Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 3:00 pm  |  22 responses

Top 50: Eric Gordon, no. 33

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup

“What a steal,” were the words that came out of my mouth on that breezy evening of June 26, 2008.

Tears were shed by the Gordon family and every Clipper fan alike that summer night of the NBA Draft. Gordon was the perfect fit, a combo guard built like a tank with range for days and surprising athleticism. On that night the L.A.-Gordon marriage began.

Shortly thereafter, new three-word sentences began to spew from the mouths of fans and commentators in reference to Eric G’s game. “He’s a beast,” or “He’s the future” and on occasion when he displayed his bunnies, “Lord have mercy,” often summed up his high-flying assaults in the Staples Center.

EG improved each year during his tenure with the Clips, stepping his scoring up from 16.1 to 16.9 to 22.3 points per game. Gordon also improved in steals and rebounds while shooting a better percentage from the field. Even more important, the Clippers were getting better as their wins totals jumped from 19 to 29 to 32. Yet on a cold December afternoon, the Clippers shipped away its budding star in a package deal for Chris Paul.

The following year was easily the hardest of the Indiana native’s career. Eric suffered from a knee injury and played a career low in games. He seemed unhappy and wanted out of New Orleans. For the first time ever, doubts of Eric’s durability and his game began to swirl.

Questions like, “Is he our guy?” and “Why pay him?” were moaned from the New Orleans faithful. My answer to those questions is: Please refer to the SportsCenter clips titled “Eric Gordon,” under the section “Lord have mercy,” and while waiting for those to load, please take a gander at his career stats. Thanks.

While hurt, Gordon still limped his way to close to 21 points and 4 assists per night. Eric also had a slight improvement in steals and maintained his average on the boards. The X-factor of Gordon’s game is, despite his sweet three-point shot, he loves to get to the rack. The former Hoosier continued to improve there as well, getting to the charity stripe 7 times per game.

There are many reasons to expect Gordon to exceed this ranking at 33. He’s got a killer offensive game with no limitations; he can launch from just about anywhere on the floor; and he knows how to get to the line. He is also a solid defender, and will pull his steal numbers closer to two per night this year. With Jarrett Jack outta town, Gordon will play a little more 1 to get the young thunder cat Austin Rivers on the floor some. Eric has proved in the past he can distribute the ball (4.4. dimes per game in his third year), so expect him to give you around that number or even higher.

The Hornets despite having some very versatile pieces (Ryan Anderson could be a special player, Anthony Davis and Rivers can play both backcourt spots), none are really proven go-to options, so expect them to lean on Gordon heavily, giving him the chance to put up gaudy point totals this year. Up-tempo or half-court game, Eric Gordon can deliver.

So while many New Orleans fans will weigh its hopes on Anthony Davis, let this be clear: The New Orleans train will only go as far as Eric Gordon takes it. Down one, the ball is in Gordon’s hands. Look for one of the NBA’s brightest young coaches in Monty Williams to dial up Gordon’s number as much as possible this year.

So as the Hornets fans walk out the New Orleans arena this year, fans will cheerfully say three-word sentences about Eric yet again:

“He’s only 24?” and “Money well spent.”

Where should Eric Gordon rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11
38 John Wall Wizards PG 9
37 Monta Ellis Bucks SG 8
36 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 10
35 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 6
34 Tyson Chandler Knicks C 5
33 Eric Gordon Hornets SG 7

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • danpowers

    great read but ive got that funny feeling that this guy will be much higher in the rankings by that time next year

  • Karl

    His game reminds me of Brandon Roy. Deceptively fast and athletic, can get to the line and can hit the jumper.

  • Caboose

    He’s definitely a tricky placement. With injuries he could end up like Tyreke and closer to #45. However, if he bounces back like Griffin, he would certainly be near the low 20′s. So I agree with the 33; it’s a good compromise.

  • KipSmithers

    I think having a real glue guy like Darius Miller will help him as well. Never hurts to have the glue guys.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    this should be Darius Miles’ spot

  • Datkid

    D.wade meets Ray Allen. All their skills and abilities yet more prone to injury

  • Datkid

    @nbk @disqus_oxoGJMLagc:disqus I think he bounces back like griffin personally. I don’t think there’s a lot wrong with his game.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    with his game? no, but he doesn’t want to be on the Hornets and is injury prone. Not like Griffin who is batshit crazy and injures himself, but actually injury prone.

  • Stevethecannon

    Anthony davis isnt a backcourt player btw
    “Anthony Davis and Rivers can play both backcourt spots)”

  • Caboose

    Ya know Wade hasn’t ever played an 80 game season right?

  • Datkid

    I’ve heard lol

  • spit hot fiyah

    pretty good comparison, i’d give roy a big edge in the ball handling department

  • aicomeback

    no he is broy basically bigger built same height basically same style of play injury prone

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    What crap dude. Griffin batshit crazy hey? if u say that pls explain. Those sweeping gestures only isolate the Nbk persona!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • Datkid

    eric gordon is a LOT quicker/faster than roy. more explosive as well

  • Drig

    Kobe’s game – Durability – Crazy gunslinging ability – Heating up at an accelerated rate + Youth = Roy pre-retirement.
    Wade’s game – Durability + Better J + Youth = EG pre-injury.

    I know that’s simplifying it a bit too much but that’s what it looks like for me.

  • Branson

    No #33 was written by my brother Chris Mordi. Congrats man, and I couldn’t agree more. What a steal!

  • Datkid

    I could see that.

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