Aaron Gordon Rumors

Draft Notes: Parker, Saric, Ennis, Gordon

April 17 at 10:32am CDT By Chuck Myron

There were dozens of scenarios in play for June’s draft order entering the final night of the regular season, as I outlined Wednesday, but many of them remain unresolved. Random drawings set for Friday will break the four ties shown in our Reverse Standings, while the May 20th draft lottery looms for the top of the order. Until then, here’s the latest on a handful of the top prospects:

  • Jabari Parker would go right to the top of the 2015 prospect rankings if he chooses to stay at Duke for his sophomore year, opines Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who answered reader questions in a chat Wednesday.
  • Dario Saric’s agent said the matter of whether his client will remain in the draft or withdraw will have much to do with their confidence that he’d be drafted in the top 10 or 14 picks. However, most teams would want to know for sure that he’d play in the NBA next season before committing a top-10 pick to him, as Ford writes in the same chat.
  • Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis is going with agent Mike George of Excel Sports Management for his representation, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
  • Another projected lottery pick, Arizona forward Aaron Gordon, is set to sign with BDA Sports, reports Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star (Twitter link).
  • Purdue sophomore A.J. Hammons will return to school rather than entering this year’s draft, the Boilermakers announced. The center is the 40th-best prospect on the list that Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress compiles, while Ford puts him 72nd.

Aaron Gordon Declares For Draft

April 15 at 3:08pm CDT By Chuck Myron

TUESDAY, 3:08pm: Gordon has formally declared for the draft, the school announced (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 8:04am: Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon has decided to enter this year’s NBA draft, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who adds that a formal announcement will come this week. The move is no surprise, as Spears reported late last month that the highly touted forward was strongly leaning toward turning pro.

Gordon is No. 6 in the prospect rankings that Chad Ford of ESPN.com compiles, and he’s No. 8 with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. He averaged 12.4 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Wildcats, who missed out on a trip to the Final Four with a one-point overtime loss to Wisconsin. Gordon scored just eight points on 3 of 11 shooting in that game, but he nonetheless grabbed 18 boards.

He suffers from the lack of a well-defined position, as our Eddie Scarito pointed out when he examined Gordon last month as part of our Prospect Profile series. He also shot just 42.2% from the free throw line. The 18-year-old possesses outstanding athleticism and plenty of upside, so it’ll be intriguing to see which lottery team banks on his improvement in the years to come.

Draft Notes: Staten, Gordon, Wiggins, Parker

March 30 at 12:29pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Juwan Staten is going to return to West Virginia for his senior year, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Staten’s father, Billy, told ESPN.com that Staten, who averaged 18.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 5.8 APG, that his son would come back to Morgantown.  Staten had started his college career at Dayton before transferring to West Virginia after his freshman season. He averaged 7.6 PPG as a sophomore, but had a breakout campaign this past season, writes Goodman. Chad Ford of ESPN.com had Staten slotted as a late second round pick or going undrafted in June.

More from the college ranks:

  • Barring a last second change of heart, Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon is likely to declare for the NBA Draft, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Gordon is currently ranked seventh on Chad Ford of ESPN.com‘s Big Board, and you can check out our prospect profile on Gordon here.
  • Spears also ran down his top ten NBA prospects that competed in the NCAA Tournament in a separate article.
  • Andrew Wiggins‘ last game wasn’t a very impressive performance. He only scored four points, and made one out of six shot attempts. Tom Moore of Calkins Media doesn’t think it will hurt Wiggins’ draft stock amongst NBA scouts. Moore believes the player will be judged on his overall body of work and future potential. The article uses the final game of Michael Carter-Williams as an example, where the potential Rookie of the Year only scored two points and missed five of six shots. If you want a better look at Wiggins, you can check out his prospect profile.
  • Another player we have profiled, Jabari Parker, might not enter the draft this year despite being a guaranteed top three selection. If he doesn’t, it will weaken this year’s draft significantly, as well as lower the margin for error for teams picking in the lottery, writes Mitch Lawrence of The New York Daily News.

