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Rockets 2019-2020 player previews: Eric Gordon

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EG is going to make the most of his new commitment to Houston.

Houston Rockets & Toronto Raptors Practice Day Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

The 2019-2020 NBA season feels like the start of a second chance for Eric Gordon with the Houston Rockets.

Yes, that sounds weird to say. In fact, downright confusing. See, Eric Gordon, after spending three very productive, bounce-back career seasons with Houston, was handed a well-deserved four-year, 75.6 million contract by his team in the offseason. A guy who spent three years with a team as arguably the biggest bargain in the league (at most, making $13.5 million in a season), and then signing a four-year contract and now making big money ($20.9 million in 2024) with said team wouldn’t be called a “second chance.” Actually, it would be called “a success” — seeing as they want him for at least four more years.

But it is a second chance for the former Sixth Man of the Year. Entering the ‘18-’19 season, the Rockets were aggressive in trade talks, especially for Jimmy Butler. Headlining those trade talks was the Rockets’ best commodity that was wasn’t their big three: Eric Gordon. Gordon survived the purge of that offseason, but they weren’t out of the woods just yet. With their slow start leaking its way into mid-December, Gordon publicly said these famous words on Dec. 7:

Gordon, up until that point, had struggled too. From the start of the season until Dec. 8, Gordon averaged 15.7 points a game and shot only 31 percent from three and a miserable 36.6 percent from the field.

Then the run happened, and Eric Gordon had a lot to do with it. See, despite the comments and the trade rumors and the early struggles, Gordon and Houston turned it around. From Dec. 11 until the end of the season, the notable sixth man was made a consistent starter and started 45 of the remaining 46 games, averaging 16.5 points a game on an immaculate 38.4 percent from three and a much-improved 43.2 percent from the field. Gordon started 53 games for the Rockets last season, eight more than the previous two seasons combined.

That brings us where we are today: Gordon’s second chance.

When he looked like he’d be on the first flight out to Minnesota, only to then stay on the team and begin the season STRU-GUH-LING, he reminded the team why they found success with him on the rotation. It was never him, but the coaching staff and team mentality had to adjust and acclimate one of their key assets — one who refused to go to the wayside.

The excitement and spark that was created between the Rockets and Gordon during his incredible Sixth Man of the Year run appears to be back in full effect. A big, new contract means big expectations, and it looks like Gordon will be made a full-time starter once again, this time for 82 games.

Pieces have come and gone in the past four seasons, but one of the biggest consistencies has been the productivity of Eric Gordon. He turned a season of uncertainty and concerns of decline into a big commitment from the Rockets, assuring he’d spend the rest of his prime in red. Expect more of the same for EG this season: great plays, plenty of splashes, and more of his awesome, complaining face.