Being one of the best dunkers in the NBA is just one of the things that make Aaron Gordon a must-see player. While he’s made improvements over the course of his two NBA seasons, it’s
Gordon’s third year that might catapult him into superstar status.
Already one of the most athletically gifted players in all of the league, Gordon is on the verge of something spectacular, and it’s about time the Orlando Magic let him get his hands dirty.
The Magic might have been slow to take the gloves off Gordon mostly due to an unfortunate injury he sustained his rookie year, severely delaying his growth as a player. He came back strong in year two, turning many heads in the process. Despite the overall statistics showing modest numbers, they are somewhat misleading.
Despite playing only 23 minutes per game, Gordon was still able to manage a phenomenal 9.2 points, and 6.5 rebounds his second season. What is most remarkable were his two offensive rebounds per game, putting him near the top of the NBA leader board.
Unfortunately for Gordon, former Magic coach Scott Skiles wasn’t the best talent evaluator, nor was he very good at setting his rotations. As a result, Gordon wasn’t given the court time he so rightfully deserved.
Of the 78 games Gordon played last season, only 37 of them saw him in the starting lineup. Again, that was Skiles using terrible rotations, but it also had to do with having a loaded roster. For a majority of the season, the Magic had to find minutes for Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and Evan Fournier. There simply wasn’t enough playing time to give Gordon.
During the trade deadline of 2016, the Orlando Magic traded Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons, creating a better opportunity for Gordon. He didn’t let that go to waste, scoring in double digits 16 times after Harris was dealt. It was the break that Gordon needed to showcase his ability.
As a new NBA season approaches, the Magic find themselves with a new coach in Frank Vogel, and without starting shooting guard, Victor Oladipo. Both of these factors will play a huge role in helping Gordon thrive in year three.
With Oladipo gone, Evan Fournier should slide into the shooting guard role, leaving Gordon as the main option at the small forward. It’s assumed that he will be an opening night starter for the Orlando Magic.
Also worth mentioning is how much better of a coach Frank Vogel will be for the career of Gordon. Look at what Vogel did with Paul George in Indiana, turning him into an All-Star rather quickly. Gordon and George both primarily play the small forward, Vogel can employ a lot of the same tactics on Gordon that he used with George.
While it’s not a sure bet that Aaron Gordon ever becomes as good as Paul George, you can expect a huge leap forward this season. It really wouldn’t be that surprising if Gordon made several All-Star team’s in his NBA career, and this is the perfect year to start.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288