The top player on the west coast this season was supposed to be a freshman at Arizona. The Wildcats have had a splendid year to date and are the outright Pac-12 champions, but forward Aaron Gordon has not played up to the hype he received coming into this season.
Don’t take this as me bashing Gordon, the hype was well deserved for the 6 foot 9, 225-pounder out of San Jose. Gordon is an absolute freak athletically and was able to get away with doing whatever he wanted at the high school level. His highlight reel was probably the best out of all the current college freshman.
Gordon is averaging a solid 12 points and almost eight rebounds a game, but hasn’t wowed like many expected. He was promised to play the small forward position this season by Sean Miller and mostly has. The problem with that is Gordon hasn’t shown he can really shoot the ball from deep.
When he gets into the paint, Gordon is a monster. He can elevate and dunk over the defender, or simply lay it in as he is a solid finisher. He has phenomenal body control that allows him to use his great length and 40 plus vertical in traffic to score.
Another great attribute Gordon has is his ball handling. For a small forward at the next level to truly succeed, they must be able to get up and down the floor with the dribble, and he can do that.
While he has played mostly the three at Arizona, Gordon is a dreaded tweener. He does possess solid post moves, but would he be able to bang in the paint for 82 games a season?
It seems as if he wants to play the small forward position at the next level, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all…but he has quite a bit to work on.
He truly struggles outside of the paint to make a shoot. Shooting almost 44 percent from the free-throw line is a glaring weakness for someone who goes there about five times a night. This is definitely the first thing he needs to work on to be a successful pro. If he can improve the stroke, the next thing to work on would be his foot speed.
While he isn’t necessarily slow by any means, he isn’t someone you want guarding a quick small forward. He doesn’t get by opponents at the next level and this will continue to hurt him since the defense can slouch off him and dare him to shoot.
Coming into the season Gordon was thought of as a top 10 pick, but GM’s don’t see him as that anymore. He would be more of a project type pick and at the current time wouldn’t be a smart pick for the Lakers.
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