After a broken foot cost him nearly half of his rookie season, it was no surprise second-year man Aaron Gordon was on the Orlando Magic's Blue team for the Orlando Pro Summer League. Gordon, the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, showed flashes when he was on the court in his rookie season, dazzling with high-flying dunks and vicious blocks.
Heading into Summer League, many were excited to see Gordon and how he had improved since the end of the regular season. Gordon didn't disappoint, showing off an array of new, confident moves, including an improved jumper and supreme confidence with the ball in his hands.
In three games, Gordon averaged 21.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 blocks per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field and from beyond the arc. The performance made Gordon one of the more impressive players during the entire week.
Despite the individual success, Gordon was still disappointed. "Individually, I’m very happy with the way the work has shown with my game, but we lost too many games here, and that’s what it really comes down to," he said. "We lost too many. I’m just looking to continue to improve, continue to get better, and come back ready for training camp."
With training camp two and a half months away, Gordon has given himself a good foundation to continue to improve heading into the season. Gordon said he thought this week was a "big" stepping stone for the months ahead. "I put trust in my teammates, myself and the coaches, and that’s what it’s really all about," he said.
The second-year man's big week didn't go unnoticed either. NBA TV, which aired all 25 games live, listed Gordon on their "All-Summer League Team." Gordon joined Memphis' Russ Smith; Indiana's Joseph Young and Myles Turner; and Detroit's Stanley Johnson on the team.
Gordon, who's be been in gym seemingly since the end of the regular season, admitted he didn't know when the things he's been working on started to click. "It’s kind of just a long process, really. I’ve been able to just work, and work, and work and work and work and work and now, when it comes to the game, I just trust my work."
A former All-Pac-12 player as a freshman, Gordon attributed some of his improvement to work with teammates Elfrid Payton and Devyn Marble, saying the trio had been playing one-on-one and "threes" in Santa Barbra, California. "It’s just playing, man," he said. "It’s a long span of me getting on the floor without being injured. You get a good feel for the game. Now I understand I can get to a spot and just jump up over people. I can get to a spot and jump and shoot and not a lot of people can block it."
While Gordon said he plans on continuing his workouts, he also said he's going to get some time off. "I'm actually going to take a vacation in August," he said. "It'll be the first time I've vacationed in a long time. Going to Costa Rica, it should be nice."
Summer League was the perfect place for Gordon to get some actual game time under his belt. He's been behind the eight ball for a while after his foot injury last season, and is finally starting to come around and show why he was selected with the fourth pick in last year's draft.
He's put in a lot of work, and will continue to as the summer wears on. His strong week at Summer League is just the beginning to what could be a big year for the second-year high-flyer.