Houston Rockets: A surging Eric Gordon is just what the doctor ordered

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 16: Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 16: Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Eric Gordon had a terrible start for the Houston Rockets. However, his past 5+ games have seen him turn it around, here’s why this is huge for the team.

During the 2016 offseason, the Houston Rockets signed Eric Gordon to a four-year deal worth $53 million. The 2016-17 Rockets were a team with a new coach in Mike D’Antoni that needed players who would fit into the system that leaned even heavier into the “three or bust” offense.

Gordon was seemingly a perfect fit for that offense and style of play. He was coming off of three seasons with three-point percentages of over 38%, including a season that saw him hit on 45% of this three-point attempts. Of course, the 45% was an outlier but if he could maintain high percentages while increasing his workload, it would be a boon to the franchise.

That first season with Gordon in a Rockets uniform went swimmingly. The team won 55 games and Gordon was able to stay healthy for the vast majority of the season, even on an increased workload. He blew his previous career high for three-point attempts, 8.8 per game, out of the water while also blowing his previous career high for three-point makes, 3.3 per game, out of the water to the tune of over 37%.

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Gordon’s performance during that season earned him the NBA’s sixth man of the year award. Following that, the Houston Rockets retooled and added Chris Paul to go along with Gordon and James Harden in the backcourt. This trio appeared to be one of the best in the entire NBA.

Gordon’s three-point efficiency faltered slightly during the 2017-18 campaign though, his overall stats did increase while playing alongside two probable Hall of Famers in Paul and Harden. Gordon was just a scoring machine with the ability to play an ancillary role alongside either Harden or Paul and sometimes both. He also possessed the ability to take over the offense if needed.

The 2017-18 Rockets were a very good basketball team, they won a franchise record 63 games and came within one game of the NBA Finals. Gordon was a major part of this team and a huge reason that they were able to be so successful.

Coming into the 2018-19 season, much of the same was expected of Gordon. He was to play alongside Harden and Paul and put up points. The biggest change to start this season was that he might have to share his sixth man duties with Carmelo Anthony.

Well, the Houston Rockets start to this season did not go as played. They have stumbled out of the gates in a major way in the first 1/4+ of the season. They are consistently in a battle to remain at .500 while settling in along teams such as the Kings for 8th place in the Western Conference.

A big part of that could very well be the struggles that have plagued Gordon to start the season. Through his first 14 games of the season, Gordon was shooting over eight threes a game, once again, however, he was only making two of them. This was good for an abysmal 24.3% from three.

That percentage, from nearly any other player, would have knocked said player out of the lineup. That’s how bad he was playing. His shots were not falling and worries about his health began to creep up again and perhaps maybe he had reached his career’s end in his 10th season.

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That being said, in the last six games, Gordon has turned around his game and is playing at an extremely high level. He’s been averaging over ten three-point attempts per game and knocking down nearly five, good for 44% during that time. Gordon increased his season three-point percentage nearly 10 points during this six-game stretch to nearly 32%.

Now, unfortunately, the Houston Rockets have only one two games of those six during that stretch. So, Gordon’s turnaround doesn’t spell the end of the entire team’s turmoil and struggles but it is a start.

We knew this turnaround was bound to happen for Gordon, it was only a matter of time. The same can be said for the rest of the team and the struggles they’re having. A turnaround is bound to happen, this team is simply too good for it. Hopefully, Gordon’s turnaround is a sign of things to come for the entire franchise.

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The Houston Rockets have an 11-12 record a little over a quarter into the 2018-19 season. During the twenty games he’s played in, Eric Gordon is averaging 16.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and three triples a game on 33 minutes of playing time.