Goran Dragic keeps making croquet wickets out of opponent’s legs.

His Monday night victim was his point guard mentor, Steve Nash. On a fast break, Dragic zipped a bounce pass that Nash tried to kick only to have it split his legs and find Jared Dudley for a layup.

Nash twice looked back and smiled at Dragic, who is providing smiles for Suns fans more than any player — and assists more than anyone in the league since the All-Star break.

Dragic has been the Suns’ leading scorer and playmaker all season, but he has maintained the same scoring pace (14.0 points per game before All-Star break and 14.3 after the break) while increasing his assists from a 6.3 pre-break average to 9.2 since the break.

In his first season of replacing Nash, Dragic is averaging more assists than Nash is for Los Angeles. Neither Nash nor Dragic has the type of offensive control Nash had in past years with the Suns. Dragic often plays off the ball, even as a point after initiating the offensive set, but also has run more two-man game since the break and is always at his best in transition.

“There’s not a lot of open space in the middle, but it doesn’t matter,” Dragic said. “You can get assists different ways — positioning, trying to push the ball and open up guys and getting inside the action, too.”

Dragic might be developing a reputation for late-season surges. It was last year that he came on with 26 starts after Kyle Lowry’s illness in Houston and averaged 18.0 points and 8.4 assists with 49 percent shooting as a starter. Dragic also had memorable postseason performances in 2010 for Phoenix.

This season, it is even more impressive considering that Dragic is playing his first full season as a starter and is holding up as an offensive leader and the head of the defense, where he has the most multi-steal games for a Suns guard since Penny Hardaway in 2001-02.

Dragic feels occasionally tired down the stretch, but his effort and his passion is never doubted.

“He’s just been really, really receptive to coaching and he’s really finding his teammates,” Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said. “He has a nose to get to the paint. It’s hard to stop him from getting to the paint. He draws so much attention. He’s doing an outstanding job of finding guys. His growth is really coming. It’s really good to see. With the type of fight he has in him, he’ll just keep getting better and better.”