2020 Orlando Magic Player Outlook: Aaron Gordon has to prove he can stay healthy

Aaron Gordon's season is over as the Orlando Magic have sent him home from the campus to better rehab his strained left hamstring. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
Aaron Gordon's season is over as the Orlando Magic have sent him home from the campus to better rehab his strained left hamstring. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

If Aaron Gordon stays healthy and proves he is an improved offensive player, then he might still be apart of the Orlando Magic’s future.

In the past few seasons, the narrative for Aaron Gordon has completely changed.

He went from being one of the most exciting, up and coming stars for the Orlando Magic to a player who some believe has hit his ceiling and has to be traded. the star potential for Aaron Gordon is dimming even at 25 years old as inconsistency and injuries have clouded his career.

Essentially every list that looks at players who need a change of scenery seems to include Gordon.

The 2020 season was undoubtedly a disappointing one. Gordon was a dark horse candidate to become an All-Star and even Magic fans were excited for his potential following a strong showing in his first playoffs. If the Magic were going to climb out of the Eastern Conference’s middle and compete for homecourt advantage, it was seemingly on Gordon’s shoulders.

He struggled from the beginning. Playing through injuries hindered his play and kept him from reaching that potential.

Whether or not Gordon is a good player is not the question that must be answered this season. But rather the question he and the Magic face is if he can stay healthy enough to prove he still has room to grow and show he can still be part of this team’s future.

The talent is still there. He just has to put everything together.

With Jonathan Isaac out for the season with a torn ACL, the stage is completely Aaron Gordon’s at the power forward position to showcase himself.

Last season was evidence of that claim that health was the central story of Gordon’s 2020 season.

Before the All-Star Break, Gordon averaged 14.2 points per game on 42.4-percent shooting. He also averaged 7.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.5 steals a game.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

These numbers were a major step back for Gordon — even his defense stepped back. But he also dealt with a multitude of injuries.

In the Magic’s third preseason game, Gordon got an elbow to the jaw and had to miss a week of training camp. He then sprained his ankle just 14 games into the season. He returned after a three-game absence but was clearly struggling to regain his rhythm.

Gordon admitted after a game in December that he was still experiencing tightness in his leg. He was clearly not playing at 100-percent.

Then after the All-Star Break and healthy, he averaged 15.4 points per game on 48.7-percent shooting from the field. He also averaged 8.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1 steal, and 1.2 blocks per game while recording the first triple-double of his career. He played even better in the bubble as he averaged 15.3 points per game on 45-percent shooting from beyond the arc on 11 total field goal attempts per game.

He seemed poised to have another strong postseason before another injury ended his season.

Kyle Lowry hit him across the midsection as he went up for a dunk, causing Aaron Gordon to land awkwardly and strain his hamstring. Despite his best efforts to return, he never could get to a place where he could play for long enough stretches and left the bubble before the playoffs began.

This continued a long trend of injuries derailing any positive momentum for Gordon throughout his career — from a broken leg his rookie year to a broken jaw his second year to the ankle and hamstring injuries that plagued him in 2020.

Gordon has still been chasing his potential and looking for stability as much as anything else. But last season showed that when healthy, Gordon can be a great player and contribute to a team in many different ways.

Gordon has to prove that he can stay healthy.

But he will have the opportunity to do so this season, especially with the news that Al-Farouq Aminu has suffered a setback with his torn meniscus last January. Then with Isaac out, the Magic are thin in the frontcourt, so Gordon has become very valuable to the Magic and will likely have this full season to remind everyone what he can do.

There are still questions about whether Gordon and Isaac can ultimately play together. That makes how Gordon develops and how he plays this season vital to answering that question and sorting out where the Magic go next as they begin to retool.

Overall this season brings a lot of questions, but this season cannot be considered a throwaway because it can also answer a lot of those questions.

Gordon’s questionable future is one that will be answered.

Next. Orlando Magic still need to target a scorer in a trade. dark

If Gordon stays healthy and proves that he is an improved offensive player, then he might still be apart of this team’s future. But if he plays poorly and gets injured again, it might seal his fate and get traded as Isaac will be ready to return during the 2022 season as the front office is starting to put their touch on this roster.