Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon has been so good this season that he is even bringing unwanted attention to others named Aaron Gordon as well.
On Wednesday, journalist Aaron W. Gordon shared screenshots of a hilarious DM conversation with a Twitter troll who accused him of trying profit off the name of Gordon the basketball player … despite being born six years earlier.
Orlando Gordon is enjoying the best season of his pro career so far, averaging 20.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on 56.1 percent from the field and a ridiculous 57.7 percent from three. As for this moment, it’s probably the best such one we’ve seen since Isiah Thomas’ classic remark about Isaiah Thomas.
The mother of all NBA seasons is almost here. So as you finalize your League Pass subscriptions, complete your fantasy drafts, and prepare the guacamole for your watch parties, take some time to ponder the true meaning of the season — specifically, the benevolent stars who make such a joyous holiday possible with their prodigious athletic talents.
Here I present, each NBA team’s most important player heading into 2017-18:
Atlanta Hawks — Dennis Schroder, PG
“All my friends are dead,” said Schroder in his best Lil Uzi Vert voice as he gazed upon his roster following the respective exits of his last remaining All-Star teammates in Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard this summer. Yes, the Hawks are now as thin as a toothpick, and the incentive for them to “Do Badly for Bagley” or “Make The Fans Puka for Luka” will be enormous. But someone has to lead this JV squad, and their resident German is as good of an option as any. Perhaps we will see Dennis the Menace gun for 20 and 10. Maybe he develops some nice pick-and-roll chemistry with new additions Dewayne Dedmon and rookie John Collins. Perhaps he finally bleaches his entire head blonde. Anything to give this team a modicum of watchability this season.
Boston Celtics — Kyrie Irving
After selling an arm, a leg, and a hip for him this summer, the Celtics will hope that Irving’s performance in his first season with them does not fall flat. The outside noise in Uncle Drew’s ear will be deafening — mockery of his decision to ditch LeBron James and go off in search of his own empire, jeers at the perceived stagnation of his playmaking skills, pervasive meme treatments of his unorthodox views on astronomy. But Irving is here for one reason and one reason only: to ball out. And that’s what he’s gonna do. Just remember kids, there’s no such thing as distractions when you’re very much woke. [mic drop]
“I would have listened to myself a little bit more from the beginning, listened to my body a little bit more,” said Gordon when asked if he would change anything from last year’s Dunk Contest. “I wasn’t feeling all that great, I was hurting a little bit, I probably would’ve listened to my body a little more.”
Gordon was then asked if he would be in the Dunk Contest again this year, to which he replied, “I think I might go back, but we’ll see how the first couple games of the season play out.”
The 21-year-old Gordon melted our minds in the 2016 competition but narrowly lost to Zach LaVine in a decision that was unpopular with many. He returned for the 2017 Dunk Contest but fizzled out, perhaps due to the aforementioned injury, and failed to advance to the final round.
There is no shortage of incoming high-flyers to potentially fill slots for the 2018 competition in Los Angeles. But if Gordon feels he still has something fresh to offer the fans if/when he is at full health (Round 2 against LaVine, por favor?), then more power to him.
Potentially alienating your franchise player isn’t exactly a strategy for success, and the Orlando Magic are finding that out the hard way.
Magic forward Aaron Gordon responded on Tuesday to the leaked whiteboard photo that appeared to suggest the team was considering trading him to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for fellow forward Dario Saric.
“It was definitely something that I wasn’t aware of before,” said the former No. 4 overall pick, per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “It wasn’t for me to see, so for me to see something like that, it brings something that’s out of my control into my reality. But that’s neither here nor there. My plan and my focus is to play basketball and to enjoy the game of basketball.
“Anything other than that is out of my control,” Gordon went on. “I love this organization and I’m going to continue to work hard and play … Obviously, I know that it’s there, but I just play the game. I trust my skills. I love my teammates. So with that, I can just play.”
The 21-year-old Gordon, who is averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game this season, is perhaps the only true foundational talent on the Orlando roster. But the leaked whiteboard image (which you can view here) listed Saric as a potential Magic offseason trade target with the phrase “For AG?” written in parenthesis next to it.
Robbins adds that Magic head coach Frank Vogel spoke with Gordon on Tuesday to reassure him, while general manager Rob Hennigan also downplayed the significance of the leaked photo. But nevertheless, the damage here may have already been done.
The Orlando Magic may not have gotten the best return package for Serge Ibaka, but the good news is that the trade will allow one of their best young players to shift back to his more natural position.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said that Aaron Gordon will “definitely” see more time at the power forward position and added that it will ultimately be head coach Frank Vogel’s decision, per Keith Smith of RealGM.
Rob Hennigan says that Aaron Gordon will definitely play the 4 more and it is ultimately Frank Vogel's decision.
