Editor’s Note: As we get closer to the draft, it’s time to talk about possible draft picks for the Hornets. Over the next month, we will preview guys that could end up going to the Hornets at either picks number 9, 24, or 45, culminating in two mock drafts. Also during this time span, we will preview other options the Hornets have such as trading picks or available free-agents. Stick with us for original analysis and predictions all summer long!
Player Essentials: Aaron Gordon
Strengths: Aaron Gordon, to put it simply, is a fantastic athlete. He has the ability to elevate with ease, explode off of the ground, and outrun defenders down the basketball court. From an athleticism standpoint, few can match what Gordon can bring, much less anyone in this year’s draft class. If he is indeed drafted by the Hornets, it will be interesting to see how a grounded Al Jefferson and a high-flying Aaron Gordon could mesh on the floor together.
Weaknesses: One of the biggest knocks on Gordon is his size. Standing at 6’9” and 225 pounds, the Arizona product will really struggle to compete on the block against bigger power forwards. Even Hornets’ forward Josh McRoberts, who is by no means a physical specimen, weighs fifteen pounds more than Gordon. While he will get stronger over the course of his career, Gordon will struggle when he first starts to play against NBA bodies in the paint next season.
To add to his size issues, Aaron Gordon’s offensive abilities are very limited at this stage in his career. Unlike the traditional NBA post-player, Gordon lacks a prolific hook-shot or post-moves, scoring just 7.9% of his points in college off of his post game. Gordon also struggles to score off of the bounce and doesn’t have the ability to shoot the long-ball to extend defenses.
While I would be cautious of drafting a player like Gordon because of his offensive limitations, there have been a few successful big-man in the league that have relied on their athleticism to be productive in the NBA such as Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and DeAndre Jordan, just to name a few. Nevertheless, for a team like Charlotte that wants to win now, it might be best if the team went with a more proven offensive talent at the power forward spot next season.
Even though the Hornets already have an offensive minded big-man in Al Jefferson, I would stay away from Gordon in this year’s draft if I were GM Rich Cho. In 2011, Charlotte decided to trade for an athletic but offensive nightmare in Bismack Biyombo, and I don’t think that the Hornets could afford to make the same mistake with a similar player in 2014. Don’t get me wrong, Gordon could turn out to become a fantastic NBA player in a few years, but he is not a good fit for Charlotte at this stage in his development.
Lead Hornets Writer: Jonathon Hoppe