Lasting Impressions

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Eric Gordon defensive stopper?

Don’t laugh.

It happened.

It’s strange, the things playing with the those three important letters — USA –across your chest can make a player do.

Kevin Durant did his usual, starring on the big stage, proving what we all knew before he and his teammates on the U.S. National Team headed t Turkey in search of gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, showing that his rise to global superstardom is absolutely on the fast track.

There was nothing surprising about Lamar Odom‘s stellar utility work or Kevin Love‘s rugged rebounding ability or the flinch-free leadership in the most pressure-packed of situations that only a veteran the ilk of Chauncey Billups can provide.

We come to expect certain things from certain players, regardless of the venue or circumstance, based solely on our lengthy history of watching them respond in similar situations.

But it’s the guys like Gordon, the Los Angeles Clippers’ mercurial young guard, that always provide the best surprises in these international competitions.

Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook will make anyone’s short list of the most promising young guards in the NBA. But Gordon, due in large part to the Clippers’ struggles, wouldn’t normally land on that radar.

Watching him work with the USA on his chest, however, served as a grand reminder of just how dynamic a player he could be if used properly — surely the Clippers’ brass saw him this summer and have to be thinking about tweaking his role alongside Baron Davis this season.

Gordon’s shooting range is basically anywhere inside of the half court line, something that’s always been a staple of his game. His work on the defensive end, however, was a revelation. And I’ve been watching Gordon for years, long before he wore the Clippers’ red, white and blue.

I watched Gordon play alongside Rose years ago in Las Vegas, on a travel team the summer before their senior year in high school, when there was still some debate as to which one of the two was the better prospect. Both were outlandish, even then. But Rose projected into a specific position (point guard) while Gordon’s future position was a bit murky. (Even then, they were both unbelievable together … literally unbelievable!)

A lost season at Indiana didn’t help the projections, though the Clippers did have the sense to make him a lottery pick (7th overall in the 2008 draft). Gordon validated his lofty draft position with his play. His first two NBA seasons have been above average, 16.1 points per game as a rookie and 16.9 last season, albeit on a beleaguered Clippers team.

The point is, as solid as Gordon has been to start his NBA career, competitions like the 2010 FIBA World Championship remind us of how much more a young guy like Gordon is capable of, on both ends of the floor. And therein lies one of the truly beautiful things about the selection process for pros conducted USA Basketball honcho Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski. It wasn’t just about snagging the most high-profile names this summer. It was about finding the best fits for this team. And they did a fantastic job.

There were eyebrows raised when Gordon and guys like Steph Curry and Love made the team over some other players. But not here at the hideout. Our expectations for this team were through the roof. And we’re expecting similar big things out of these gold medal-wearing players this season.

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21 Comments

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  2. mosa says:

    I am from Saudi Arabia & am a fan of the NBA tournament I did watch all USA matches and they were aggressive. USA deserved the champion based of how they played in their matches. I was very surprised when I heard that USA has won it only 4 times. NBA organization should make a big celebration for those young players because they deserve to get the respect from the people of United States. All the best and congratulate to USA people.

  3. Ariel says:

    If you have seen the games from quarter finals, semi finals and the finals you would see how Gordon and Westbrook energized the team. I hate to say this but this two young kids have taken much time away from Rose who had been starting for the US team. Specially during the finals, Rose was not on the floor when the team made a big lead over turkey. And we could see how Coach K trusted Gordon and Westbrook because you could see in the game, not only in one situation where Gay was the center, Durant the Power Forward and the three guards of Gordon, Westbrook and Curry, there are maybe a little bit alteration of this line up but Rose is nowhere to be found. I was even surprised with the coach decision but it pays of. Gordon was not even shooting well but then the defense was very solid, as in very solid. And Westbrook, oh man he does everything in the floor. Hes shooting and defense was all there and remember he was even used to guard a power forward in many situations. An early entry of Curry also caught up my attention. He entered i think maybe four minutes left in the first quarter far from his usual schedule. But after one position Curry immediately hit a three pointer that made his exposure to extend and once again taken some time that is set for Rose. But for sure whats important for USA is to win and considering what coach k has said that he loves this team because there young and coachable, they dont care whether they play or be benched. Anyway, congratulations team USA.

