The trade deadline is fast approaching for the NBA and its 30 teams. During this time of year, teams are in one of three categories when it gets to this pivotal time of year. They are either buyers, sellers or bystanders.
Most playoff teams are looking to buy and improve their chances of either making the playoffs or solidifying themselves as championship contenders. Most of the time, teams at the very top are not overly concerned with wheeling and dealing before the trade deadline. This brings us to the Houston Rockets, who have been closer to the bottom than the playoffs for the past two years, which means they are again sellers at the deadline.
Why Eric Gordon is worth a first-round pick
The Rockets have multiple veterans that other contending teams may see as the missing piece for them the rest of the season. For example, D.J. Augustin would provide a veteran backup point guard that every team needs in the playoffs, and David Nwaba would give a playoff team a wing defender who can guard multiple positions.
That brings us to Eric Gordon, the longest current tenured Rocket who is having the most efficient season of his career. Two years ago, Gordon suffered through the worst year of his career. He shot the second-worst three-point percentage and the lowest points per game of his career.
Last year, Gordon bounced back, started getting to the rim at an efficient clip, and started to look like the old EG. Unfortunately, injuries sidelined him for most of the season, even though he could have come back at some point if the Rockets weren't in the midst of their worst season in two decades.
This year, Gordon has been nothing short of spectacular considering the circumstances. He has been the most efficient player on the team, if not the league. Gordon is shooting a career-high in three-point percentage while also having the highest effective field goal percentage of his career. Gordon also has thrived in clutch time situations.
Even though the Rockets haven't been in many close games this year, when they have been, the ball is usually in Gordon's hands. He is shooting over 58 percent in clutch time, which leads the Rockets. Gordon is also one of the best perimeter defenders on the team and can switch onto forwards and centers at times and not give any ground.
Gordon's contract runs through 2023-24, and in the last year, he will make over $20 million, but the last year is not fully guaranteed. This is a small price to pay for a championship-contending team. If you are at the point where you are going all in this year, Gordon is the type of player you should want on your team.
This is why the ridiculous trade proposals and reactions from other fan bases about a possible first-round pick for Gordon make little to no sense. But, of course, taking most of what is said on social media seriously is probably not a good idea, but it's not just random fans. It is also national writers who believe that a first-round pick ( more than likely a late 1st round pick considering he will go to a contender) for Gordon is some crime against society.
It's not hyperbole to say that Gordon could be the missing piece to a championship team. We saw it with PJ Tucker last year being traded to the Bucks, and Gordon is a much better player at this point. The Rockets should not settle for anything less than a first-round pick or a young up-and-coming player like Jalen Smith from the Suns. A recent report also suggested the Rockets are looking for a first-round pick in any Gordon trade.
Gordon hasn't complained about his current situations, hasn't publicly asked to be traded, and has been the ultimate team player. He deserves to play for a championship, and the Rockets deserve to get back value in any trade for EG.