Having endured one of the worst free-agency periods in recent memory, the Dallas Mavericks need to start building for the future.
That is where the NBA's 2012 Summer League comes in.
Drew Gordon is the definition of a raw talent—transferring to New Mexico after struggling to find his place on a talented UCLA roster.
At 6'9'' and 249 pounds, Gordon is a prototypical power forward. Unfortunately, Gordon lacks a refined post game, and that will hold him back as he enters the NBA.
He's an unpolished talent who will need serious time to develop into an NBA power forward.
What Gordon Brings to the Team
In addition to being one of the most purely athletic prospects, Gordon might have one of the most NBA-ready bodies of all 2012 draftees.
Gordon is ridiculously explosive around the rim, but he rarely finds himself there; up until now, he has focused more on his mid-range game than the low-post skills associated with a power forward.
In some respects, Gordon is a poor man's Blake Griffin.
He's about the same size and will bring a Blake-like athleticism to the court, but his weak post game means he won't be nearly as effective or efficient on the offensive side of the ball.
What Experts are Saying about Gordon
Experts are all on the same page when it comes to Gordon's raw potential.
His offensive skills need work—there's no doubt about that—but what makes him such a special talent has more to do with what he brings to other areas of the game.
Matt Kamalsky of Draft Express is reporting that Gordon's most valuable asset is the intensity and athleticism he brings to the court and on the glass.
"What allowed Gordon to stand out at the college level, and what is easily his best asset as a pro prospect, is his ability to make the most of his physical tools on the glass."
Gordon's Rookie Impact
As a rookie, Gordon will struggle to find a role; he will pretty much be a player who's sent into games once they are out of reach.
Will Drew Gordon make the Mavericks' roster to start the 2012-'13 season?
If Gordon can use the veteran talent around him to polish up his post game, he undoubtedly can work his way up the depth chart during his rookie year.
At worst, Gordon will be a player who makes his teammates better by outworking them during practice. With some time and the right coaching, Gordon will develop into a solid role player in the NBA. His rookie season will be full of growing pains, but he'll come out a better and more complete player.
Summer League Prediction
Gordon's elite explosiveness makes him the kind of backup who could energize the Mavericks bench during the 2012-13 season.
While I understand that some experts will argue that Gordon needs to develop a more well-rounded offensive game, I think he can impress on pure athletic ability alone.
If Gordon can show the Mavericks that he's increased his basketball I.Q. on both ends of the court, he could end up finding himself coming off the Mavericks bench to start the 2012-13 season.