Welcome to another installment of “Making the Leap,” a series in which I view certain players looking to improve on from the previous season. For previous links on past players mentioned in this series, click on the names below.
- Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs
- Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers
- Jae Crowder, Boston Celtics
- K.J. McDaniels, Houston Rockets
Right now I am going to be talking about Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic. If you were like me the night of the 2014 NBA draft you were kind of shocked that Gordon was selected 4th overall by Orlando. Not necessarily because of his talents but more that the Magic were already log jammed with power forwards. He did however receive playing time on a young Magic roster until a fractured foot sidelined him in the middle of his rookie year.
Aaron Gordon’s 2014-2015 final season averages: 5.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 steals & 0.5 blocks in 17.0 minutes per game. Played in 47 games (started 8).
This past summer league he made a huge impression averaging 21.7 points & 11.7 rebounds per game earning MVP honors in the Orlando Summer League. Not only did he show off his athletic ability but also showed he can shoot the three nicely.
Now we look at his sophomore year in the NBA. Unlike the previous players mentioned in this series, Gordon has the better opportunity here because of the amount of play time he’ll receive early on. As of right now I do expect him to be the main backup behind veteran Channing Frye. Frye is a good locker room guy and Gordon could definitely learn from him on how to be a great stretch pick and pop four. Frye did however struggle at parts of the season and we could see Gordon getting the nod starting a couple of games if we see the same thing happen again with Frye. Here is something that would not shock me at all. If Gordon develops nicely we could also see Channing Frye be moved around or right before the trade deadline, but that is another story for another day.
You saw in the video before that he has improved since last year. Last season we really only saw him dunk, catch alley oops and drive the lane. Now this past summer league we see that he also can create his own shot and shoot the three. Still really young in his career (will turn 20 September 16th) Gordon has a lot of upside and if he shows it early and can stay healthy, the Magic might have a great stretch four on their roster. He could be another addition in their nice young core with Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris & Nikola Vuecivc .