The 2019-20 NBA season has been a rough ride for Houston Rockets guard, Eric Gordon. A reoccurring knee injury forced him to miss 30 out of a possible 64 games — including two of the remaining five games preceding the league’s suspension on March 11.
As the Rockets prepare for the NBA restart in Orlando set to begin on July 30, a three-month hiatus may have been just enough to get Gordon back to full health. On Wednesday, the 31-year-old sharpshooter from Indiana told reporters that he is back to feeling like himself via Zoom.
“I am happy I am back to full health. When you have surgery doing the season, it’s always tough…..but now I am back to myself and what I should be doing.”
In November, Gordon underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee that placed him on the shelf for six weeks. Prior to the surgery, the former Sixth Man of the Year winner was far from his best — averaging a career-low 10.9 points on 30.9% shooting from the floor and 28.4% from deep through the first 10 games of the season.
When he returned, Gordon reestablished himself as the Rockets’ X-factor averaging 17.7 points through his first 15 games — which included a career-high 50 points during a nine-point victory over the Jazz in February.
When games resume, Houston will be sitting sixth in the Western Conference with a 40-24 record, and a chance to finish as high as the No. 2 seed prior to the start of the playoffs. With the goal of obtaining the Larry O’Brien Trophy come mid-October, Gordon’s health and production will be pivotal to the Rockets’ success.
“I always make it tough on myself to bring it every single game. Even in the playoffs, I definitely don’t like to let down my team. It’s all about us collectively as a team, but I know when I do well, the team does well.”
With eight games set ahead of the playoffs, Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antoni says he is planning to use the restart schedule to build the team’s comfortability with small-ball. After trading Clint Capela in February, Houston posted a 9-6 record as several teams exposed flaws within Houston’s system.
While a handful of his teammates struggled to accommodate to the Rockets’ new team philosophy, Gordon says his game is perfectly suited for Houston’s small-ball play.
“I think my game compliments almost anybody on this team because I am a person who does not have to have the ball in the game to make an impact. For me, I just fit the style of play. I shoot. I can get to the basket. I play D [defesne] — it’s what I can bring to the table every game.”
Prior to the league’s suspension due to COVID-19 on March 11, Gordon was averaging 14.5 points while shooting 37.0% from the field, 31.9% from beyond the arc across 34 games.
(Photo Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports )