When a rookie comes into the league, a veteran on the team takes the young talent under their wing to assist in adjusting to NBA play both on and off the hardwood. Sean Marks says he was Charles Oakley’s rookie and the two still talk.
It was that kind of relationship, stemming back to 2008, was the driving force that landed Goran Dragic in Brooklyn, as Marks told season ticket-holders Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
“I really should be asking Steve what his vision is because I have to give full credit to Steve on this one, without a doubt,” said Sean Marks when asked about Dragic’s role during his reMARKS conversation. “We were with Goran in Miami over the weekend and spent some brief time with him. It was really intriguing to me to see the relationship that Goran and Steve have. The respect they have for one another and really the respect Goran had for Steve for many, many years ago. The fact that he was his vet and rookie, that’s a unique relationship there.”
After spending four seasons overseas to begin his professional basketball career, Dragic was drafted No. 45 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft and had his draft rights dealt to the Phoenix Suns. Following a buyout agreement with Dragic’s club overseas, he came to the Suns and was placed under Steve Nash’s wing. That was the beginning of a 190-game tenure between the two guards that spanned four and a half seasons together in Phoenix. Nearly a decade later, that relationship landed the 35-year-old guard to the championship-contending Nets.
During that weekend meeting in Miami, Marks explained how he took a backseat, listening to the stories Nash and Dragic told each other. Down that he’s signed, the Nets GM sees a battle-tested veteran guard with the same expectations he, Nash and his new teammates have.
“To watch those two tell stories together, it was certainly refreshing for me to sit back and almost just envision the things to come,” Marks added. “Steve has another ally on the court there. We know what Goran can do; he’s tried, true and tested, and a fierce competitor. The meeting was very clear why he wants to be here, and that’s a championship. That’s it.”
Dragic, who hasn’t played since November, will likely undergo a ramp-up process to get back in game shape before making his Nets debut. The Nets GM did not discuss a possible timetable but said he believes Dragic’s far-stretched relationship with Nash will help smooth the adjustment.
“Goran has a little cheat sheet. He’s already been there and knows the relationship and the respect level between the two,” the Nets general manager said. “And just having a high IQ player out there on the court alongside the guys we already have will certainly speed up that learning process, that learning curve for all our new guys because that takes time with any organization adding new pieces in.”