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Rockets 2020 Player Recaps: Eric Gordon

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An abundance of injuries derailed Eric Gordon’s 2020 season, but will it also lead to his departure from the Houston Rockets?  

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets - Game Five Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Eric Gordon

Recap: Eric Gordon has been a significant pillar in the Houston Rockets’ success since his arrival during the summer of 2016. After a five-year stint in New Orleans, Gordon revised his career. He received Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2017, and at times, his on-court production gave the Rockets a glimpse of a Big Three — as he averaged 17 points, shooting 36.3% from behind the arc through his first three seasons.

The only knock against Gordon — his health. An abundance of nagging injuries had limited him to an average of 70 games over the past three seasons. His injuries were manageable at the beginning, but Gordon’s fourth season in Houston brought a downpour of unfortunate events surrounding his health and availability to the team.

The 2019-20 NBA season has been a rough year for the 31-year-old sharpshooter from Indiana. Prior to the league’s suspension due to COVID-19, a reoccurring knee injury forced him to miss 30 out of a possible 64 games. When he was on the court, Gordon’s production fluctuated from a player who randomly erupted for 50 points (14-for-22 FG, 6-for-11 3PT) in a win over the Jazz, to scoring only eight points (2-for-10 FG, 1-for-8 3PT) in a loss against the Trail Blazers a night later.

Gordon was in need of a four-month layoff period and used the hiatus to get himself back to full strength entering the NBA Bubble. An ankle injury forced him to miss most of the restart seeding games, but upon his return just in time for the post-season, Gordon appeared to be back to the player the Rockets became accustomed to over the past three seasons.

He looked explosive attacking the basket and was able to assist James Harden in his ball-handling duties in the absence of Russell Westbrook (quad). Gordon scored 20 or more points in six of the 12 playoff games, shooting 40% from the floor.

At times, he appeared to be the second-best player on the court for the Rockets, but a strong outing inside the bubble may not be enough to keep Gordon off the trading block this offseason.

“I am happy I am back to full health. When you have surgery doing the season, it’s always tough. But now, I am back to myself and what I should be doing.” — Eric Gordon via Zoom Conference in July.

2021 Outlook: The new makeup of the Rockets following their postseason elimination begin with the departure of Mike D’Antoni. But there is a good possibility that a new head coach calling plays from the sidelines of the Toyota Center may not be the only significant change the Rockets will endure ahead of the 2021 season.

Houston will once again be on the hunt, searching for different ways they could revamp their roster. With no draft picks nor cap space, the only way the Rockets can make improvements to their roster is by trade — and Gordon is one of Houston’s best tradable assets.

Based on his performance during the post-season, the Rockets could cash in and get a sizable compensation for Gordon’s services in return — perhaps one that includes a solid low-post presence on the inside.

However, with Gordon on the wrong side of 30 and injury-riddled, this offseason will allow the Rockets a chance to escape the four-year commitment the two parties agreed upon last August. A commitment that will cost Houston a total of $75.6 million by the end of the 2023-2024 season if Gordon is still around.