The pick and roll should rehabilitate Eric Gordon’s game
Eric Gordon had the worst season of his career last year but in previous seasons he facilitated a lethal pick and roll partnership with the now-departed Clint Capela. It’s no coincidence that Gordon’s decline coincided with the Rockets’ abandonment of the pick and roll and the departure of Capela.
Having him rediscover his form won’t merely be important for the Rockets’ on-court production but also for the franchise’s future financial flexibility. In September of 2019, the Rockets and Gordon agreed to a four-year $75.6 million extension that only begins this season.
Gordon’s 2019-20 was so disastrous that he went from a valuable player on a title contender to a completely untradable asset. Another poor season from him and the Rockets will likely be stuck with Gordon no matter the direction of the franchise.
However, the pick and roll provides an avenue for Gordon to regain his value for the Rockets and also around the league. Last season, he averaged 1.01 points per pick and roll possession but only attempted two per game.
If the pick and roll can reinvigorate Gordon’s offense then lineups that feature the three-guard set of Harden, Westbrook, and Gordon could be one of the game’s deadliest. Last season the trio of OKC Thunder guards, Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder torched opponents for the league’s best net-rating, which provides a blueprint for how the Rockets can get to the next level.
Rehabilitating Gordon through the pick and roll could be the difference between the four-seed and the two-seed in the incredibly competitive West. However, if the Rockets decide to blow it up and start from scratch they’ll want Gordon to have shown enough to be able to move him for future assets and not be saddled with his contract until 2024.
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