  4. QuestionMark says:

    Gotta say I never watched the Clippers play.. but I always thought of Gordon as a player who will never be something, but I just got proven wrong by his performance. Best of luck to him and the Clippers, I know my team wont go anywhere……. and that is the Raptors, they will entertaining and I have high hopes for Derozan and Weens, the Raptors new Duo, I doubt they will go anywhere though, max 35 wins. I hope my second favourite team. Orlando wins the Championship.

  5. Jeremuah says:

    I’ve been a fan of Eric Gordon ever since his time in AAU. This is absolutely no suprise to me. I remember even playing College Hoops 2K8 for xBox 360, I always picked K-State(for Beasley) and Indiana for Eric Gordon. He’s been a sleeper for a while now. No surprise he’s finally starting to get some exposure.

  6. Brandon Kim says:

    Okay “unknown”, How the HELL does LeBron and Kobe have to do with Eric Gordon? Are you serious? You don’t know anything about basket-ball. Eric Gordon has been a sleeper for his 3 seasons in the NBA. Why? Because for one hes on a pretty bad team (even though I love the Clips) and two he wasn’t a high lottery pick. His stats are promising for the future. Hes a tremendous defender. He guards all the all-star two guards and sometimes the all-star point guards too. Don’t hate because you don’t know anything about Gordon. Yes, he needs improvement on aspects of his game like a consistent mid-range shot. But thats mostly it. He has a strong build allowing him to finish and drive. Money 3-point shot and is a great defender. Now on LeBron and Kobe. ALL LeBron haters gotta stop. LeBron didn’t have a supporting cast like Kobe did. Kobe had who? Shaq in his PRIME!! Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Trevor Ariza (in his short prime). Look at LeBron? He had a choke on Mo Williams, disappearing and reappearing Delonte West and Antawn Jamison, the ONLY consistent one was J.J. Hickson. Oh and Kobe had none other than the great Phil Jackson. Who did LeBron have? A joke of Mike Brown who didn’t even play Hickson. He also didn’t even know how to use LeBron to his full potential. So again. Please, if you’re gonna diss an NBA player look up his stats and learn how he plays and what a factor he is on his team. K thanks.

  7. jared says:

    Yeah Gordon was a nice player for this team, more so early when he was nailing 3s like it was job but no one was hitting any outside shots in the last few games besides durant. Overall he proved his worth. Good job to this team for bringing home the gold! olympics and fibas back to back with two entirely different rosters I mean that is awesome,.

  8. Mario says:

    as a proud Clipper fan I cant say Im surprised. Our players always get overlooked despite of stats. Look at past years when Elton was in La he was light years better than Gasol in Memphis, yet Brand got overlooked in the all star selection. It wasnt until Shaq got injured that David Stern selected Brand to be an all star, same could be said last season, Kaman was putting up better numbers than Gasol, but since big bird wears yellow and gold, of course he’s going to get the nod over Kaman,. We get no love.

    I hope, we stay healthy this year. Watch out for Griffin and Gordon this season. Kaman is good for 22 and 9, Baron needs to wake up and we have a solid bench in DJ, Bledsoe, Foye, Aminu and Gomes, lets not forget about butler who can contribute about 7 and 3 a game. Dont Sleep on us.

    • Toronto says:

      You dumb or just stupid bro? Yellow and Gold was bleh before Gasol; and caman got his team to what was it? 29 wins?
      Teams lose for a reason; though i’ll be honest to say I like a lot of the players on the team, I wouldn’t quite get all cocky till they prove something.

