Magic coach says Aaron Gordon has to improve defense, rebounding to become All-Star

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Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon re-signed with the Orlando Magic this offseason on a four-year deal worth $84 million and new Magic coach Steve Clifford is high on Gordon’s potential.

In 58 games last season, Aaron Gordon averaged 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Magic had the second worst record in the Eastern Conference at 25-57. They hired Clifford to replace Frank Vogel.

In an interview with John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, Clifford, who coached the Charlotte Hornets for the previous five seasons, said he’s talked with Gordon this summer about becoming a better defender and rebounder.

“I think, as much as everything, he’s made a jump every year offensively,” Clifford said. “Now, it’s about purpose of play on the offensive end. He can put up similar numbers or even better with increased efficiency. But to me, the biggest things that I have been talking to him about are his defense and rebounding.

“This league is so much about having two-way players and I told him that if he wants to be considered an all-star level player you are going to impress more coaches and basketball people by becoming the defender that you can be. If he’s first or second-team All-Defense with 19 (points) and 9 (rebounds), he’s going to become an all-star. To me, that’s where it all starts for him. He’s a capable guy and that’s been my message to him every time that we’ve talked.”

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