Draft Rumors: Wiggins, Vonleh, Randle, Saric

March 25 at 8:48pm CDT By Charlie Adams

The latest mock draft from Jake Henson of Sheridan Hoops runs down Henson’s take on the likely 2014 lottery picks. Each player has a best and worst case scenario player comparison, and Henson opines that Andrew Wiggins‘ ceiling is around Tracy McGrady‘s talents, while his floor might project around Rudy Gay‘s skills. Let’s round up the latest rumors on the 2014 NBA draft:

  • Front offices around the league are intrigued by Noah Vonleh‘s size and upside, writes Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider link). He might not be polished enough to have a strong rookie year, but it’s possible he has more potential than Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon, says Ford. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders says he would still take Randle over Vonleh (on Twitter).
  • Kyler goes on to peg Randle as a mix between Zach Randolph and Paul Millsap (Twitter link). Randle has averaged 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in his freshman year at Kentucky.
  • Dario Saric isn’t entering the 2014 draft, and Kyler believes his decision was based on money. Given the talent of this year’s draft class, Kyler notes Saric is due for a higher selection and a bigger payday if he waits to enter the draft until next season (Twitter links).
  • Ford, in another Insider piece, passes along that Wiggins is believed by executives around the league to be the number one pick, pending an absolute clean bill of health from Kansas teammate Joel Embiid.
  • Scouts believe Aaron Gordon is likely to return for his sophomore year at Arizona, says Ford, but the same scouts say if he declares for the draft, he’s likely to be selected as a mid-to-late first-round pick. Hoops Rumors’ Eddie Scarito recently profiled Gordon’s game.
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe argues that the days of the polished NBA rookie are dying, as most one-and-done players who enter the league now need a few years to develop their game. Washburn points to the NCAA tournament performances of Wiggins, Marcus Smart, and Jabari Parker as evidence.

Prospect Profile: Aaron Gordon

March 23 at 8:04pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Aaron Gordon entered this season at Arizona as one of the higher profile freshman in this year’s crop. Though he slipped out of the can’t-miss prospect category early in the season, it hasn’t changed the fact that he is an intriguing athletic talent, and an almost assured lottery pick. Gordon has been referred to as a “video-game” athlete capable of making plays that nobody else can, a quality that hints at him becoming a potential future star in the NBA. He currently is ranked No. 7 on Chad Ford of ESPN.com‘s Big board, and is sitting at No. 8 in the latest mock draft by Draft Express, and No. 19 in NBA Draft.net‘s. This illustrates just how divisive his potential is amongst scouts.

Gordon, in 34 games, has averaged 12.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.9 BPG in 30.9 minutes per contest, and hasn’t “wowed” scouts like many expected. He was promised to play the small forward position this season by coach Sean Miller and has spent most of his time there. The problem is that Gordon hasn’t shown he can really shoot the ball from deep effectively. His slash line is .481/.308/.435. Some NBA scouts have pegged him as one of those “dreaded tweeners.” Gordon has displayed the ability to handle the ball often and pass well, which can make him effective in the right system.

At 6’8″ and 210 pounds, this 18 year-old has the height and athleticism to play power forward, but scouts question if he possesses the strength to do it successfully for long stretches, and over 82 games. Some have likened him to last year’s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett. Like Bennett, Gordon is a combo forward, which is a polite way of saying that he lacks a natural position. He doesn’t have a traditional small-forward’s body or game, and isn’t the interior power player you typically get with NBA 4s.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report points out that not many recent first-round combo forwards have been successful—or at least they haven’t made a positive impression early on. He cites Bennett, Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams, combo forwards who went No. 2 in their respective drafts, or even Thomas Robinson, a No. 5 pick, as examples of these types of players that have struggled to break through the barrier and find success in the NBA.

Offensively, Gordon has struggled this season. According to Matt Moore of CBSSports.com, Gordon is in the 12th percentile for jump shots, 15th percentile in post-up situations, and 13th percentile in offensive putbacks. That last category is the biggest concern, opines Moore. You can improve your jump shot and post game with hard work and coaching. But someone with Gordon’s wingspan and athleticism should be producing more points on putbacks. Much of what he seems to struggle with is how short his jumps are on both inside attempts and offensive rebounds, based on little to no power being spent from this legs, according to the article. Moore does believe that can be corrected through mechanics or building up core and leg muscle in the NBA.

