s awesome to have fans all over the world. I heard in the Philippines that basketball is the number one sport. So I’m really happy for that.
I’ve never been there but hopefully in the future I can find some time. I would love to visit.
Getting along with Dion Waiters:
Everybody knows I’m from Europe and I have really thick accent. But he’s from Philadelphia, from the United States and when he speaks, nobody understands him. It’s kind of funny, he’s from the States and I’m from Europe people understand me more than him. That’s just a funny thing. We joke around a lot in the locker room.
On Coach Erik Spoelstra:
Coach Spo is an unbelievable coach. If I can say something now, I would love for him to win Coach of the Year. I think he deserves that. He never uses excuses. We had a lot of injuries in the beginning of the season. He would always come in and put is in the right position. The main thing with him is “keep positive, keep working hard, things are gonna turn around.” He has the ability to talk to different players. Not every player is the same. You can see what he’s done with the team.
Photo c/o the Miami Heat’s Facebook page