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Rockets 2017-18 player previews: Eric Gordon

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Can last year’s Sixth Man of the Year repeat the magic?

NBA: Preseason-Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Did anyone see Gordon’s renaissance coming last year? He blew expectations out of the water and set an extremely high standard for himself. This year, he’s got to keep it.

Last year, I predicted three potential versions of Eric Gordon: unhealthy Gordon, role player Gordon, and beast mode Gordon. I think it’s safe to say last year we got BEAST MODE, SUPER MAN, BOSS ERIC GORDON.

His 16.2 points per game were the most he had since 2012-13, his 75 games played was the most he played since his rookie year, and, as a cherry on top, he won the 3-Point Contest in front of his old home fans in New Orleans. Oh, and did I mention that he was the Sixth Man of the Year?

He’ll be a contender to repeat for the award, but his role on the team is slightly different than it was last season.

Last year, he was asked to be the main facilitator and scorer for the second unit. He won’t have those responsibilities this year because the team acquired a point guard by the name of Chris Paul. You may have heard of him. Paul will handle the ball in the second unit and will look to Gordon early and often on the three-point line.

It’s ironic how Paul and Gordon are teammates now. Gordon was the main piece New Orleans received when Paul was traded to the Clippers back in 2011. Now, it’s all come full circle and Paul and Gordon are teaming up to try and compete for an NBA title for the Rockets.

Gordon’s job on the team is simple: get open, make threes. He was money last year from beyond, shooting 37 percent on almost 9 attempts a game. Coach D’Antoni vows that either Paul or Harden will be on the floor at all times, so Gordon will not be the primary offensive initiator on the floor at any time.

I can see it now. Paul or Harden calls a screen, Capela gives it, he drives, kicks it out to Gordon to his money spot, and boom! It’s a play you know is coming but you also know that you can’t stop.

His smaller role on the team this year could hurt his chances for Sixth Man, but it does help the team’s championship chances. Ask Gordon for what he would prefer, and it would definitely be the championship. It could also have the opposite effect. Less attention for Gordon could help his chances.

Put Gordon on most NBA teams, and he would be one of their two best players. He’s probably fourth on this team, which makes my heart skip a beat when thinking about this team. The Rockets are deep this year, y’all.

If Gordon can match what he did last year, it will be very hard to beat Houston. Even if he does 75 percent of what he did last year, watch out for Houston.