NBA Draft: Re-drafting the 2014 NBA Draft’s first round

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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Aaron Gordon
Aaron Gordon (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

2014 NBA Redraft: 7. Aaron Gordon, Los Angeles Lakers

Coming out of the University of Arizona, Aaron Gordon was a bouncy forward with good strength, but he didn’t really possess many tangible skills. The foundation of his game was built on both energy and effort as a superb athlete, but he’d have to work hard to develop other parts of his game in order to improve.

Since that time, Gordon has still produced a number of high-flying jams, highlighted by a historic showing in the 2016 Dunk Contest up in Toronto. He’s also refined his offensive toolbox with a continuously improving outside jumper at 34.9 percent and respectable handles for a guy his size at 6’9”.

In a basketball era emphasizing versatility at the defensive end, Gordon’s physique has helped him mightily at that end of the floor. At roughly 220 pounds, he can battle in the paint while his foot speed and athleticism allow him to remain competitive with guys on the perimeter.

The Orlando Magic were a team ranked eighth in defensive rating this past season in part due to Gordon’s ability to cover ground and switch pick-and-rolls. Opponents shot a respectable 45.6 percent against him during the regular season including below 40.0 percent from 5-14 feet from the basket.

For as productive as Gordon’s been in his five years in the league, he’s barely scratched the surface of his full potential. He averaged a career-best 3.7 assists per game this season. He drew comparisons to Blake Griffin coming out of college. Like BG, a shift to more of a point-forward role could open up a whole new facet to an already expanding game.