Eric Gordon’s Comeback Tour
Eric Gordon’s comeback began, in earnest, during the 2020-21 season. The season prior, 2019-20, he averaged 14.4 points per game on 36.9% shooting and 31.7% from three. It was the worst 3-point shooting season of his career outside of 2011-12 when he played all of nine games. When next to all of your value comes from 3-point shooting, it’s not a good idea to spend a season doing a Russell Westbrook impression.
In 2019-20, Gordon only played 36 games and was dogged by injuries. He came back healthy in 2020-21 and it showed. His field goal percentage rebounded to 43.3% and he posted a career-best 57.3% on 2-pointers. Unfortunately, his 32.9% 3-point shooting remained dismal, and he once again suffered injuries, only playing in 27 games.
If health had permitted, it’s very likely Gordon would have boosted his 3-point shooting over a larger sample, and his poor 2019-20 would have proved to be a one-year blip largely caused by injuries. Instead, he entered this season as an expensive aging player, with mounting health concerns, and a 3-point stroke more conducive to bricks than points.
Gordon wasted no time proving that he still had what it took to contribute to winning basketball. He shot 43.4% from 3-point range over his first 20 games and finished the season at 41.2%. His 3-point shooting resurgence came at little cost to the gains he made on 2-point attempts from the prior season. His 54.8% mark on 2-pointers was the second-best of his career.
At 33-years-old, Gordon posted the best effective field goal percentage of his career and made himself into an attractive trade candidate for contenders. While he wouldn’t end up being moved, he resuscitated his trade value and provided a young Rockets team with some much-needed veteran leadership. He only played 57 games, but much of that was due to strategic rest throughout the season and being shut down towards the end of the season when the team wanted to get an extended look at younger players. The 2021-22 season proved that Eric Gordon can still ball and eased concerns over his declining ability to stay healthy.