Thoughts on Eric Gordon’s Return to the Hornets

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Published: April 3, 2012

As I said on twitter a few days ago and many of us here at H247 have been speculating for a while, Eric Gordon will play at home against Denver on Wednesday evening.

It’s really happening. Eric Gordon, the man, the legend, the machine, will make his return.

I’m happy that the Hornets best player will return to action, and that we will hopefully get an extended look to better determine how Gordon fits with the current crop of players. While I find the talk of needing to see him in action to determine a proper contract complete hogwash, I do think that Demps and Williams will get invaluable tape of Gordon paired with with Jack, Vasquez, Aminu, Ariza, Ayon, Henry, Smith, and Thomas. Those are guys whose futures have yet to be definitively determined, and the way in which they play with Gordon, presumed to be the number one or number two for some time, will matter when the time comes for the team to decide if they fit.

I’m pumped to see, hopefully, what the lineup of Jack-Gordon-Ariza-Landry-Kaman can do. If they perform the way I expected them to all year, I’ll feel a lot better about my prediction that if the team stayed healthy they would have made the playoffs.

It’s also going to be nice to see some freaking jerseys in The Hive that aren’t Chris Paul or David West. I’ve talked to so many people who are waiting for Gordon to come back before buying a jersey, and I firmly believe that we’ll see a huge spike in Gordon jersey sightings shortly. It’s always nice when a plan comes together!

Perhaps most, I’m excited to see if I like watching Gordon play. I’ll be honest with you– I’m spoiled. Chris Paul spoiled me. By the end of his time here, I was just flat out excited to stop watching pick-and-rolls, even though I knew that they were probably the prettiest pick and rolls I’d ever have the privilege of witnessing. If I can get sick of that, what am I going to think when I get a prolonged look at Gordon? The optimist in me is why I’m excited, by the way. I think I’ll love the way Gordon balls. If his first two games are any indication, I won’t be disappointed.

Sigh…

That’s a lie, this year at least. There’s really a good chance I’m going to be disappointed in how Gordon plays this year, assuming it’s well. I try and try and try to think of reasons why I’m happy he’s back, but my best of efforts are overshadowed by two simple facts—Eric Gordon is really good and the Hornets have much less to gain this year by winning than they do by losing.

We all know damn well that if he’d been healthy all season long, a lot of those close games would have been wins. We know with certainty that we wouldn’t be ending games with Jason Smith standing outside the three point line asking himself, “How the hell am I the guy who gets the rock in this situation? Quick, someone take it! Oh crap, nobody else is that guy either. This isn’t going to go well…”, before launching up a ball that Mugsy Bogues could have blocked.

Enter Eric Gordon. He’d curl and get the ball off a screen, take a step back, jab step forward to get some space, and then hit that sweet fade-away jumper that we all know he’s capable of making and confident in taking.

The temporary exuberance that I’ll undoubtedly feel when Gordon single-handedly changes the outcome of what should have been yet another disappointing loss will be short lived. The reality of earlier will still exist— the Hornets have much less to gain by winning than they do by losing.

The realization that for the first time in my life I truly and honestly don’t want the Hornets to win games is a weird feeling. I’m extremely apprehensive about the best player on the team returning for no reason other than that he might actually lead my favorite team in the history of professional sports to victory.

I’m going to take a few laps as punishment. When I’m done I’ll take a shot of cheap whiskey, slap myself in the face, and take a good look in the mirror.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

26 comments
Ryan
Ryan

this is the first game of the season I'm actually looking forward to be in the hive finally we will get to see some glimpse of the our bright future ahead

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Finishing better or worse than Washington means we're picking either 5th or 6th at worse, that we have a 56 (ish, I can't recall exactly) vs 46(ish) chance at a top 3 pick. All I'm saying is that this is a sweet opportunity to lose a few games and maximize our chances to get a really good player next year. That's all. Then I'm all about winning. Hell, I thought we should try to win games this season in the beginning.

Zombian
Zombian

I for one am very happy I at least have fantasy basketball to divert my attention from my poor team this year. I can't wait until I can start watching games again and get legitimately pissed when the Hornets aren't winning or when espn refuses to acknowledge us as a good team.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Also, to those who want us to sit him. Gordon is going to be a RFA. We don't want to get the reputation of forcing guys to the bench during contract years so they can't go out, showcase themselves, and make the dough.

Zombian
Zombian

Good call. Hadn't thought of that.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

I don't want us to win to much either but as a STH I want to see the man play and his play has a great chance of determining how well we sell season tickets going into next year. Let's face it. We weren't going to finish 2nd behind Washington anyways. As long as we don't catch the group of Eastern 17-19 win teams I could care less if we go 7-6 on the way out.

