Arizona commit Aaron Gordon's explosiveness was on full display at the McDonald's All-America Game on Wednesday night.
The 6'8", 210-pound forward was named the MVP of the showcase, posting a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds and two steals while "shooting" 10-of-17 from the floor.
Of course, most of those "shots" were dunks in a game that rarely features a whole lot of defense. If Gordon is to maximize his potential, he can't just expect to dunk his way to the top.
Gordon, the No. 6 recruit in the 2013 class according to 247Sports.com, certainly has the athleticism to translate nicely to the college game and beyond. He boasted a variety of dunks during the All-America Game. But he does need to work on that jump shot, especially if he expects to excel in the NBA.
Gordon can play power forward at the college level right now, but he doesn't have the size to play at the 4 spot in the NBA, even if he fills out a little. That makes the development of his jump shot that much more important.
You can see it in Gordon's stroke from the perimeter. He's a bit mechanical in his shooting motion. Of course, he's still a young player and he has plenty of time to iron things out, but he must put in long hours to improve that part of his game.
With Gordon's athleticism, developing a jump shot could make him an extremely dangerous player, even more so than he already is. He already possesses the ability to be a point-forward, as well as the rebounding and shot-blocking skills to be a terror on the defensive side of the ball.
Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s director of basketball recruiting, said Gordon "dominates the game inside the arc," per the Tucson Citizen.
But Biancardi also noted:
He’s got to improve on his outside shooting.
Anything past the high post, he struggles with his jump shot. At the 3-point line, he has to work on the catch-and-shoot.
Again, Gordon still has plenty of room to grow on the court, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that he becomes a dependable outside shooter. But you always hope with these explosive young kids that they see the larger picture and not rely solely on their hops. It's been proven time and time again that simply having elite athleticism isn't enough to excel in the NBA, yet you still see plenty of kids who either don't get the big picture or don't want to put in the work needed to raise their games to another level.
At 17 years of age, Gordon has already displayed the potential to be a pro down the line. The best thing the California native can do now is spend extra time working on his perimeter shooting.
That can't be taught. It must come from within.