Gordon is one of the bright spots this year.Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
Eric Gordon is having a tremendous season so a far for the Houston Rockets despite their record. Last season with the Rockets, Gordon dealt with countless lower body injuries and poor shooting. Gordon took it upon himself to have a better season, change his perception, and silence trade speculations. It almost seemed that Gordon lost his style of play.
Gordon only played 36 games in the 2019-2020 season. In that season, Gordon shot 31.7% from three, including having the worst true shooting percentage of his career, which was 51%. He even scored 14 points per game, which is the lowest he scored in his Rockets tenure. Gordon's injuries impacted his performance throughout the season, which hurt his shooting during the playoffs. Although Gordon came back for the 2019-2020 playoffs, he still shot 32 percent from three. Gordon shot 40% in the 2018-2019 playoffs with the Rockets, so it was a down year for him.
Trading the 32-year-old Gordon seemed unlikely throughout the offseason. Packaging Gordon with Russell Westbrook and James Harden became interesting though. Gordon's injuries were questionable because of the season he had. Even though trade scenarios circled Harden and Westbrook, none of the rumors directly involved Gordon. The Rockets seemed content that Gordon could have a comeback year. And he was confident that his knee surgery could help his performance this season.
"I needed knee surgery," Gordon said. "It's tough any time you have surgery during the year. It's just tough because I'm trying to get my balance, and everything takes time, and I'm trying to rush back, so we can see … how good we can be and how … good we can be ... down the stretch. Last year was just a tough year for me. I can definitely expect better for sure."
Gordon's usage rating has surpassed his 2017-2018 performance from 23.8%-24.9% this year.
"I've had the ball in my hand more since I [have] been here, period," Gordon said. "I'm able to play make more, come off screens, and get the ball in various ways. And that has allowed me to have a lot more opportunities."
Off those opportunities, Gordon has averaged 18.6 points per game and shooting 36% from three, while his true shooting percentage is at 61%, which is a career high. Gordon is shooting 46 percent from the field this season, which is another career high. Coach Silas has allowed Gordon to take a much more aggressive role for the Rockets this year. Gordon is 4th on the team in field goal attempts and points per game. He is thriving off consistent ball movement and screen rotation for the Rockets. If Gordon is not scoring off catch-and-shoot, he is driving toward the basket. Ever since Gordon's knee surgery, he's become a bouncer again. That has allowed Gordon to attack the rim more for the Rockets. Gordon is 46% from the field when inside the restricted area of the court.
"To have a player like Eric Gordon coming off the bench is… most teams would love that and that is a luxury for us," Coach Silas said. "He can start and come off your bench."
Hopefully, Eric's play continues to blossom for the Rockets, so they can get back on track. The Rockets have lost their last four out of five games recently.
Up next: The Rockets play the Heat on Thursday night.
It's a new year for the Houston Astros as they return to action for their first game of the spring against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
Every season we see some adjustments to the roster which means we also see some changes in leadership. As Astros fans, we're all aware of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker's contract situations. Breggy could be gone after the season, and Tucker could follow one year later.
Which means it's pretty clear who the leaders of the team will be for the foreseeable future. Not only are these guys two of the best players on the club, but they're also under contract for several more years. In Altuve's case, through the 2029 season. For Yordan, he won't sniff free agency until 2029.
While these guys aren't your typical vocal leaders, they are both highly respected and lead by example. Leadership is something that's front of mind for Yordan this season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.
On Yordan Alvarez the leader, one of two constants in a clubhouse bracing for change and the responsibility he wants to shoulder as a result - https://t.co/sZGlI5taBQ
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 21, 2024
Another way to be a leader is to do everything you can to be available for your team. Alvarez changed his diet in the offseason hoping it will help him stay healthy this year.
Manager Joe Espada said Alvarez is fully healthy and he plans on playing him earlier than normal this spring.
Currently, Yordan is trending down in games played for three straight seasons. But he's such a great player that he needs fewer games to put up massive numbers.
He finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2022, and he only played in 135 games out of a possible 162.
So with that in mind, how many games does Yordan need to play this year to win an MVP?
Plus, who's going to protect him in the lineup? With new manager Joe Espada in place, it's hard to know what the lineup will look like.
One thing we do know, Espada immediately named Josh Hader his closer when spring training began. He also told the media that he wants Jeremy Pena to know where he's going to hit every day when he comes to the ballpark.
Espada values players knowing their roles, and getting comfortable in their routines. Something very different from last season when manager Dusty Baker moved Pena all over the lineup throughout the season.
So what does all this mean for Yordan?
Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!
Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.