The Magic selected Aaron Gordon with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday. Here’s a look at Gordon and how he fits with Orlando:
Bio: Arizona | Freshman | Power forward
Vitals: 6-9, 220 pounds
2013-14 stats: 12.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks, 49.5 FG%
Strengths: An outstanding athlete and leaper, Gordon is a hybrid forward who does a bit of everything well. His greatest strength is his defense, as he’s active and able to guard multiple positions effectively. With the NBA’s stylistic shift toward more positionally fluid frontcourts, Gordon can mesh with different lineups. He’s willing to mix it up on the inside and is strong on the glass, attacking the offensive boards for easy points. Gordon runs the floor with ease and has improved his shooting a bit. He’s also an above-average passer and a team player who doesn’t need the ball to be effective. What’s more, Gordon doesn’t turn 19 until September. Gordon calls to mind a taller Shawn Marion, and anything approaching the Matrix's career would be a great outcome.
Weaknesses: Gordon is not highly skilled scoring off the dribble, his jumper still needs a lot of work and he shot only 42.2 percent from the free throw line. He’s a tweener, and teams will have to decide how to develop him, whether it’s focusing first on fixing the jumper that would help him most at small forward or teaching him post moves that he could use more at power forward. There’s a chance Gordon never settles into a true position, which could limit his trajectory.
Team Fit:Gordon comes as a bit of a surprise here for Orlando, who were tied to Dante Exum, Noah Vonleh and Marcus Smart at the number four spot. But with the unenviable position of selecting right after the talented Wiggins-Parker-Embiid trio went off the board, the Magic go with one of the best athletes in the draft who should be able to contribute right away. He can play either the three or four, and though his scoring ability is unpolished, he should provide another nice piece for Orlando’s young front line.
Still, with Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson already on the roster, you wonder what Orlando’s plan is for Gordon, who’s a little smaller than all three but also a bit more versatile. He’s not a shooter or ready to handle small forward quite yet. Still, Gordon has emphasized his willingness to play a role and his desire to win at all costs. With Victor Oladipo and Gordon in consecutive years, the Magic have emphasized taking competitive, high-character athletes while figuring out their positional fit later. They pick again at No. 12.