  9. unknown says:

    Come on people.How in the hell do you believe this fiba championship was boost for Eric Gordon.Ok let see his stat against usa strongest opponent.Top 5 From worst to best left to right Slovenia, Russia, Turquia, Brasil, lituania. Look at eric gorndon stat in those game 5 game: 70 minutes played 5/25 15 points 3 steal 4 assist 11 rebound 5 turnovers 5/21 from 3 point line.Eric gordon did his worst perfomance against usa strongest opponent.Nobody has talk about this.Eric gordon won nothing just some guys who doesn’t how to analyze him and are giving him some useless praise.For me this tournament was so hard because of some mistake of the usa team, those mistake came from eric gordon and stephen curry.Iran tunisia angola,croatia are just the worst team of the tournament .Anyone could have beat those team easily.He scored 62 points but you know real winner are those that play good and take the game to next level when they are really need it.What happend in brasil???Now you guys understand why kobe is better in the playoffs than lebron james.

    • A few thing I want to comment on buddy. Eric Gordon is a great young player and hating on him as ridiculous as hating on Kobe and Lebron (I’ll get to that later). If you have ever seen him play in the NBA you will have to accept that he is a great shooter. He is a career 38% shooter from three point so he is already a proven commodity. Calling out his spotty shooting in such a short tournament easily skews the statistics. He has also proven to be able to score in the NBA where he has put up 20 point games frequently over stretches. Blaming mistakes of the USA on only Eric Gordon and Steph Curry is kind of a stretch. Though they had some turn overs and shots, so did all out of the young players on the team: Rose, Westbrook, Gay to name a few. It was a growing process for such a young team. The whole point of the article was saying that the world championships was a national attention boost for Gordon who was flying under the radar on the Clippers. Eric Gordon has yet to turn 22 and is a young promising talent who can play good defense and spread the court. I’m guessing your a Kobe fan with your last remark against Lebron in the playoffs, and Lebron’s total statistics in the playoffs have been ridiculous and he had that stretch against the pistons when he scored all those consecutive points, an amazing performance. Though he has come up short in championships, his play has been stellar. Kobe has many rings now, but has played with much more talent. But he played great in last years playoffs (which is hard to admit as I am a Kobe hater), and has the championships and gamewinning shots to prove it. So in the great Lebron vs. Kobe debate I would have to tip my hat in favor of Kobe. Though I think it is possible for Lebron to overtake Kobe if he wins like 6 rings Miami, but thats another story. Just don’t hate on young players with promise regardless of your teams allegience. You should wait to make your judgements til later in their careers when they run one of the most dominant big men of all time out of town, be a selfish ball hog and request to be traded.

    • celtic says:

      what? do you not watch eric gordon in the nba regular season? his stats from last season match with his stats from fiba. the whole point of this article is not to say “eric gordon is the best in the world, better than anyone”, it’s to recognize eric gordon for his overlooked abilities.
      and as for the kobe-lebron thing, i hate this whole debate as to who is better. the biggest difference between kobe and lebron is their team: kobe has PAU GASOL AND ANDREW BYNUM. lebron had a stumbling shaq, an old zydrunas ilgauskas, and a thin, skin & bones varejao. wow, i wonder who has the better big men.
      kobe has derek fisher, shannon brown, and farmar. lebron had delonte west and mo williams. the players are on completely different levels.
      antawn jamison in comparison to lamar odom, or pau, or artest, or kobe? ya right.
      cleveland hasn’t had the depth of talent that the lakers have had. but if we want to talk lebron and kobe, you have to give lebron props: he put up a higher scoring percentage than kobe, for seasons straight, and was a better defender too.

    • T says:

      Damn bro… You’re sippin’, more like DRUNK, off of that haterade.

      Gordon is 21 years old… The youngest player on Team USA. He doesn’t have much big game experience. The FIBA World Championships were the biggest games of his young career. You honestly don’t think this will be a boost for him heading forward?

