New Orleans Pelicans Top Charlotte Hornets, Eric Gordon Bottoming Out

Published: November 5, 2014

The New Orleans Pelicans played their first ever game against the Charlotte Hornets 100-91, and it was all it promised to be: fun, silly, entertaining, full of bad basketball, filled with chances to see Anthony Davis do his thing, and well worth the price of admission.

Going back to the questions posted pre-game:

  • Can Alexis Ajinca keep his fouling under control?
    • Nope. 5 minutes, 5 fouls. He’s been a foul machine. He’s a decent player otherwise, but he’s only a minus if he can’t stay on the court, and for many reasons.
  • How will Jimmer Fredette score his first field goal for the Pelicans?
    • I still have no idea. Dismissing little mistakes on defense, he sagged too much for my tastes. He did have a couple of nice moments. On offense, he set people up a couple of times who failed to knock down the shot, but he took 0 shots in 14 minutes. I can only surmise that he is trying to be a team player.
  • Is this the game where Tyreke Evans actually shoots a fireball, and (bonus) would that be a foul?
    • Tyreke had a great game despite a pair of early fouls that limited his minutes a bit. My favorite part of the game was the first of those fouls. He caught a long pass with just Kemba Walker between him and the basket. I was excited for the finish, but I was more excited to see Evans level him. Tyreke leveled him. I laughed.

I’m sure the other guys, and some of you, can go on and on about a number of things to see in this game alone or recent games as a batch. Me, I’m going to look very carefully at the recent play of Eric Gordon. Then, I’m going to complain.

Entering the night, basketball reference had 45 players entering night averaging at least 30 minutes per game that are described by them as guards of some type. Eric Gordon is in the bad half of this group of players in many categories, and much worse than that in too many.

Let’s start with the good and work our way down, again, entering this game:

  • Best 25%:
    • 0.7 blocks per game
  • Second 25%:
    • 1.3 steals per game
    • 4.3 rebounds per game
  • Third 25%:
    • 2.7 turnovers per game
    • 2.7 fouls per game
  • Worst 25%:
    • 6.3 points per game (2nd)
    • 0.3 assists per game (1st)
    • 1.3 free throws per game (1st)
    • 2.0 2P per game
    • 0.3 3P per game
    • 2.3 FG per game (tied 1st)

The above was based on 34.3 minutes per game, or 103 total minutes.

I know some people are going to balk at using per game stats, but they have a place . . . like when you are comparing what players give you in a game rather than comparing what players can give you, for example. Here, the stats reveal that there is something very wrong. Let’s add tonight’s numbers into the mix: 0 of 6 from the field, 4 of 4 from the line, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, in 28 minutes. None of this greatly changes the message.

Something is wrong.

It could be health, attitude, role, or luck. I’m ruling out luck for now, despite watching him play. He tries. One of his fouls came at the end of some hard defense where he was eventually called for contact on the wrist. He’s made some decent passes that did not end up in assists because of turnovers or offensive fouls.

It’s easy to explain away certain stats based on schemes or opponent, explain away others as just anomalies, but for a player who has played like Eric has to be so low across so many categories, it likely requires a nudge.

I have absolutely no idea what is wrong with Eric, but something is amiss.

Complicating matters is the issues of minutes. Gordon needs to book decent minutes, likely as a starter and a closer (at least in close games), in order to create and sustain a market for him. So, whatever the fix . . . be it time and health or be it giving him a different role in Monty’s scheme . . . it needs to show up as an improvement in per game stats. Him getting better is the only way, period, for this team to say goodbye to him sooner than 2 seasons from now, if that is even possible.


  1. Pingback: Eric Gordon's Max Deal Has Turned into the NBA's Worst Contract - Distinct Athlete

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