• Does Aaron Gordon Need Another Year? No!


    Contributing Writer
    Martin Hayvush


    No.

    Unfortunately PointGuardU.com wouldn't pay me for a one word article, but it really is that simple. Aaron Gordon does not need another year of college basketball.

    Would he be a much better player with an extra year of seasoning? Certainly. But that doesn't mean he should forgo a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

    Let's get something out of the way first. Call it a freshman wall, call it progressive fatigue, call it whatever you want. Lately Gordon hasn't been playing as well as he can, and that's something we're not used to seeing.

    It starts from the free throw line, where Gordon's struggles are well documented. But with nothing fundamentally wrong with his form, that's an issue that won't last forever. More troubling has been his shooting from anywhere outside the paint.

    Gordon's season field goal percentage is a solid 47.4% on 10 attempts per game, especially when you consider that he's spent most of his time at the small forward position. But in conference play, his efficiency has plummeted to 44.7% field goal shooting on 10.3 attempts. He's also 1 of 10 on three point attempts over that 12 game span.

    Even more troubling is that Gordon's true shooting percentage (which accounts for 2 point, 3 point, and free throw attempts) is dead last for Arizona's rotation players at 48%, which falls well below the mark for effective scorers. By comparison, Kaleb Tarczewski leads the team with a true shooting percentage of 61%, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is 5th among rotation players at 52.9%.

    As a result, defenses sag way off him and help neutralize Arizona's talent down low. It's a problem that has tightened up the Wildcat offense and lowered scoring totals.

    Of course, a lot of that has to do with Brandon Ashley's season-ending injury, which Arizona is still learning to cope with. But a lot of it has to do with Gordon's inability to stretch defenses from the power forward spot.

    It's a major flaw in his game, and it's a reminder that he's not a complete player despite coming to Arizona with as much hype as possibly any recruit in school history.

    But that doesn't mean he shouldn't go pro if a lottery pick awaits him.

    Here's what some of you who disagree need to understand: it's not about Gordon's skill level, or if he's "ready." The decision to enter the NBA Draft early is based on one thing, and one thing alone: if they want you.

    And the NBA wants Gordon.

    Like I said before, yes, he could become a much better player by staying at Arizona a second year. But if an NBA team offers you a pick in the lottery, it would be risky to put your lifelong dream on hold to accomplish essentially the same thing the next year.

    Not to mention, that's a year's worth of potential earnings lost, and another year to wait before Gordon could get the much more lucrative second contract of his career.

    In the world of sports, nothing is guaranteed. If Ashley's heart-breaking injury taught us anything, it's how quickly everything can be taken away from you as a player.

    That's not to say Gordon shouldn't choose another year of college basketball for fear of injury. It's just to posit that a lottery pick may not be still be on the table a year from now, due to any number of potential reasons.

    When you understand that sobering reality, Gordon's decision becomes a lot clearer.
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. ArizonaSting's Avatar
      ArizonaSting -
      Nice article, Martin. I completely agree.
    1. Kdogsr.'s Avatar
      Kdogsr. -
      Nice read... I agree, if the lottery is a reality for him, then he should take it
    1. HSP's Avatar
      HSP -
      He just needs to be used in the right way, he's learning his limits, that's fine with me. Also I enjoy your reads.
    1. AztecWildcat's Avatar
      AztecWildcat -
      Interesting article. I'm not going to pretend I know Aaron or his family. It's a decision they will have to make.
    1. Big Ben's Avatar
      Big Ben -
      Great article. The first three paragraphs and the last sentence say it all. Thx PGU !
    1. Nemuslaw's Avatar
      Nemuslaw -
      I agree. I wouldn't pay you for a one word article as well...haha. I would for this one though.
    1. Arty's Avatar
      Arty -
      What Aztec said. However, I hope his skill set is there for the NBA. I would hate to see a washout for him. Seems like a really great young man with a ton of skills and upside.
    1. AlwaysBeenACatFan's Avatar
      AlwaysBeenACatFan -
      Well said.....wrote
    1. LA Catz's Avatar
      LA Catz -
      My selfish nature would love for him to come back but if he is lock for lottery he then should go. Whatever decision he makes, I'm 100% behind him or anyone else for that matter. Bear down.
    1. Jeff's Avatar
      Jeff -
      The possibilities of injury and little real development between his freshman and theoretical-sophomore seasons are why AG should go (assuming that's what AG wants). If an NBA team will definitely pick AG in the lottery, he undoubtedly should go to get the highest entry salary he can and start getting paid earlier.
    1. Jimmy1369's Avatar
      Jimmy1369 -
      IF he is a lottery pick, the decision is a no brainer. Easy - He should go - no questions. I think the better discussion topic is whether he is a lottery pick now with his poor shooting from outside 4 feet. It reminds me of Solo his frosh year when teams realized he couldn't shoot and backed WAY off. That killed the rest of his year. Same seems to be happening to AG.
    1. Papadeuce's Avatar
      Papadeuce -
      I just don't see a way that he stays. This is a great writeup to Martin!
    1. StickyD's Avatar
      StickyD -
      Gordon should go pro