      He didn’t set FIBA on fire, but other than Durant, who did? Rose lost *confidence* in himself. Westbrook overdribbled and turned the ball over. Gay took questionable shots and stopped ball movement. Curry didn’t shoot well, made poor decisions and was poor defensively. Iguodala shot the most airballs in FIBA history. Granger lacked defensive intensity. I could go on and on.

      Gordon was solid at both ends of the floor the entire tournament. Even when his shot wasn’t going down, I thought his effort was consistent. He didn’t pout. Didn’t lose confidence. Never got too high or low. Never stopped defending. He deserves the praise.

    • unknown says:

      Yeah I learn my lesson eric gordon is great player against weak opponent.First of all if you make a mistake against weak opponent that you are winning by 50 points IT DOESN”T MATTER.You still gonna win.Lebron and kobe thing doesn’t matter I just say it to say it, just ignore ,I’m just joking around with kobe and james, those guys are cool.Always sombebody bite the bait,lol.Still my argument is up.I can go recollect all the stat of the regular season of eric gordon of every game that really matter( easy wins to go the playoffs)I can bet you he is not the great player you all putting in this argument.Anyway the one who really got the boost was Lamar Odom.He really need to leave the lakers.His talent is wasted with the lakers and for his game to improve he need to leave the lakers.

  10. irs levy says:

    being a clip fan, ive heard all the jokes. now we have young eric gordon who is coming into his own and along with blake griffin, the clips will have the 1 – 2 punch that serious playoff teams need to get to the next level. congrats to a great young man, eric gordon.

  11. illastrate says:

    Good article.

    What’s funny is people thinking it was funny to mention Gordon as a defensive stopper. But anybody who’s paid attention to the Clips the past two seasons knows he was one of, if not their best perimeter defender. Gordon’s always been this good, it’s just the national media and general NBA fans alike haven’t had a chance to see him. I do think he’s gotten more aggressive offensively and his confidence should be at an all-time high entering the season.

  12. Trey says:

    I remeber when Rajon dropped out before roster cuts. I He seemed like a lock to me because of his passing ability and Steph Curry would be the long range bomber. Plus it saved TEAM USA from making a tough choice.

    Looking at it now Gordon was consistency. He rarely suffered highs and lows and he was always a factor on the court. We still have issues with our big men: how does Tyson play more than Love? It should be fun to watch our team grow and develop more.

    • QuestionMark says:

      Rondo is better than Gordon.. much better, Rondo could have given them more power in the paint and can pass very well, but Gordon was the sharpshooter there, and Rondo cant shoot 3s well, but Rondo has his way of making it through any defense and into the paint where he can lay it in or kick out to Curry, Billups, Durant, or Granger who could have knocked down a 3. Also Rondo could have given good D against opposing PGs.

  13. zzanzabar says:

    I can only hope that the NBA takes notice of the value of these FIBA games. Teams can also fall into the trap of ‘superstardom’ and begin to judge their team and their player’s talent by the number of commercials their stars can be in, rather than letting talent just do what it does best…play basketball!

    Odom, Rose, Westbrook, Gordon and, yes, even Durant all benefited greatly from this FIBA experience. Each of them will return to their respective teams better players and just maybe, their teams will view them in a better light. A few posts ago I suggested the this is how the NBA should have treated the FIBA championships all along, as a proving (and IMproving) ground for younger players. This so-called ‘B’ team has cast down the gauntlet, now it is up to the NBA to answer the challenge.

  14. Rip Greenfire says:

    If anyone proved themself during the Chapionship, it was Gordon. Durant did amazing, but everyone expected him to. No one expected Gordon to even be in the fifteen man roster when Team USA was widdiling down their players. Gordon had some excellent nights at Instabul, and there is no doubt in my mind he became the sharpshooter of the team. Hopefully the Clippers will finally put him to good use, and the boy just might get the All-Star nod one day.