Aaron Gordon was the standout player of the Orlando Summer League a couple weeks back, averaging 21.7 points and 11.7 rebounds a game (both tops in the entire league). He also shot 50 percent from three.
However, his summer workouts have been put on hiatus for a few weeks after surgery to repair a fractured jaw, the team announced Friday. He is expected to be back and ready to play by the start of the NBA season, although no official timetable was announced.
How did it happen? From the official release:
Gordon, 19 and the second-youngest player in the NBA this past NBA season, was injured while visiting with family and horsing around with older brother, Drew. The native of San Jose, Calif. underwent surgery in California earlier this week.
Drew played part of last season with Philadephia.
Gordon is part of a promising young core that could make the Magic a team on the rise in the East next season. They have Elfrid Payton at the point, Victor Oladipo at the two, Tobias Harris at the three, Gordon at the four, and Nikola Vucevic at center, with guys like Channing Frye and Mario Hezonja off the bench. If Gordon can make the leap in the fall that he showed in the summer — and if he can stay healthy when around his family — he will be a big part of that future.
Anthony Davis is already viewed by many as being one of the top few players in the league today, a dominant big man that has the ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor at an absolutely frightening rate.
And the new head coach of the Pelicans, Alvin Gentry, wants to make him even more difficult to deal with by extending his range to the three-point arc.
From John Reid of NOLA.com:
In a conference call to season-ticket holders on Tuesday night, Gentry says he has already told Davis that every day he works out in the gym this upcoming season he wants him to make 150 corner 3-point shots from each side of the court.
”That’s got to become a consistent shot for him,” Gentry said. ”I don’t think he’s going to have any problem doing it. If you go back and look at his high school days, he was a very good 3-point shooter. But all of sudden he decided to grow six or eight inches. He still has that range, but I don’t think it has been incorporated in the offense in college or the pros that he’s been in.
”We want him to shoot that shot. So I think you probably see him make more 3s than he’s made his entire career.”
Gentry has had success doing this in the past. As head coach of the Suns in 2010, he got Channing Frye to launch 392 three-pointers, after he had made just 20 in total during his first four NBA seasons. Frye shot 43.9 percent from three-point distance that season.
Davis made only one three-pointer last season on 12 attempts, but it turned out to be the difference in sending New Orleans to the playoffs because it ultimately gave them the tie-breaker over the Thunder in the standings.
Davis is already unstoppable on the offensive end of the floor, so adding yet another weapon to his arsenal seems almost unfair to the rest of the league. With Gentry looking to create even more of a monster here, a famous quote from the Bhagavad Gita delivered by one of the men who invented the atomic bomb comes to mind: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Now that Kevin Love is opting out of his contract, the free agency courting process begins. The Cavs are still the frontrunner to re-sign him — the ability to play with LeBron James and compete for a title every year is probably too much to pass up. But plenty of other teams will make their pitches, not least of all the Celtics, who have been linked to Love for some time. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has some interesting new details on the pitch the Celtics are planning to make to Love, which involves the potential return of Paul Pierce to Boston.
There’s a lot going on here. Putting aside the idea of Pierce returning to Boston, which is its own discussion, it’s still difficult to see how this scenario the Celtics are pitching is more appealing than the situation Love already has in Cleveland. Robin Lopez, if he were to sign in Boston, is pretty much the ideal big man to pair with Love, a rim-protecting rebounding machine who doesn’t need the ball and can cover up a lot of Love’s defensive deficiencies. But you know who else is an ideal rim protector and offensive cleanup man to pair with Love? Timofey Mozgov.
Phoenix is more of a long-shot, but he’d be a good fit there, too. They took a step back last year after the loss of Channing Frye, and Love can give them a better version of that same skill set.
What Love does in free agency will come down to how much he values being the No. 1 option on a team versus playing on a contender. If winning is the most important objective, you don’t walk away from playing with the best player in the world, especially in a weak Eastern Conference where you’re more or less guaranteed to make the Eastern Conference Finals at a minimum every year — and probably the Finals. But the Cavs will never be Love’s team, and if he wants that, the Celtics would be a better option. The Celtics have plenty of assets and cap space to chase other players to put around him, as well as a nice young core with Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger. And if playing with Kelly Olynyk is a problem, Olynyk won’t be difficult to move. It’s not unthinkable that this happens.
Still, the Cavs should be considered the frontrunner to keep Love unless something crazy happens.