Look up the word consistent. The Webster Dictionary defines this word as “regularity of steady continuity to a person or a thing”. If Merriam-Webster ever wanted to add a photo to illustrate what the definition of a consistent person looked like, a picture of Eric Gordon during the 2019 season would be the perfect example.
In his first two seasons in Houston, Gordon established himself as one of the best bench players in the league. In 2017, the former Hoosier took home his first NBA hardware with the Sixth Man of the Year award, and in 2018, he helped the Rockets come within one game of reaching the NBA Finals averaging 18.0 points per game, his most since the 2011 season with the Clippers.
Despite the many changes that took place with the Rockets during the summer, Gordon was expected to play the same role that helped bring new light to his career, the sharpshooting wing who could come off the bench and erupt for 20 or more points on any given night.
In a season where many players on the roster fell below expectations, Gordon became one of two players who lived up to his preseason outlook. And in some cases, he was better. And he wound up starting 53 games, as the Rockets were forced to tweak their personnel mid-year after their offseason acquisitions failed to pan out.
Despite averaging 2.2 fewer points than the previous year and admittedly starting the season out a little uneven (like most of Houston’s roster), Gordon’s on-court production was extremely significant in Houston’s success. In 68 games, Gordon averaged 16.2 points on 40.9 percent shooting from the field, and 36.0 percent from behind the arc. These are essentially mirror-image numbers of his 2016-2017 season and right in line with most of his career averages.
During the Rockets’ early-season showdown against the Washington Wizards, Gordon scored a season-high 36 points in a 135–131 overtime loss in D.C. He also came up tremendous for Houston in their 138-134 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, where he poured in 30 points while connecting on 5-10 shots from behind the arc.
In the midst of James Harden’s historic streak of scoring 30 or more points in a row, many times it seemed as if Gordon was the only player capable of helping The Beard, as he ranked second on the team in scoring, averaging 17.2 points over the 32-game span that Harden went supernova.
In addition to the regular season, Gordon also played a huge part in Houston’s postseason run as the Rockets second-leading scorer, averaging 17.8 points per game, his highest postseason average in a Rockets uniform. In Game 3 of Houston’s 126-121 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors, Gordon scored a playoff career-high 30 points and a playoff-best 7 three-pointers in the win.
While he continued to prove why he is one of the most lethal offensive weapons in The Association, what made this a standout season for Gordon was his play on the defensive end. Sure, his numbers do not tell the whole story, averaging .9 steals and .3 blocks per game, but Gordon gave Houston a substantial perimeter defender on the wing, especially in the playoffs.
During the Rockets’ five-game series against the Utah Jazz, Gordon’s defense held Donovan Mitchell to 7.6 points and 31.7 percent from the field when guarded by EG. His defense on Utah’s sophomore sensation was so impressive, the Jazz’s total offense held a -14.9 point differential when Mitchell was checked by Gordon.
After three successful seasons in Houston, it is safe to say that Gordon has become a favorite among his teammates and supporters of the Rockets organization. And with one year remaining on his contract, it is safe to say that the Rockets will do whatever they need to retain Gordon’s services beyond the 2019-20 season.
So much so, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that he would like to re-sign Gordon to a contract extension this summer, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
If the Rockets would like to continue their quest for that elusive NBA title, extending Gordon’s contract should be one of their top priorities during the offseason. Why? A wise man once said, “Consistency is the key to success.” And Eric Gordon has been one of the most consistent factors since he became a Houston Rocket.