Grading the Houston Rockets this season: Eric Gordon

Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

After missing nearly half of the Houston Rockets’ games this season, Eric Gordon has had a mostly down season with some encouraging moments mixed in.

2018-19 Season: 16.2 PTS, 2.2 REB, 1.9 AST per game, 40.9 percent shooting2019-20 Season: 14.5 PTS, 1.9 REB, 1.5 AST per game, 37 percent shooting

Eye-opening Stat: 31.9 percent from 3-point range (his second-lowest in a season)

If there’s one player that will benefit the most from the unfortunate NBA hiatus, it will be Eric Gordon. Due to nagging knee issues throughout the season, Gordon has only been able to play in 34 of 64 total games for the Houston Rockets.

After showing up in nine of the team’s first 10 games, it was clear something was wrong with E.G. He shot just 28.7 percent from beyond the arc in that stretch while averaging 10.9 points per game, both well below his career averages of 37 percent and 16.6.

After a November victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Rockets made the wise decision to have a surgical procedure done on Gordon to remove debris from his knee. The procedure would cause the 31-year-old to miss 22 straight games as he recovered.

Given how much Gordon struggled to start the season, the real question many have pondered is how much of that was due to his nagging injury. For a closer look at that, let’s examine his numbers pre and post-surgery.

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In his first nine games before the surgery, Gordon made just 21 of 73 outside shots for 28.7 percent. Overall, he shot 34 of 110 for 31 percent from the field, which included a 4-for-19 opening game against Milwaukee and an 0-for-7 night against Brooklyn. In total, he averaged 10.9 points per game pre-surgery.

In his 25 games since having surgery, he’s been shooting better than he was. At 128-of-328, Gordon’s overall shooting percentage went up from 31 to 39 percent, his 3-point shooting has improved from 28.7 to 33.1 percent (71 of 214), and his overall scoring average has increased to 15.8 points per game since his surgery.

Grade: C +

While his shooting percentages still never got to where they should be, it’s clear that Eric still isn’t playing at 100 percent. Gordon played in four straight games upon returning to the court, but he still has been held out on occasion, likely due to the same injury concerns.

Gordon missed four games in February and was held out of two straight in March before scoring 16 in what became Houston’s last NBA game for the foreseeable future against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 10th.

E-Money proved he’s still capable of catching fire and taking over a game when he lifted the Rockets to an improbable victory over the Utah Jazz on the road by pouring in a career-high 50 points in late January.

Knee injuries are always delicate and tough to deal with, but time away from the game almost certainly will help Gordon shift back into the sniper everyone is used to him being.

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At 31-years-old, Eric still has plenty of time to get things turned around and becoming the invaluable sixth man he’s been in years past.