Orlando has been unorthodox in the way they’ve utilized the 21-year-old Gordon this season, mostly due to the sheer number of bodies in their frontcourt. Gordon has responded with modest averages of 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. But with Ibaka now in Toronto and the playoffs far out of reach for the 21-36 Magic, they can now focus the rest of the year on player development, and that’s great news for the high-flying Gordon.
The NBA Slam Dunk Contest is fully embracing the new generation.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Wednesday, Indiana Pacers swingman Glenn Robinson III, the son of retired former All-Star forward Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, will compete in this year’s competition.
Indiana's Glenn Robinson III (@GRIII) will participate in the Slam Dunk contest on All-Star weekend, league sources tell @TheVertical.
The 23-year-old is averaging 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game for the Pacers this season. While he still has yet to really make a name for himself in the NBA, Robinson certainly knows how to get upstairs.
Meanwhile, Chris Haynes of ESPN also reports Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon will compete again this year after placing second in last year’s contest.
Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon will compete in 2017 NBA Slam Dunk Contest in New Orleans, league sources tell ESPN. Runner-up last year.
We heard earlier this month that these two smaller-name dunkers had been invited to compete. Thus, it looks like at least one of them declined if the NBA is indeed reserving a spot for reigning back-to-back champion Zach LaVine, which almost seems like a guarantee.
“With Serge probably starting at the 4, [Aaron] would probably start at the 3,” Vogel said. “But the way the league plays in today’s NBA, you have to the ability to play a guy like Aaron at the 4. A guy as versatile as Aaron is, what position he plays is a lot of times predicated on the players around him. Serge Ibaka’s not here, then he’s the 4 for us. Serge Ibaka’s here, he’s gonna play the 3, and we’re gonna be really long, and that’s exciting.”
The 20-year-old Gordon is known at this stage of his career as an elite dunker, but he’s a long, athletic defender who has both the foot speed and the strength to check multiple positions on the defensive end, including small forwards. Gordon is still developing his three-point shot (he connected at a 29.6 percent clip on 142 attempts from deep last season), so he could clog Orlando’s spacing from the small forward position should he not show vast improvement on his jumper. But starting him next to an elite floor-stretching big in Ibaka and a lights-out midrange shooter in Vucevic should be a workable fix for Orlando’s offense.
With his ability, as Vogel mentioned, to shift down to the 4 in certain matchups alongside Green or Biyombo, Gordon should be the pivot that unlocks all sorts of juicy lineup combinations for the Magic next season. And while Vogel ran somewhat imperfect rotations during his time with the Pacers, he looks to be up to the challenge of finding minutes for all of his talented new toys in Orlando next year.
Zach LaVine took home the trophy as winner of the 2016 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. However, it was runner-up Aaron Gordon who had what many will say was the best slam of the night.
With some assistance from a mascot holding the basketball over his head, Gordon did a dunk that you have to see to believe. And, if you did already see it, it’s one that’s definitely worth watching a few more times because it was that spectacular.
The lineup for this year’s Slam Dunk Contest in Toronto has been finalized, according to a report.
Cleveland.com’s Chris Haynes says the competition lineup will include Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond, Nuggets guard Will Barton, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, and defending champion Zach LaVine. The lineup will officially be announced on Thursday.
The contest will be held on Saturday, Feb. 13 at All-Star Weekend in Toronto.
LaVine will be looking to become the first back-to-back champion since Nate Robinson, who won in 2009 and 2010. Robinson is also the all-time leader with three career wins in the contest, so LaVine would be on his way to tying Nate if he can win in Toronto.
For high-flying Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, a couple of bumps and bruises here and there are to be expected, perhaps as he hurls himself at the rim or rises up to send an opponent’s shot sailing into the third row. Fracturing a jaw horsing around with an older brother probably does not fall into that category.
According to the Orlando Sentinel in a report that ran Friday, that’s exactly what happened to the 19-year-old Arizona product:
Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon underwent surgery Tuesday in California to repair a fractured jaw and is expected to return by the start of the regular season, according to team spokesman Joel Glass.
Glass said Gordon suffered the jaw injury when Gordon was visiting his family and was horsing around with his older brother, Drew, who appeared in nine games last season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The timetable for Aaron Gordon’s return to basketball-related activities will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation, Glass said.
Who would have thought a friendly game of Gordon Family Freeze Tag could have gone so awry?
It’s a real shame too as the younger Gordon was showing out in Orlando Summer League averaging 21.7 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game, looking a step above the competition on both ends of the floor. It’s unlikely that the Magic will gain any solace from the old adage “Boys will be boys,” and now will just have to hold their breaths that their prized phenom recovers in time for the 2015-16 season.
Maybe the Gordon brothers were trying to recreate a scene from Raging Bull?
Or perhaps Drew, whose own NBA aspirations flopped after a semi-promising college tenure, is just jealous that Aaron is a better dunker than he is.