A large part of the Rockets' success last season came in the signing of Eric Gordon.
Signing Gordon was a risk for GM Daryl Morey, but the risk paid off when the Indiana product had one the best, healthiest season of his career. With Gordon willing to come off the bench, he became the league's top bench performer, averaging 16.1 PPG, earning him the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
He also shot 37.2 percent from the three-point line, and he was able to showcase his range in the Three Point Contest at the All-Star Break, taking home the title.
It was a strong year for Gordon, who played in 75 games, the most since his rookie campaign. He was not plagued by injuries, which lead to part of his success. But can his success continue next season?
Why Gordon Will Be Successful Next Season
With Chris Paul, another ball handler and offensive threat now in the fold, Gordon will likely battle against a team's third-best defender in crunch time. If Carmelo Anthony is on the floor as well, he'll likely be defended by the team's weakest non-post defender, giving him a higher chance of scoring.
Also, he is such a perfect fit for the D'Antoni system. I think Gordon being in the D'Antoni offense was the main secret behind his success last season, and being in the offense another year is only going to bolster his growth in the system.
With at least Paul on the floor, and possibly ‘Melo, his numbers might decline, but it doesn't mean he can't have a successful season. He'll still be the team's best option off the bench and can create plays for himself, so he's a very integral piece to the puzzle for 2017-18.
Why Gordon Will Not Be Successful Next Season
Gordon has had a history of injuries, and will turn 29 in December. Last year was a renaissance for Gordon, but he still had minor bumps and bruises. As he enters his 10th NBA season, those minor injuries tend to add up. He played over 30 minutes per game last season, and will likely be called upon for a similar workload this season.
Also, in the second unit, Gordon was seen as a playmaker who could find ways to score. Now, with CP3 in the mix, the Rockets will never have a lineup that does not feature either him or James Harden. This means there will be fewer opportunities for Gordon to create his own shot, and that is where he got a good chunk of his points last season.
It’s ironic how Eric Gordon was the main piece traded to New Orleans for Chris Paul back in 2011, and now they are teammates in Houston. Their paths have crossed again, and Paul’s impact could affect Gordon’s output next season.
Gordon’s role in the offense will be a lot different next season, and this offense will have a new look to it as well. It’s hard to tell whether Gordon will succeed in that offense, but only time will tell. We can speculate all we want, but if Gordon can produce at the same level that he did last season, and Chris Paul and possibly Carmelo Anthony are added to the team, the Rockets will definitely be a formidable threat to the Warriors, which is exactly where Houston wants to be.