      This message brought to you by Marcus Smart
    1. soazbnb's Avatar
      soazbnb -
      He's a lottery pick, and he should go. He should also play the rest of the year down low, in the post, and not even give defenses a chance to dare him into jump shooting. He's crafty enough and knows how to finish. With his quickness and explosive leaping, then he can help us win games by playing a true 4 on offense.
    1. tomspengler's Avatar
      tomspengler -
      Evaluating AG is such a complex topic.

      First off I love AG, except for maybe when he is a the free throw line. I agree with everyone that if your a lottery pick you go. Of course, there are very few 100% certain lottery picks. The draft is mostly about potential now, and reading those tea leaves is hard to do.... Dont forget the greatest NBA player of all time picked Kwame Brown #1 overall.

      The better questions about AG are perhaps is he as good as everyone expected, did he live up the hype, is he the best freshman to every play at UofA?

      I personally think that AG is better than most of our fans give him credit for. His defense is world class and so is his rebounding. Most importantly he generally brings the players around him up with his energy and unselfishness. However, his shooting has been so bad lately that it colors everything else he does negatively. One more made free throw at the end of the ASU game we are in triple OT.

      Has he lived up to the hype? No, but nobody could have. ESPN's freshman focus was stupid and I am impressed with how well AG has stayed focused on the team and winning given all the exposure. I mean, the kids stats are on the front page of ESPN's College basketball home page every day next to the other over hyped freshman.

      Finally, is he the best freshman in AZ history. Probably not, Bayless scored 20pts a game as a freshman and was the go to guy for big shots on that team. Mike Bibby shot 40% from three, dropped 13.5 points and 5 asts.. oh and won the title. Chase went for 15 a game with 6 boards and two asts, which just so happen to be the same numbers Sean Elliot put up. Of course Damon Stoudamire only scored 7 points and dished out 2.5 dimes his freshman year, and went on to be the NBA rookie of the year after 4 years as a Wildcat.

      Times have changed with the draft and potential is everything now. AG has crazy upside because of his athletic ability and his dedication and approach to the game. If I was a GM today with a lottery pick, I would take him. Then I would hire the best shooting coach in the world to spend 4 hours a day with him.
    1. ArizWildcat4life's Avatar
      ArizWildcat4life -
      Could Gordon use another year in college-yes. Should he stay another year in college-no. Gordon is a great player with incredible upside. A great player on the defensive end and a liability at times on the offensive end. It is rare for a player as hyped as he to come in with such a great attitude and team first mentality. You typically don't find freshmen like Aaron Gordon. Your dreams and millions of dollars await, that's not something most people would turn down. However, Gordon needs work with his offensive game and in the NBA its a lot about offense. He is used to being a star, the best player on a team with constant playing time. If you are not the complete package he will find himself in unfamiliar territory riding the bench and developing in the D-League but he can call himself an NBA player and a millionaire.
    1. ATX_Wildcat's Avatar
      ATX_Wildcat -
      Perspective anybody? This kid can't hit a 14-foot jump shot to save his immortal soul and his foul shooting is so bad that Coach Miller has to rotate him in and out at the end of close games so he doesn't end up at the line. To me, a lottery pick is someone you think will start 8+ seasons at the NBA level. A first round pick should start 3-5 seasons. Will AG develop better in the D-League or on an NBA bench than under Coach Miller? I say not likely, but the money is green so take it if you don't think another year or two in school will raise your game.

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