Eric Gordon and the Houston Rockets have gotten off to a slow start from downtown, but here’s why Gordon’s early struggles aren’t a cause for concern.
The Houston Rockets have had a concerning start to the 2019-20 season from behind the 3-point line. The Rockets are shooting 31 percent from deep on 47.8 3-point attempts per game. To put that in perspective, that is the most attempts they’ve ever averaged and the worst 3-point shooting percentage they’ve had in 30 years. In fact, the last time the Rockets shot 31 percent from deep was during the 1989-90 season in which they shot 31.2 percent from behind the arc.
Eric Gordon has played a large part in the Rockets’ shooting woes from deep, as he’s currently shooting 9.2 attempts per game, which represents 19.2 percent of the Rockets’ 47.8 attempts heading into Sunday’s game against the Miami Heat. Gordon is currently averaging a career-low 10.4 points per game on 23.9 percent from deep and 28.6 percent from the field. Although it’s a small sample size of five games, these are career-lows for Gordon across the board.
Fortunately for Rockets’ fans, Gordon has shown an ability to recover from a poor shooting start in the past. Through the first 14 games last season, Gordon averaged 13.9 points per game on 32 percent shooting from the field and 23.3 percent from deep. The Rockets went 7-7 in those games.
Despite the poor start to that season, Gordon was able to find his groove in the final 21 games, as he averaged 16.1 points per game on 45.1 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from deep. Not surprisingly, the Rockets went 18-3 in those games. Gordon went on to average 16.2 points per game on 36 percent from downtown on the season, which is remarkable considering how badly he was shooting to start the year.
Gordon’s 31.8 minutes per game are the fourth-most on the team, which is not surprising since he is one of Coach Mike D’Antoni’s favorites. To preserve his minutes, he will need to start knocking down more of his outside shots.
Gordon played at least 31 minutes per game in each of the previous two seasons, finishing within the top five of Rockets players in minutes per game during that time. In Gordon’s first year in Houston, 2016-17, he already played the third-most minutes on the team.
As evidenced by their past win-loss record when he’s shooting well, Gordon’s 3-point shooting will be a key component to the Rockets’ success. His shooting woes have been part of the reason the team is only 3-2 after five games.
Eric Gordon has shown in the past that he can come back and light it up from outside despite starting off slowly. For his sake and the sake of the team, let’s hope that improvement starts very soon.