Sick of arguing with your friends about who is the best player in the NBA? Leading into the ’13-14 NBA Season, Ball So Hard will be putting an end to the debate. Here is the decisive list of the 50 best NBA players.
Note: predictions are for the up coming season and rank players on how they will perform in the ’13-14 season.
No. 50: Eric Gordon
When New Orleans dealt Chris Paul to the Clippers in December 2011, the general consensus was that the (then) Hornets received fair compensation for their unsettled star point guard.
New Orleans received a raw prospect in Al-Farouq Aminu, a solid veteran centre in Chris Kaman and a slew of draft picks, but the prize piece in the trade was burgeoning combo guard Eric Gordon.
Gordon was coming off a season where he had average 22.3 points, at 45% clip, and 4.4 assists through 56 games.
However, in his two seasons in Louisiana, Gordon has only played a total 51 games and has failed to fulfil the promise he came packaged with from Los Angeles.
At the start of the 2012-13 season, it seemed Gordon was equally fed up with the situation, after only featuring in nine games for the 21-win Hornets, he signed a four-year, $58 million max-deal offer sheet from the Phoenix Suns.
However, New Orleans matched the offer and locked themselves into another injury riddled season from their disgruntled guard.
More concerning were the rumours of commitment issues that swirled around Gordon throughout the season, and many questioned whether he was truly injured or if he was refusing to play in order to force his way out of town.
If Gordon can recapture the form he had in his final season with the pre-Lob City Clippers, he could easily find himself much higher on this list by the end of the season.
At 6-3, 222 pounds, and possessing deceptive quickness, surprising athleticism and lethal range, Gordon has undeniable All-Star potential.
With Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans joining EG in the backcourt, you can expect the former Indiana Hoosiers’ scoring numbers to improve as he spends more time off the ball.
Considering a healthy Gordon managed to put up nearly 21 points and four assists a night, it isn’t unreasonable to assume, if he can stay healthy, he has the potential to put up numbers closer to 25 points, four-five assists and nearly two steals per game.
What makes Gordon’s game special is his ability to both light it up from downtown and take it strong to the rack. A career 36% marksman from beyond the arc, Gordon is also built like a tank and has bullied his way to more than five free throws a game in his career despite being undersized at the two.
No one can question Gordon’s game when he is healthy, but will his body ever let him play anything close to a full season again?
Meanwhile, rumours that he is unhappy in New Orleans will continue to swirl around Gordon this season after he pouted and whinged his way through his second year with the team.
His hometown Indiana Pacers have been looking to add a scoring guard to compliment the improving Paul George, and it is yet to be seen how Danny Granger – a scoring small forward that New Orleans are lacking – fits with the team as he returns from injury.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns made their interest in Gordon clear last year, and one year on from seeing their offer sheet matched by New Orleans they are free to make trade offers for him once again.
Whether or not he finishes the season with the same team he starts, or if he spends more time wearing a suit than a uniform, one thing is for sure: Eric Gordon could be ranked much higher on this list. We will just have to wait and see if he delivers.