March 13, 2012

Future Timberwolves: Eric Gordon?

As we draw nearer to the NBA trade deadline 2 days from now, more and more rumors are flying around involving Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford, Michael Beasley, Pau Gasol, and just about every other player in the league it seems like.  At this point I get the feeling more and more that Minnesota is going to stand pat this week with the roster they have.  Unless they are overwhelmed by an offer for Beasley or Williams, I just don't see Kahn parting with either one of those guys with the team in this position in the Western Conference standings.  The return from a trade by the Wolves would probably be in the form of draft picks, and I would be surprised if the chemistry on this team is disrupted this week - even with the loss of Ricky Rubio.  Looking further ahead beyond this season and into the off-season, however, my eyes are set on one player: Eric Gordon.


If there is one player I would really like to see the Timberwolves go hard after this off-season, it would be New Orleans Hornets 2-guard Eric Gordon.  Gordon has played only 2 games this season due to arthroscopic knee surgery, but he could still play again before this season is over.  Gordon is a restricted free agent after this season, so New Orleans would be able to match any offer he gets from another team.  Hopefully, this injury would make the Hornets even more cautious on how much money they throw at him, but they would dumb not to pay him whatever they can to keep him for another year - with no other star-type players on the roster.  However, the Hornets are currently league-owned, which leads me to believe there would be some caution this off-season in terms of spending.  He is only 23 years old, already in his fourth season in the NBA after one season at the University of Indiana.

Eric Gordon averages 18.1 PPG for his career in 198 games - the last wing to average that many points for the Timberwolves was Wally Szczerbiak (20.1 PPG) in the 2005-06 season.  He shoots a solid 45.1% from the field and 37.1% from distance.  There is no doubt that Gordon is the pure scorer the Timberwolves desperately need to play along side Rubio and Love for many years.  He is athletic, and he can run, shoot, and create his own shots at will.  He's also a very consistent scorer - in 56 games last season, Gordon scored less than 10 points only 3 times.  Only 8 times in that span did he shoot more than 20 times in a game.  Kevin Love this season has taken more than 20 shots 13 out of 39 games (25.7 PPG)  This, to me, shows that he is a relatively efficient scorer.  He also shoots 5.1 free throws per game in his career, which would only trail Kevin Love on this year's roster (8.6/game - top 5 in the NBA) - 2nd is Ricky Rubio at 3.8.  His career PER (player efficiency rating) is 15.1, which would place him behind Love (24.9), Pekovic (21.9), Randolph (16.5), and Derrick Williams (15.8).

Although he seems to have all the physical abilities to be a good defender, other than his small size for a 2-guard (6'3", 222), it looks like he has struggled a little on the defensive end.  For his career he averages only 1.1 steals per game, which would actually put him 2nd on this year's team behind Rubio (2.2).  His career Defensive Rating is 113 points per 100 possessions.  Out of our current guards, JJ Barea has the lowest defensive rating so far this year at 108.  His career offensive rating of 110, however, would put him only behind Kevin Love (117) and Nikola Pekovic (116).

I think Gordon's game would go perfect with the nucleus we have right now of Rubio, Love, Pekovic, and Williams.  I wish I knew what it would take to get him this summer.  I would assume the Hornets will match any offers Gordon receives in free agency.  Gordon has, however, already turned down a contract extension this winter, meaning the Hornets may be in the market to trade him for assets.  The Wolves do have a couple extra future 1st round picks from Utah and Memphis in the next few years, as well as a few extra 2nd rounders.  Outside of Love, Rubio, and Pekovic, if I'm David Kahn I'm willing to give up about any amount of money and others on the current roster to get Eric Gordon this summer.  For now, let's stick with what we have and see how far we can go.

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