The NBA's suspended season and impending restart is unlike any year in league history, but in a way, it's certainly fitting for Rockets guard Eric Gordon.
The 12-year veteran has experienced a fit of stops and starts in 2019-20. Gordon underwent knee surgery in November and missed 22 games, and his injury woes didn't stop when he returned on Dec. 29. Gordon missed six of the Rockets' last 12 games as he battled ankle and shin ailments, and his play suffered when he was on the floor. But entering Orlando, Gordon says he's now healthier than he's been all season.
"I’m happy that I’m back to full health," Gordon told the media on a Zoom call on Wednesday. "I feel like I’m in a really great place. I’ve been working out for a while, I’m in good shape. I look forward to getting back out there."
2019-20 certainly marked the low point of Gordon's career, unfortunate timing given his four-year, $76 million extension signed in Oct. 2019. Gordon is shooting a career-low 37% from the field in 2019-20, and he's posting his lowest scoring average since 2014-15. Yet the Indiana product is confident better health will lead to better production. He can quickly become a dynamic weapon alongside James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
"I think my game compliments everybody on this team," Gordon said. "I’m not a person who needs the ball. It’s all about me being complimentary. For me, I just fit the style of play. I shoot, I get to the basket, I play [defense], that’s what I like to bring to the table every game."
Gordon's talent didn't suddenly evaporate in 2019-20. He remains a talented third scorer–as evidenced by his 50-point night in Utah on Jan. 27–and previous postseason play suggests the best is yet to come for the Indiana product.
The Rockets were able to push the Warriors to the brink with Gordon at his best in 2018. There's no reason they couldn't do the same against the Lakers or Clippers if Gordon is healthy and productive . But the strong nights have been few and far between in 2019-20. Gordon's stands as a true x-factor for Houston entering the 2020 playoffs.