Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon may be limited when the team opens training camp on Tuesday after suffering a sprained ankle in a recent workout, according to Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan. The injury is not expected to keep him out of any preseason games, which get underway the following week.
Gordon is likely to have an increased role with the Magic in the 2016-2017 season as he is expected to open the season as the team’s staring small forward. He played in 78 of 82 games last season, starting in 37 of them. His production increased across the board over his rookie season. He tallied 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in just under 24 minutes of play.
The up-and-comer showcased his explosive athleticism in the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest as well, where he essentially matched eventual champion Zach LaVine all evening. That athleticism makes Gordon an intriguing player with the potential to impact the game in a variety of ways. In somewhat limited action in 2015-2016, Gordon averaged 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
After acquiring big man Serge Ibaka from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a draft-day trade, the Magic will likely move Gordon to small forward with Ibaka and Nikola Vucevic likely to both be in the starting lineup. As a small forward, Gordon will likely have to improve his outside shot for the Magic to space the floor. For his career, he is shooting under 30 percent from beyond the arc.
After acquiring role players Jeff Green and Bismack Biyombo in addition to Ibaka this offseason, the Magic seem to be ready to move on to the next stage of their rebuild and challenge for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.