NBA Draft: Aaron Gordon - Lakers, Celtics, or Kings?

One of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft, Aaron Gordon could go anywhere from number 6 to number 10 in this year’s draft.

One of the three premier power forwards available in this year’s draft, Aaron Gordon is an intriguing prospect for teams such as the Celtics, the Lakers and the Sacramento Kings.

Playing at Arizona this year, Gordon showed that while his game has a lot of promise, there are some areas that he’ll need to address if he wants to be a star in the NBA, something he has the potential to do.

Gordon’s biggest asset is his tremendous athleticism. At this year’s NBA Combine Gordon put up some seriously impressive numbers.

His shuttle run, a measure of agility and ability to change direction, was the fastest of any prospect at the combine, while his lane agility time, a measure of agility and lateral quickness, was the 7th fastest out of all prospects and the fastest out of all forwards and centers. His 32.5” standing vertical leap and 39” maximum vertical leap were also both top 15 marks.

Gordon’s physical ability combines with his excellent basketball IQ to make him one of the best defenders in the draft, if not the best. His lateral quickness and large frame means he can step out to the perimeter and play effective defence on guards, while he’s also displayed superb instincts and strength defending the low-post.

On top of all this, Gordon has a fantastic engine. He’s proved that he’ll work throughout a whole game, making those dirty hustle plays that some players shy away from.

This shows in his rebounding ability as Gordon pulled down 8.0 boards per game at Arizona, including an impressive 2.7 offensive rebounds per game. His physical gifts, talent as a defender and willingness to work hard for his team will mostly keep in the top 10 of the draft, though there are some areas of his game that will concern scouts.

Gordon’s offensive game is pretty far off where it needs to be if he’s to excel an NBA level. He currently has difficulty creating his own shot off the dribble or in the post.

While his 12.4 points per game this year suggest that Gordon doesn’t have to much trouble scoring, these were mostly the products of intelligent cuts, dump passes and offensive put backs.

Part of the problem is Gordon’s awkward shooting stroke. He jump shot has some funny mechanics and a slightly jerky release. This showed in his poor free-throw percentage of 42.2%, though his 35.6% from the three-point line suggests that Gordon has the potential to knock down shots, especially with some adjustments to his jumper.

Where Gordon lands in the draft will mostly depend what the teams in need of a power forward think about Noah Vonleh and Julius Randle.

Vonleh has been widely projected to go at the number 5 spot, belonging to the Utah Jazz. At 6 the Celtics are in need of a power forward meaning that Gordon could go possibly go here, however if if they draft Randle instead there’s chance the Lakers pass on him, taking combo guard Marcus Smart.

Sacramento recently acquired Derrick Williams from Minnesota, a player who has a similar type of game to Gordon, something that could lead to Gordon slipping to the Charlotte Hornets at 9.

It seems unlikely that Gordon will slip any further than this as Charlotte could do with some more front court pieces to partner with Al Jefferson and Gordon fits their new defensively orientated mind set nicely.

If, for some reason, the Hornets decide to pass on Gordon, he’s more than a perfect fit for the 76ers new run and gun, hyper athletic rebuild, especially should they choose to trade Thad Young in an attempt to move up the board.

No matter where he ends up, expect him to impact on the defensive end immediately as well as producing some highlight reel dunks, but he’ll need some time before we should expect him to put up double figures every night.