There was a point in time when Eric Gordon seemed destined to be a tremendous NBA player. Possibly even one of the top players in the league. That’s not to say he’s horrible now, because he isn’t, yet the New Orleans Pelicans’ guard hasn’t exactly evolved from being a guy who is going to get his to the type of player who is going to help a team win games.
Honestly, it wasn’t that long ago when Gordon averaged over 20 points a game while shooting over 45 percent from the floor. In fact, from his rookie season in 2008 until an injury cut his season short in the 2011-12 campaign, Gordon averaged over 18 points per game and had an effective field goal percentage over 50 percent. His potential, as well as his abilities on the offensive end, made it seem like he was predetermined to do great things.
Then, well, stuff happened. Gordon has regressed in every season since 2012. While his points per game have fluctuated — with his high being 17 per game in 2012 (only shot 40 percent from the field that season), while always floating around 16 — his efficiency has dropped as if he were a stock on Wall Street when the bubble burst a few years ago.
This season has been his absolute worst. Despite averaging 16 a game, Eric Gordon is shooting under 39 percent from the floor, as well as below 34 percent from three. Those aren’t good numbers for any player in the NBA, much less a guy New Orleans expected to be a number-two type star of their franchise.
One would have assumed that the addition of Anthony Davis, as well as his meteoric development into becoming a star, would have made it easier for Gordon. Alas, while the floor has become a tad bit more naturally spread thanks to the Eyebrow’s presence, Gordon’s inability to capitalize has been jarring.
The numbers suggest he is toast. That said, this season’s sample size isn’t exactly large enough to declare his career dead for good. But if we want to be honest about it, ignoring the fact he hasn’t shot over 44 percent from the field since 2011, which lends more evidence to the theory of his demise, would be counterproductive.
It’s not that Gordon has been afraid to try, either. Through 19 games this season, he is averaging over seven three-point attempts per game. Unfortunately for he and the Pelicans, as mentioned earlier, he is only hitting on 2.5 of those seven attempts, which means he either needs to stop taking those shots, or he is in some massive funk that’s nearly four years running.
The most unfortunate part of all of this is that many of this can be explained away because of Gordon’s history of injuries. As odd as it sounds, it would be much easier to swallow thinking Gordon is struggling simply because he isn’t good anymore, but the seven-year-vet is only 26-years old.
That’s young. Not even old in NBA terms. It is crushing—for him and basketball fans—to think the best version of Eric Gordon was robbed from the sport because of things outside his control.
Regardless, New Orleans now find themselves at an impasse. Despite still being young, Gordon’s numbers suggest he is on the wrong side of the peak of his career. With the season being a general disaster, which in no way is the sole fault of Eric Gordon, the roster needs a major overhaul.
Would they consider moving on from Gordon despite his still being productive? At the same time, though, is his productivity actually meaningful or does the inefficient ways he has been getting buckets lend more credence to the idea that his career as a true player of consequence is over?
I hope I am wrong. Gordon still occasionally shows full flashes of the brilliance which made his departure from Los Angeles to his arrival New Orleans seem like such a huge deal at the time. In the playoffs last year, his lone trip to the postseason, Gordon averaged over 18 points and shot the ball decently, as 44 shooting from the floor isn’t gnarly, but his 40 percent from distance was solid.
No matter. Not anymore. Whatever Eric Gordon is now is probably what he’ll be for awhile — until his body continues to fail him as years’ worth of injuries and surgery tend not to make a player hold up better as they age. It will be up to New Orleans, however, to be the ones to determine just how done they think he is. And, who knows, maybe he isn’t.
Here’s to what we once thought would be, but never fully was… because life can be fickle and stuff. Let’s simply hope “Good Fortune” owes him one, and let’s let Eric Gordon be whatever he was intended to be before everything went south. I mean, he is only 26.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. All this what-if and what-will-be and is-it-over talk has me down.