Aaron Gordon, 22-year-old forward for the Orlando Magic, is currently having the best year of his young career.
His elastic length, improved handle, outside touch, and desire to win games has led to a breakout campaign to the tune of 18.6 points, 8.4 boards, 2.2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, on 52% shooting and 44% from deep.
After last nights’ explosion his PER is up to 21.5, but let’s take a look at what he’s worked on to get here…
In a league dominated by the true elite shooting teams in (Houston, GSW, and Boston are all in the top 5 of 3-pointers made) the new blueprint has been to find outside shooters at every position.
Orlando has catapulted up the list to 3rd in 3PM behind the two dynamos in the West. Improved shooting from Vucevic and Gordon their two front court players has everything to do with the spike in outside makes.
AG shot 36% from 3 in one year at Arizona but he struggled with his shot in his first 3 years in the Association shooting only 29% combined, failing to crack 30% in any single year.
According to Gordon, he put “as many hours as it took” this past offseason and is shooting like a man-possessed in the young 17/18 season making 2.3 threes at 44%.
Given his solid mechanics, there’s no reason to think he won’t keep this shooting up.
His first 3 years included trade rumors and no set role on the team which led to underwhelming production. Gordon was played at the 3 then at the 4 but was never really given a chance to excel. Orlando doesn’t entirely know how to develop players because Oladipo popped in his new role with the Pacers after struggling with the Magic.
As a senior in high school Gordon easily won player-of-the-year leading Archbishop Mitty to a state title game. He showed flashes of a shooting stroke but was ranked #4 in his class largely due to his athleticism, motor, and upside on the next level.
I had the pleasure of playing against him in high school and was equally impressed by his demeanor as I was by his athleticism. Gordon has a knack for setting up his teammates and I think he has a rare ability to be an elite orchestrator on offense with the ball in his hands.
Also, this year Gordon is averaging a career high in blocks(1.0) which is double his output from last year. He has all the tools to be a good on-ball defender, and his improved timing could see him develop into an equally scary rim protector.
Aaron has put on lean muscle over the last 5 years which has allowed him to hang in the paint with the more traditional big men…
Right now AG is 120th in the league in Usage at 21.2. That is SIXTH on the Magic alone behind Fournier, Vucevic, Simmons, Speights, and Payton. With two 40+ 12+ rebound outbursts already, he has shown why he should be number one on the pecking order in Orlando going forward.
Aaron Gordon has a chance to be one of the truly elite point-forwards of the future if the Magic don’t muck it up…