As we approach the offseason, draft talk is the main topic of conversation on LB. One player that I',m surprised has not garnered a lot of attention is Aaron Gordon. The freshman from Arizona had one of the best years of all college freshman in 2013-2014, though much of it went unnoticed. He did most of his work in ways that go unnoticed in the stat sheets and is someone that I feel is a perfect fit for the Sixers moving forward.
- Athleticism- The first thing that you notice about Gordon is his video game athleticism. He can jump out of the building and has the lateral quickness to guard smaller players. Look up Aaron Gordon highlight films and you'll immediately see how athletic he actually is.
- Defense- He was probably the best on ball defender in college basketball this past year. A quick look at the stat sheet and you can see that he had 3.3 defensive win shares good for the best in all of college basketball. In addition to being a lock-down defender, he can most likely defend 4 positions at the next level and probably slower point guards as well. His defensive rating was good for top 20 in all of college basketball. He also displayed good help defense knowing when to switch and to help double. He also defends without fouling a big plus for someone whose game relies on defense
- Finishing around the rim- He is a pretty good finisher when around the rim
- Offensive rebounding- His motor and athleticism allowed him to gather up 102 over the course of the season.
- Intangibles- Aaron Gordon has some of the best intangibles in all of college basketball. He has a phenomenal work ethic that players and coaches raved about from the beginning of the season to the end. He has a high basketball IQ and good court vision that has led to a lot of points for his teammates (a very valuable skill in my opinion).
- Shooting- Anyone who has watched a game or looked at a stat sheet knows that Gordon cannot shoot well. He shot 42% from the foul line over the course of the season and 17.6% from thee during conference play. If he is going to transition to the three, shooting numbers like these cannot happen. Even for a four, this is unacceptable for the next level. If he is going to see significant minutes at the next level, this has to improve.
- Strength- He needs to add strength to his frame to reach his potential. He can get out muscled on the defensive boards and can be an even better finisher around the rim. If he stays at the four full time, this is a necessity.
- Tweener- He does not have a defined position in the NBA yet. He has the height of a four, but does not quite have the strength. he has the athleticism to play the three, but his perimeter skills leave a lot to be desired.
Fit on the Sixers: I think he is the perfect fit on the Sixers. His defense and athleticism fit the mold of the team that Sam Hinkie wants to build and the system that Brett Brown wants to run. Hinkie said he's looking for hard workersand Gordon is most certainly one. His weaknesses, while they may be harmful to the Sixers now because the floor spacing will atrocious, have time to be fixed and developed.
Radical opinion: I would take Gordon over Jabari Parker. Before you bash this in the comments, hear me out. Defense is half the game. Jabari while an offensive powerhouse, will struggle terribly on defense. Remember while Gordon's weaknesses can be corrected through hard work, Jabari's defensive issues stem from a lack of athleticism something that shouldn't get better over time. With Gordon you get a player whop is elite on one end and has tremendous upside on the other, while with Parker, you get an elite player on one end and not too good one the other end. Maybe its just me, but I'll take the first option every time.
Thanks for reading and let me hear your opinion in the comments.