Aaron Gordon from the University of Arizona, has had a lot of people be very critical of his game. On Thursday night, when Gordon hears his name called during the NBA Draft, he is hoping that he can erase all the doubts that people have about him.
One of the most critical aspects of Gordon’s game, is his shooting. Gordon actually isn’t a terrible shooter, he actually shot a pretty decent percentage from outside the paint. However, his offensive game outside the paint is really limited to a set jump shot. There are aspects to his offensive game that he will need to improve on, and he knows that.
The other real critical part of his game is his free throw shooting. Gordon shot only 42.2% from the charity stripe during his one year at Arizona. People are being very critical of that stat, however, when you look at his average, it doesn’t seem quite as bad as the percentage indicates. Gordon only averaged 4.7 free throw attempts per game, and averaged 2.0 makes per game. If you look at his game log from college, he actually had quite a few games where he shot the ball very well from the free throw line.
People seem to think that all Gordon will be able to do in the NBA is dunk. However, while in college, he shot 35.6% from the three point line. Like the free throw shooting, this is a small sample size as Gordon only averaged 1.2 three point attempts per game during the year. However, there seems to be some aspects of his game that can show some promise, even considering the scrutiny that most people put on them.
Gordon does some things though that other people can’t do. One NBA Scout had this to say about Gordon ahead of the NBA Draft.
I think he’s Shawn Marion
Here’s why I like Gordon, and it’s rare for me (my teams have always been about shooting; you need it to win). It’s simple: Gordon impacts the game without being a shooter. It’s hard to do that. He knows 100 percent what he is. Jabari Parker will take a million bad shots; Gordon already knows he can’t take them.
In the NBA he will guard 1 through 4. He rebounds, disrupts the glass. Not as great with the defensive rebounds as he is on the offensive glass. He can dribble and pass. On defense, he gives you deflections. He dives on the floor, makes winning plays. He only cares about winning. He can switch everywhere on defense; there is a lot of value in that.
The draft class this year seems to be very deep. After the top picks of Parker and Andrew Wiggins, really anything is possible on who could go where. The Utah Jazz are picking fifth, and they have been rumored to liking quite a few different players at that position. Along with Gordon, they seem to like Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, and Dante Exum. All of those players could possibly be a great player in the future.
As mentioned before, there has been a lot of criticism about how poor Aaron Gordon’s offensive game is. However, his athleticism and explosiveness, as well as his leaping ability, makes him someone that could be great in the pick and roll. Jazz point guard Trey Burke is one of the best young point guards in the NBA at running the pick and roll, and adding Gordon to that tandem could be an unstoppable force in a few years.
Trey was rumored to having a game similar to Chris Paul before entering the draft. Mainly due to his size and quickness. A lot of people have compared Gordon’s game to Blake Griffin. If those two can both live up to that hype, the Jazz could have their own version of “lob city”.
The criticism will always be there until Gordon shows some improvement in his jump shot and free throw shooting. However, when he gets onto a team, and a great shooting coach can get a hold of him, it could be no time at all before you see improvement in his game. If the Jazz see guys like Vonleh and Exum go ahead of them in the draft, Gordon should be at the top of their board, in my opinion. However, even if Vonleh was still on the board with Gordon when the Jazz pick, I would still prefer Gordon more.
Gordon will be a star in this league in no time at all. If the Jazz decide to pass on him, they better make sure they don’t regret the decision.