Eric Gordon – “Mr. Basketball”

Eric Gordon playing for the Houston Rockets

Eric Gordon playing for the Houston Rockets (By Keith Allison, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, image link: flicker, cropped derivative)

In the span of a decade, Eric Gordon went from Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball” to the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award winner. Very soon, he may get to claim an NBA championship as he, league MVP James Harden, and Chris Paul continue to lead the Houston Rockets. Gordon’s Rockets finished the 2017-18 regular season with the NBA’s best record, but Houston wound up losing to eventual champion Golden State in the Western Conference semifinals. Gordon was a big part of the Rockets’ success averaging 18.0 points per game for the season.

 

Indiana High School Star

Gordon’s rise to stardom began while at North Central High School in Indianapolis. He led North Central to a Class 4A state title as a senior averaging 29.0 points with 6.2 rebounds per game in the process. He was a highly recruited prospect that committed to Illinois as a young high school sophomore. Throughout the recruiting process, Gordon remained committed to Illinois despite attempts by hometown Indiana to lure him to his childhood favorite. Gordon grew up as a fan of the Hoosiers but kept his commitment to Illinois primarily because of the success of former Illini guards like Deron Williams.

In the end, Gordon would go on to attend Indiana where he would play one glorious season for the Hoosiers. The 6-4 Gordon would average 20.9 points per game and go on to earn the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year award. Gordon named a third-team All-American and was a candidate for the Naismith Player of the Year award. Indiana would qualify for the NCAA tournament but lost o Arkansas in the first round.

Eric Gordon playing for the New Orleans Pelicans

Eric Gordon playing for the New Orleans Pelicans (By Keith Allison, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, image link: flicker, cropped derivative)

NBA Stardom

Gordon’s success at Indiana would earn him a slot in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. The Los Angeles Clippers picked Gordon with the No. 7 overall pick. He started 65 games for the Clippers as a rookie scoring 16.1 points per game. Gordon was named to the second-team of the NBA All-Rookie Team.

After leading the U.S. to a gold medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championships, Gordon would go on to have his most prolific season in the NBA leading the Clippers in scoring averaging 22.3 points per game. After the 2010-11 season, Gordon was traded to New Orleans in the deal that sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles. Gordon would spend five seasons in the Big Easy where his scoring average would drop from a high of 20.6 in 2011-12 to a low of 13.4 in 2014-15.

In the offseason before the 2016-17 season, Gordon signed with Houston where he has flourished. He started just 15 games in his first year in Houston but averaged 16.2 points a game and earned the Sixth Man of the Year award. Last season with Paul injured, Gordon started 30 games and averaged 18 points a game in helping the Rockets go 65-17 during the regular season. Gordon, Paul, and Harden all return in 2018-19 for another shot at winning an NBA title.