With the draft about a month away, our eyes are focused on the NBA Draft and everything that involves it, which is mostly the players of course. Let’s take a look at Aaron Gordon, the freshman from Arizona, and see if he will fall to the 76ers…
Two words that can be used to describe Aaron Gordon are raw and athletic. But, what else would someone expect from a kid that’s still 18 years young? Really, how developed were any of us at 18 years old, in any facet of life?
Tale of the tape
- Averaged 12.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.0 blocks per game at Arizona.
- Field goal percentage was 49.5 percent, 35.6 percent from deep (1.2 attempts per game), and 42.2 percent from the line.
- Measured at 6-foot-8.75 with a wingspan of 6-foot-11.75. Standing reach of 8-foot-9 with 5.1 percent body fat.
- Max vertical was recorded at 39.0
- Weights in at 220 lbs.
- Will be a power forward at the next level.
Starting off, one of Gordon’s greatest strength is his age. Gordon isn’t turning 19 until September. While that also means he’s extremely raw, he’s going to have a long lasting career and still be at a young age. Ten years in to the league and Gordon will still be under 30 years old. He has time to develop and work on facets of his game that aren’t up to par with others. When you take a prospect that is 21 or 22 years old, they won’t have the same amount of time to develop as someone that’s as young as Gordon. Just something to take into consideration.
Gordon’s greatest strength is his athleticism. Whenever he gets near the rim, he just wants to throw the ball through the hoop. He has a toughness to the game and will never be going up soft at the rim, the exact opposite of Spencer Hawes. His elite athleticism makes him a threat in transition for some insane alley oop finishes. Transition accounted for 18.2 percent of Aaron Gordon’s offense last season, per DraftExpress. The 76ers didn’t have anyone that was capable of that last season. Adding the athleticism of Gordon to the lineup would add another component to their offense that was missing last season.
His athleticism also makes him a danger in the P-n-R game. Coming off the screen, Gordon can roll to the hoop and wait for the lob from Michael Carter-Williams. If Gordon lands on the 76ers, expect this to be a frequent occurrence.
Another one of his strengths is his ability to play elite defense as soon as he comes to the NBA. Next to his athleticism, Gordon’s defense is his most attractive trait. According to DraftExpress.com, Gordon only averages 2.3 fouls per-40 minutes. Gordon is excellent at playing defense without fouling. With his height and weight, Gordon has the ability to defend in the post, but also has amazing footwork that can allow him to keep up with guards. His great feet also give him the ability to shutdown guards from penetrating on the perimeter. Gordon does a great job of staying straight up when playing defense, to avoid fouling. He’s the closest thing to a lock down defender in this draft, which is something the Sixers sorely need. Adding Gordon’s defense with Nerlens Noel at the rim would be a great foundation for a championship level defense. I can just imagine these two swatting shots out of the Wells Fargo Center nightly.
Gordon is also a very capable ball handler, especially in transition. He has the ability to grab a defensive rebound and take it all the way to the other end for the finish, which is an excellent trait. He’s not like Thaddeus Young who often looks confused trying to dribble the ball in transition. Gordon looks fluid and solid when coming down the court. Adding another ball handler at his size for the 76ers would be amazing.
There isn’t much of a jump shot there for Gordon right now, but this isn’t necessarily a negative. How many of you get annoyed and frustrated when seeing Chris Bosh standing on the perimeter all game and refusing to go in the post? Even though Gordon can’t shoot like Bosh, he won’t try too. He’ll take his man into the post and try to get to the rim. One of the hardest things to watch is 6-foot-10 power forwards shooting on the perimeter. Gordon won’t have this problem, he’ll be at the rim.
In short, the kid is a hell of an athlete. He can defend almost every position on the floor, his motor is off the charts. He can pass from the post and finish at the rim with the best.
The biggest glaring weakness about Gordon is his limited offensive game. There’s no jump shot there and he’s very limited in the post, but most big men are these days. Per DraftExpress, Gordon only scored 0.55 PPP on the block, which isn’t good. Gordon converted on 42.2 percent of his free throws, which even makes Andre Iguodala look like Ray Allen at the free throw line. Seriously, 42.4 percent is god awful. While he’s a terror in transition and can sky to the rim, where does he fit in the half court offense? He can’t post up, he can’t make open jumpers and he isn’t stretching anyone out to the three point line.
While he’s a great athlete and can throw down with the best of them, Gordon lacks a deft touch at the rim. Sometimes when he’s trying to complete a post move or floater, it looks like he’s throwing the ball of the backboard. There’s no soft touch there, which causes a lot of his shots near the rim to fly off the rim.
There’s just nothing natural about his jumper or most of his offensive game, which is the main concern. That’s why DraftExpress has Gordon slipping to the 76ers at No. 10 in their latest mock.
The kid is an athlete, but his length is average for his position. This hurts Gordon, because he loses out on a lot of defensive rebounds due to his length. He’s a very competent offensive rebounder, but the defensive side is another problem. With Gordon being so lethal in transition, one would hope that he can become a better rebounder on the defensive end.
All in all, at No. 10, this is a steal. He can come in from day one and impact the defensive side of the ball and create some highlight reels with his athleticism. His offense game is a problem, but if he’s paired with Jabari Parker then he won’t be leaned on to score. Pairing Gordon with Noel would make a great defensive front court.
Scouts have really been down on him lately, mainly because of his lack of an offensive game. What is his ceiling without any jumper or post moves? That’s a great question. It would be in the 76ers best interest if he keeps falling, because this is great value at No. 10. Gordon was discussed as one of the better players in this draft class during the beginning of the season. He’s worth taking a risk on.
Do you think the 76ers should select Aaron Gordon if he’s there at No. 10?