Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
2013-14 Stats (Per 40 Min): 16.6 Pts, 10.1 Reb, 1.5 Blk, 50% FG, 39% 3-PT, 45% FT
Immediate NBA Role: Starting power forward; rookie impact blend of Kenneth Faried, Kawhi Leonard and Blake Griffin
Arizona forward Aaron Gordon could eventually turn into an invaluable combo forward with elite versatility.
In the meantime, let's enjoy the first phase of his NBA career. He's going to terrorize opponents with his rebounding skills, open-court explosiveness and defensive proficiency.
Fans may delight in the above-the-rim exploits and supreme glasswork, but they shouldn't overlook his defense.
Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy called Gordon the best defender in college hoops, and he then proceeded to silence doubters regarding Gordon's transition to the NBA: "If you can’t look at Aaron Gordon, and see that he’s going to make your team better... you don't know basketball."
Gordon's collegiate stats aren't eye-popping because he's part of a well-balanced top-tier program. But if you're just looking at stats, you're missing the essence of Gordon's value. He moves well without the ball, is a willing passer within Arizona's system and plays alertly on defense.
Depending on who scoops him up, he could make a superb entrance into the league, averaging 12-15 points and 7-8 rebounds. Not bad for someone who's viewed as an upside pick.