Gordon is a decent spot-up shooter, as his three-point percentage in a small number of attempts indicates, but his value in pick-and-roll situations is limited to roll-only offense, opines Peter Bukowski of SI.com. He hasn’t demonstrated the shooting skill to be effective in pick-and-pop situations, the article observes. Gordon is actually a solid dribble-drive player, but teams don’t have to play him for the shot, so they can give him space while not biting on any shot fakes. When he gets into the paint though, Gordon is a beast. He can elevate and dunk over defenders, or simply lay it in, as he is a strong finisher. He has phenomenal body control that allows him to use his great length and 40-plus vertical in traffic to score. In this regard he has been compared to Blake Griffin, though he doesn’t have Griffin’s overpowering strength. It also doesn’t help Gordon’s overall production that he is a terrible free throw shooter.

He has been excellent defensively, ranking No. 2 in the Pac-12 in defensive wins shares (3.0), which estimates the number of wins a player contributes to his team due to defense. With quick feet and long arms, defense might actually carry over as a strength for Gordon, something few college combo forwards can make a claim to in the NBA, according to the article by Wasserman. Draft Express’ Mike Schmitz said of Gordon, “He gives you so many things that coaches love. I think he might be the most versatile defenders in the country. His feet are so quick. He works really hard to contest shots, he covers so much ground. He’s just a smart, intelligent kid. Defensively, he’ll be able to get on the floor right away.”

Arizona coach Sean Miller also weighed in, saying, “I’ve never had such a young player be so locked in and capable on the defensive end. While it’s hard to argue that an NBA should draft a lockdown defender so high in such a loaded draft, the thought is Gordon’s offensive skillset has only scratched the surface. He guards multiple players each game. In Aaron’s case, he plays the low post, against a post player, and then he turns around and guards perimeter players. I can say that I don’t think any that I’ve coached have been successful as a freshman doing that.

Aaron Gordon is an intriguing NBA prospect, but is also a big risk based on not having a well-defined NBA position. He doesn’t have the offensive game yet to be a starting small forward, and isn’t strong enough to be an every-game power forward. Athletically he compares favorably with Griffin and Kenneth Faried, but lacks their strength and bulk. Gordon is still a teenager, and he has a sturdy frame, so he should be able to add muscle. But if it affects his overall athleticism, it would produce diminishing returns. He has a wealth of upside, but he’s an extremely risky top ten pick in such a deep draft. In my opinion, Gordon could benefit greatly from another year in school, but the lure of the NBA will be too tempting for him. Despite all his flaws, I still see him being taken in the 7-12 range.

Draft Rumors: Gordon, Parker, Wiggins

March 17 at 1:49pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Chad Ford of ESPN.com has used his insider-only “Tank Rank” column to pass along rumors connected the plans that teams have for this season, but this week’s edition is all about how clubs view the top prospects for the draft. We’ll pass along the highlights from Ford here:

  • The Celtics and Jazz are high on Arizona power forward Aaron Gordon, according to Ford.
  • Ford consistently hears that the Pistons would draft Jabari Parker No. 1 overall if they scored the No. 1 overall pick. That seems to assume that Joe Dumars would still be in charge of the team’s basketball operations, which isn’t a given.
  • The Pelicans believe Parker would be the “perfect fit” for them, Ford writes.
  • The Cavs envision using Andrew Wiggins, a small forward, as a shooting guard next to Kyrie Irving if they’re able to land the Kansas star, Ford suggests.
  • If the Magic wind up with the No. 1 overall pick, they’d probably use it on Wiggins, Ford writes, identifying Dante Exum and Marcus Smart as others the team will likely target.
  • The Lakers appear to have Joel Embiid, Wiggins, and Exum as their top three prospects, according to Ford, who pegs Parker fourth and Julius Randle fifth on L.A.’s board.

Draft Notes: Parker, Gordon

February 8 at 9:01pm CDT By Cray Allred

Jabari Parker‘s Duke team played at Boston College tonight, and Celtics GM Danny Ainge was spotted in attendance by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, presumably to get a look at the forward (Twitter link). Parker did not disappoint, totaling career highs in points (29) and rebounds (16) for the Blue Devils. Here are some more notes surrounding the upcoming draft:

  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe covers Parker‘s looming decision to enter the draft or not, and weighs opinions on whether his skill set will translate to the level of an NBA franchise player, potentially for the Celtics.
  • Jake Henson of Sheridan Hoops updated his mock draft lottery, slotting Kansas freshman Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins in the first and second slots, respectively.
  • Matt Moore of CBS Sports thinks that Aaron Gordon‘s talent level is so high, he could have gone first overall in last year’s draft. Moore gives a thorough rundown for Gordon’s game and stellar upside, while also pointing out some of his current weaknesses.

