Recent ranking illustrates how Rockets fleeced Clippers at trade deadline

Houston Rockets v Portland Trail Blazers
Houston Rockets v Portland Trail Blazers / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

As Eric Gordon prepares for a fresh start with a new franchise, fans and analysts can't stop thinking about how the Phoenix Suns got him on such a bargain deal. Gordon signed a two-year deal worth $6.5 million in total, which is a far cry below what he could've reportedly landed with the Los Angeles Lakers and other contending teams.

After several bumpy seasons of the Rockets' rebuild, the 2022-23 season was Gordon's last with the franchise. Evaluations on the shooting guard position proved to be unkind and flat-out disrespectful to the former Houston Rockets guard.

The 34-year-old averaged 11 points on 42.3 percent from long-range after being traded to the LA Clippers posting a career-best 62.9 percent true shooting. On the season, Gordon averaged 12.4 points, 44.6 percent from the floor, and 37.1 percent from three.

In the playoffs, Gordon provided a steady hand for the Clips, averaging 10.2 points on 34.5 percent from deep and started all five games.

In spite of that, Gordon was nowhere to be found in the most recent ranking of the league's best shooting guards, which was concocted by HoopsHype's Frank Urbina.

The first thought that came to mind is the fact that it seems criminal that Gordon wouldn't make a list of the top-24 players at his position. 

Then another point arose: the Clippers got taken advantage of at the trade deadline. They traded a first-round pick swap to get Gordon because they thought Gordon was one of the better shooting guards in the league. They legitimately thought he'd make an impact for them and moved down ten spots in the draft.

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But those days are essentially over. Which is why no team was willing to give up first-round draft capital for Gordon. For years, the Rockets have been trying to land something better than a second-round pick (or haul of second-round picks) and couldn't.

The Rockets knew this and gladly agreed to take the first-round pick, which culminated in the Rockets landing a lottery-level talent in Villanova's Cam Whitmore. 

Meanwhile the Clippers declined the option to guarantee Gordon's 2023-24 salary and watched him sign with a Western Conference foe. 

That doesn't seem optimal. 

Although Gordon no longer plays in Houston, Rockets fans will continue to keep up with him throughout his career, much like many of them have done with James Harden. Whitmore will be the ultimate proof of just how much the Clippers got robbed at the deadline in trading first-round draft capital for a guard that couldn't crack the top-24 in the league at his own position. 

And if Gordon rises in the rankings and walks away with a championship, that'll be a tough pill to swallow for the Clippers.