Eric Gordon was in Indianapolis at a high school basketball tournament and exhibition that’s actually named after him: The Eric Gordon Super Shootout.
Among his many other ceremonial duties, EJ served as a judge for the slam dunk contest. He also caught up with Jeff Rabjohns on the Indianapolis Star:
The Clippers have long been one of professional basketball’s worst franchises, but Gordon said he sees a better future. He said he’s looking forward to getting on the court with last year’s top draft pick Blake Griffin, sidelined by injury in what would have been his rookie season.
“We tried to develop some chemistry in the summer league, but he’s basically been hurt since then,” Gordon said. “We’re still close. We know we’ll probably be together for a while. We’re going to spend some time working out together.
“I think in a couple months, he’ll be 100 percent, if he’s not now.”
Gordon, who already has made $5.8 million, will make $3.8 million next season in what would have been his senior year in college. Under the NBA’s salary scale that lasts a player’s first four years in the league, he’ll make at least $5.1 million in 2011-12. At some point in the next 12-18 months, a contract extension will be discussed.
“That might be a year down the road,” Gordon said. “I would like to be with the Clippers and see what’s going to happen, possibly get an extension after next year. You just never now.”
Lost amid the coaching carousel, roster turnover and general malaise over the last third of the season was Gordon’s development which, at times, seemed to plateau. In his sophomore season, Gordon saw his Player Efficiency Rating [PER] drop, along with his free throw percentage, true shooting percentage, assist rate — and even rebounding rate, if such a thing were possible.
Though he was advertised as a combo guard coming out of Bloomington, Gordon is a liability as a playmaker. Some of that can be attributed to his size and some of it to an incoherent offense, but either way Gordon won’t climb into the upper echelon of NBA shooting guards until he has the capacity to punish collapsing defenses. Both in 2009 Summer League and the preseason, Gordon showed an ability to work the pick-and-roll with Blake Griffin. If the Clippers are to achieve that better future Gordon refers to, the Gordon-Griffin duo will have to be devastating for an offense that hasn’t ranked above 20th in offensive efficiency since 2005-06.
A capable small forward would help EJ a lot. That presence on the opposite side of the court would allow Gordon to be a weak side demon who can stretch the floor and work off the ball rather than have to make plays. The latter skill is still vital to Gordon’s development — you can’t flourish as a guard in the NBA without a dependable handle — but working in traffic is a lot easier when the defense has to hedge. Right now, the half court is too cluttered for Gordon’s skill set.