Friday, August 29, 2014
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Aaron Gordon Prospect Profile

Arizona's Aaron Gordon is an athletic forward that has the potential to be one of the better defensive big men in the draft.

Aaron Gordon Prospect Profile

Aaron Gordon, from Arizona, participates in the NBA shuttle run. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)
Aaron Gordon, from Arizona, participates in the NBA shuttle run. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

We’ve examined Kentucky’s James Young, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Michigan’s Nik Stauskas plus Michigan State’s Gary Harris, aka a bunch of shooters that could potentially land the Sixers another perimeter threat with the No. 10 pick in tomorrow’s draft.

What hasn’t been looked at is if the team goes big for the No. 10 pick, and that leads us to Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, an athletic forward that has the potential to be one of the better defensive big men in the draft.

Best Case Scenario: Shawn Marion

Worst Case Scenario: Kenneth Faried

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Strengths:

· Very athletic and versatile forward that has a great first and second jump and has shown incredible leaping ability and explosiveness

· Doesn’t shy away from contact, has an NBA-body, very lean and has a good nose for the ball

· Can defend any position on the floor, solid wingspan for a 6-foot-9 forward (7 foot wingspan)

· Plays to his strengths and usually makes good decisions on the court, moves well without the ball and finishes around and above the rim, magnet for alley-oops, tip-slams and extra opportunities coming from rebounds, great hands

· Can make straight line drives to the rim, underrated dribble-package for a big man

· Defends very well at Arizona and contested every shot he possibly could, not a great shot-blocker but not horrible either

· Very well-conditioned

· Can be a role player for a decade in the NBA because he doesn’t need any set plays run for him to be effective, high energy guy

Weaknesses:

· Doesn’t have a lot of skill offensively outside of his athleticism, though he’s shown flashes with his ball-handling, in game, it’s not very good, doesn’t look comfortable with his back to the rim, doesn’t have a soft touch around the rim and struggles as a consistent jump-shooter

· Horrendous foul shooter

· Has a very slow jump-shot and sort of a “flick” motion in his release, ball doesn’t really rotate when he releases it

· Considered a bit of a tweener

· Has a built upper body, but not much lower body strength, could have a problem boxing out effectively at the next level

· Needs to work on his footwork

· Doesn’t shy away from contact but doesn’t finish well when he gets hit with contact

· He’s become very stiff in his movements at times and runs on his toes, has shown some tightness in his hips defending away from the post and it shows up when he slides laterally on defense

· Has a short stride, shows some raw awareness on the defensive glass and doesn’t always box out, not a very good shot blocker given his athleticism

Final Analyzation: Gordon can legitimately be a “glue guy” in the league for a decade if he goes to the right organization. He’s an athletic specimen that plays with a high motor and can go coast-to-coast with his limited dribble and establish himself as a great pick-and-roll option in the NBA. He needs to bulk up his lower body and raise his awareness on the court to truly be effective. All of his weaknesses can be dealt with if he gets landed with a proper coaching staff that’ll focus on developing his skills.

How he fits with the Sixers: Gordon can run in transition better than most forwards in this year’s class. Furthermore, he can be paired with Nerlens Noel to form a very intimidating frontcourt that can rebound well and impose their will protecting the rim from flashy guards.

If the team deals away Thaddeus Young on draft night, then there needs to be another option at the four, outside of a few picks in the second, Gordon seems like the proper fit for the organization if they are considering drafting a big man on Thursday night. Nothing wrong with a double-dose of athleticism at the four and five.

Get the full Sixerville experience at PhillyDailyNews.com.

About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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