D$
D$

really excited to see him play again, and i doubt it costs the hornets too many lotto balls...air gordon is gunna show us all that we will make the playoffs next year :)

CharmedHive
CharmedHive

You mentioned that we have more to lose by playing Gordon, and I totally agree with that. I think we'd be losing out on a lot besides maybe losing some ground on the lottery pick, but also, we're showing other teams that Gordon is healthy & still one of the top players around (if he does have play well) and when the offseason comes around, there will be multiple teams vying for him. And even if he didn't want to go there, if the team offers up a lot of money, we'd probably have to match or offer more... #losing.

504ever
504ever

We are the 3rd worst team in the NBA; we have 13 games left and a .245 winning percentage. That means we should win, an average 3.2 of those games without Gordon. Toronto is the 4th worst team in the NBA and 5 more wins that us. They have 13 games left and a .340 winning percentage. That means they should win, an average 4.4 of those games. [Their schedule is probably easier than ours, maybe enough to get another win. But let's ignore that.] Without Gordon, Toronto should finish 6 games ahead of us. Does anyone really think we will finish winning 6 more games, and go 9 of 13, because of Gordon? I don't.

504ever
504ever

Toronto just won tonight (over Charlotte). So now Gordon would have to win 7 additional games for us and we would have to go 10-3 for us to catch Toronto. Not happening!

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Logic and math in the same post- I love it! You are dead on with this too. Maybe Gordon is the difference between #2 and #3 (in lotto balls), but there is no way we are catching anybody else this late in the game. And who knows, maybe reincorporating Gordon makes us worse. This team has had no pecking order because they have had no stars. Maybe Gordon disturbs the cohisiveness early on.

Ron
Ron

"We ... are easily the most competitive out of the crappy 7 or so right now." Except that we lost (badly IIRC) at home back-to-back to two of those crappy teams. That speaks negative volumes about the Hornets competitiveness and mindset.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

I think there's a much better chance than I care to admit. We are almost beating playoff (or close) teams on the road right now. We have a few home games left and are easily the most competitive out of the crappy 7 or so right now. These teams have flagged it in by now while Monty can't allow our guys not to care cause getting guys to play hard is his best coaching asset.

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

Not sure what we expect to gain playing a guy that's miss this amount of time for 12 games in 3 weeks. I don't expect to see Gordon at 100% until next season. So I'm not sure how much info we plan to acquire about him, his value with this team, and/or chemistry with this roster.

Chuck
Chuck

My god, you're a downer. Way to ruin my Tuesday

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

It is admittedly different than my normal optimistic tone. I'll be back to normal soon!

David
David

Unfortunately (and fortunately, on one end) I'm pretty sure we are locked into that #3 spot. I don't think we can realistically go 8-4 down the stretch and catch up w/ Sacto or GS, and I don't think we can bottom out and and the Wiz can win enough games to pass us. I also think the ceiling for that Minny pick is #9. We need Portland to win some games!

Mason Ginsberg
Mason Ginsberg

I actually do think that we can pass (fall?) past the Wizards. They look at least marginally better after upgrading from Javale and Nick Young's ridiculous shot selection to Nene's interior presence, and their strength of schedule from here on out isn't that difficult. 7 of their remaining 13 games are against teams currently headed for the lottery, and their season finale comes at home against Miami, who could be locked into the #2 seed and resting their big 3 for that one. The Hornets are only one game better than them in the standings, so I definitely think it's possible. On the flip side, Minnesota currently has the 10th worst record (25-30), but I don't see any way they make up (lose?) enough ground to fall past Golden State (20-31) for 9th worst.

Brennan
Brennan

Me thinks Nene is injured though

cloud520
cloud520

Do we have any info on whether or not Gordon is staying with us next year?

saZam
saZam

haha those last few lines. You're too hard on yourself Joe.

AbsurdJoe
AbsurdJoe

I'm finally looking forward to a Hornets game. It's been way too long. Win or Lose, I want to see Gordon to show me that his knee is 100%. A lot is riding on that knee.

LSUhornet17
LSUhornet17

The one exception to to your secondary line of thinking is on Saturday. On Saturday, I hope he scores 40+ and we send the T-Wolves down a spiral from which they never recover. Other than that, yeah. I'm super excited to see him play (especially at home), but I also don't want it to end up costing us a spot or two in the lottery.

Mason Ginsberg
Mason Ginsberg

I'd also be okay with him delivering a dagger right in Kobe's grill on Monday night. Apart from that, though, I'm with both of you, as sad as it may be.