Aaron Gordon Drafted by Orlando Magic: Latest News, Reaction and Analysis

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2014

Arizona forward Aaron Gordon reacts after scoring a basket while playing Gonzaga during the first half of a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
Denis Poroy/Associated Press

After a terrific freshman campaign with the Arizona Wildcats, forward Aaron Gordon is headed to the Orlando Magic, who selected Gordon with the fourth pick in the 2014 NBA draft.  

Gordon posted per-game averages of 12.4 points, eight rebounds, one block, two assists and 0.9 steals in his one season as a Wildcat, shooting 49.5 percent from the field. Despite these solid numbers, he shot an abysmal 42.2 percent from the free-throw line, which is something he will clearly need to improve upon in the NBA. 

Only 18 years old, Gordon believes he will improve in the professional ranks, via Matt Norlander of CBS Sports: “I’m really going to flourish. I think my game’s going to expand.”

He certainly made an impression and likely improved his draft stock at the NBA combine leading up to the draft. ESPN Highlights shared the numbers of his impressive vertical leap, while Chad Ford of ESPN noted that his measurables and drill performances were some of the most impressive in the 2014 draft class:

There is no doubt that Gordon is one of the most athletic prospects in the entire 2014 draft, which is certainly one of the main reasons Orlando drafted him so high.

He can get out in transition, has a number of post-up moves and is a tremendous defender. What’s more, he will thrill the home fans with his aerial displays and rim-rattling dunks, even though there is some room for improvement in his offensive arsenal.

If we are to look ahead, Gordon projects as an athletic power forward or larger small forward for the Magic. He possesses a tremendous foundation of defensive abilities due to his length and athleticism, and his skill set offers plenty of room for growth offensively.

That type of versatility will pay dividends as he fights for playing time as a rookie, although he certainly wasn’t taken so early to sit on the bench in year one.