Aaron Gordon is already much more than a dunker, even if the casual fan hasn’t had much cause to pay attention to the Magic since he was selected in the 2014 lottery.
The “Butt Dunk” was one of the most ingenious Slam Dunk Contest entries ever. Ever. But Aaron Gordon is already much more than a dunker. Make no mistake, the bounce and energy behind Gordon’s slamming prowess is the central force in his overall game at this point: he puts his leaping ability and high activity level to good use in myriad ways, pursuing second-chance points, clearing the defensive glass, skying for the occasional weakside help block and even pushing the pace in transition by himself occasionally. Although Gordon was only a part-time starter in his second season, he got a lot done in the minutes he filled, grading out well in all of the major advanced stats. As he enters Year Three—and prepares to play for his fourth coach (counting interims) and alongside a host of new frontline additions—the 20-year-old Gordon looks poised to blossom from role player into priority. If he can continue to show progress on his corner three and playmaking for others, Gordon has a shot at being the type of versatile, do-everything forward that gives opponents nightmares. (Last year: Not ranked)
+ He is younger entering his third season than when Blake Griffin made his NBA debut
+ He led the Magic with 72 dunks last season, nearly double his next closest teammate
– He played the four most of last year, but will likely shift due to Ibaka, Biyombo's arrival
– Although he’s made strides at the line (up to 66.8% last year, there’s still work to be done