3 players Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon should study before season begins

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Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic enter the season with playoff hopes but a lot of questions about the team’s future beyond it. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Aaron Gordon may need to watch some film on these three historical power forwards before he laces them up and goes back to work on Christmas Day. 

Will the real Aaron Gordon please stand up?

Most fans in Central Florida still have hope for their 2014 first-round fourth overall selection. The hope is that Aaron Gordon can morph into an All-Star level player for the Orlando Magic and help the team get out of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

That help is desperately needed at this point because the Magic have shown the ability to make it to the playoffs without him morphing into an All-Star, but Nikola Vucevic needed an All-Star level contributor alongside him in consecutive playoff appearances.

The Magic have understood that their best path forward is internal development. And Gordon has shown plenty of flashes of outright stardom — from his 40-point games in 2018 to his stellar defensive play in 2019 to his versatility and playmaking in 2020. He just has never put all these pieces together at the same time or consistently.

It is evident Gordon has some personal goals after he went to the dunk contest only to get robbed and be labeled the people’s champ of the competition. Gordon views himself as a star in a way — he is the only player on the team with a signature shoe signing with Chinese upstart 361 Degrees.

And as most top-five draft picks do, he probably has goals to win a championship for the team that selected him back in 2014. There is certainly pressure to achieve that goal with two years remaining on his contract and Jonathan Isaac waiting in the wings seemingly crowding him at power forward.

But how does Gordon get to those team goals he has set for himself?

It all starts and ends with what you give the game. They say it is better to give than to receive and Gordon has to give time to watch some of the best power forwards to play in order to begin to accomplish some of his goals.

Zach Lowe of ESPN named Gordon one of the players in the league that needs to have a better year. He has taken to saying Gordon’s game is a push and pull between his star instincts — he trained with Kobe Bryant last offseason and has gotten into trouble with his inefficient isolation and dribble pull-up game — and his defensive instincts. Most fans would compare Aaron Gordon to a player like Draymond Green or Shawn Marion.

Either way, his 2020 season was not anything that he wanted. His scoring dropped to 14.4 points per game although he still averaged 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Gordon’s field goal percentage, more alarmingly, dropped to 43.7-percent overall and 30.3 -percent from beyond the arc.

Gordon still has a lot of pieces to put together.

If he wants to realize his potential, he has to model himself after some of the best players and find his niche that fits his skill set.