Draft Rumors: Embiid, Exum

February 4 at 6:43pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Here’s the latest we’ve come across regarding the 2014 NBA Draft:

  • Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com (via Jeff Goodman of ESPN) tweets that Kansas center Joel Embiid is leaning toward staying another year in school. If true, this significantly impacts the 2014 draft, as the 7’0 big man has been projected by some to be the number one overall pick in June.
  • In a piece for Zagsblog, Zagoria mentions that there are some sources close to the Kansas program who believe that Embiid would prefer to stay in school, although they also think the opportunity to play in the NBA next year may eventually be too great to pass up.
  • In that same article, NBA analyst Greg Anthony tells Zagoria that he thinks Embiid should return to Kansas for another season: “(Joel’s) instincts aren’t where you want them to be. At (the NBA) level, they don’t teach, they coach…Our league drafts potential, it doesn’t draft a polished, finished product. I think a lot of these kids are really, really good and really talented but a lot of them could use another year.”
  • Anthony applied the same logic to other heralded collegiate freshmen, including Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon“I would say that Jabari’s probably the most polished of all of them…And listen, it’s gonna be hard for them not to come out, I get that part. But it wouldn’t hurt any of them to come back to school…I’m a proponent of guys being able to come out of high school. I think these kids are more talented than the draft we had a year ago, but you want them to be a little bit more polished when they come here.
  • Prospective 2014 lottery pick Dante Exum made it recently known that he’d like to be drafted by the Lakers next June, getting the ball rolling on speculation that his representation might try to find a way to dissuade undesired teams from drafting him. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders doesn’t put any faith into the idea that Exum’s agent can force the Australian point guard’s way to Los Angeles, adding that the rookie contract scale removes a lot of power out of the agent’s hands during the draft process. Overall, Kyler believes Exum’s comment has been blown out of proportion and warns not to read into it too much at this point, especially since Exum has yet to meet with a single team (All Twitter links).

Odds & Ends: Jackson, Gordon, Draft

December 11 2013 at 10:51pm CDT By Charlie Adams

As tonight’s games start to wind down, let’s take a look at a few miscellaneous tidbits from around the NBA:

  • Josh Cohen from OrlandoMagic.com examines a few potential trade scenarios that he suggests might make sense for a variety of teams around the Association. Among the interesting ideas: Rajon Rondo to the Kings and Luol Deng and Joakim Noah to the Trail Blazers.
  • Assistant Clippers coach Tyronn Lue reached out to recent-signee Stephen Jackson three weeks ago in an attempt to recruit him to the team, Andrew Perna of RealGM reports. Jackson made his Clippers debut tonight, playing 12 minutes in a Clippers win.
  • There’s a chance highly regarded prospect Aaron Gordon stays at Arizona rather than entering the 2014 draft, Chad Ford of ESPN.com suggested today as part of a chat with readers.
  • While the upcoming draft might be chock-full of highly regarded prospects, Shaun Powell of Sports on Earth describes the 2013 NBA Draft as potentially one of the worst classes in history. Powell breaks down the lottery selections and analyzes the contributions they’ve made to their respective clubs thus far.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post

Draft Rumors: 2015, Parker, Wiggins, Exum

November 15 2013 at 4:31pm CDT By Chuck Myron

A pair of players widely considered to be among the five best draft picks for 2015 made their college choices today, with Jahlil Okafor headed to Duke and Cliff Alexander bound for Kansas. Longtime recruiting analyst Tom Konchalski told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that if Okafor picked Duke, it might influence top 2014 prospect Jabari Parker to stay an extra year in school so he can play with his AAU teammate. That would be quite a surprise, but there’s plenty of time left before Parker and other potential 2014 early entrants have to decide whether to declare for the draft, so a lot can happen. Here’s the latest on the 2014 class:

  • Tuesday’s talent showcase at the Champions Classic was quite a spectacle, but it didn’t help at least one GM draw any conclusions, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick“To be honest, I think (Tuesday) night muddied the waters even more,” the unnamed GM said.
  • Another GM gave Amick his top five prospects: Andrew Wiggins, Parker, Dante Exum, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle. That’s the same top five that a GM listed for Zagoria, though it’s unclear whether those are different GMs or the same one.
  • Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times compares the 2014 draft class to the one that came 20 years before it, opining that Wiggins, Parker and Randle are analogous to Glenn Robinson, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill, the top three picks from 1994 (Twitter link).