Meet Eric Gordon, one of the most promising young players in the NBA from the past four seasons. Gordon, a natural shooting guard (who can play point guard in a pinch), made his name in the league as the starring (and starting) two-guard of the Los Angeles Clippers from 2008-2011, before a trade to the New Orleans Hornets just before the 2011-2012 season.
Gordon is known primarily as a shooter, and was known as such for several years before, dating all the way from high school in his native Indiana, to the crimson and cream of Indiana University, to his tenure in Los Angeles and New Orleans. With a career 3P% of .370 and an overall FG% of .452, Gordon has become one of the most efficient shooters currently stepping foot on the hardwood, but almost immediately since becoming a professional, Gordon has made his name as a devastating threat as a penetrator, making him one of the best scorers throughout the NBA.
A future All-Star in the making, Gordon’s distinguished by his triple-threat ability, skill versatility, offensive firepower, and size. For a guy that goes 6’3” and 222 lbs, one thinks of players like the former Charlotte Hornets backcourt, Baron Davis and David Wesley, both of whom were fairly formidable because of their powerful, muscular builds. Combined with their lower center of gravity, quickness, and shooting, that made them some of the most unusual and talented players of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Gordon is similar, but an improved version of the two. Posting up Gordon isn’t easy, and his wingspan is impressive enough that he ‘plays bigger’ than his height would suggest as a defender. The fact that Gordon is ‘only’ 6’3” and plays off the ball normally would present problems with his ability to guard and be guarded, but considering his immense talents, he can neither be guarded too closely, nor too far away.
A former point guard in high school (and sometimes at IU), Gordon’s ability to shoot, pass, and dribble always make his next move a guessing game, and as unselfish as he is, the Indiana native is even more treacherous to guard. His 18.2 PPG career average, combined with his efficiency, speaks for itself. If John Wall could shoot, he would probably look similar to Eric Gordon (albeit a couple of steps faster, which is no knock on Gordon, who also possesses fleet feet).
Posting a PER escalation from 15 to 18.5 to 19.2, Gordon has become more efficient each season. His shot selection is sound, his decision-making is playing off of the ball is high-level, and even while playing on the ball, he makes the right kinds of plays, and though he’s not often seen as such – a product of soft bigotry from his pudgy face, and stocky build and stance – Gordon compares somewhat close to Ray Allen as a shooter/scorer/playmaker. With the rate of progression that Gordon is taking (hoping he can fully recover from the knee injury he suffered soon after the trade to New Orleans), it’s likely that Gordon will become one of the best players of the current generation of the league.