A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Is Eric Gordon destined to be the Pacers’ final piece of the puzzle?

with one comment

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Once upon a time the Detroit Pistons built a great, defense first core around Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace that needed one more piece to contend for a title. After trading for Rasheed Wallace the rest is history.

The Pacers look like the closest mid-2000s Pistons equivalent since them. The foursome George Hill, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert is devastatingly effective as they crush teams defensively and pick apart with skill and intelligence offensively. None are superstars, but arguably 4 players at an all-star level makes up for it.

But conventional wisdom says, they have the need for (a) Sheed. And the gaping hole is the 2 guard spot where the mediocre Lance Stephenson resides.

If they fall in the playoffs this year, who can be their Sheed acqusition? The available player that jumps out to me is Eric Gordon.

Gordon’s blue chip talent is obvious, but his unhappiness in New Orleans has made his max contract there a disaster. With paltry efficiency this year and unreliable health, the Hornets should not believe in him as a long term piece.

However in Indiana he’s not only going to an elite team, but to his home state and where he played college ball. If there’s any team made to make Gordon happy and motivated again, it’s the Pacers. Whether his production is related to health is another story and on a max contract he’d be a huge risk to take. Another reason Indiana being Gordon’s home state matters, is the Pacers are among the league’s dregs in attendance despite such a great team. Gordon helps the attendance both by being from Indiana and by being a star scorer. Points per game sells players.

While his health, production and contract presents a risk, the upside is no less than an NBA title. Gordon is precisely what the Pacers need in a 2 guard, providing a top scorer beside George who excels at driving to the rim and getting to the line, while being able to hit the outside shot. The lineup of Hill, Gordon, George, West and Hibbert if healthy, is a flawless fit of elite defense, decision making, shooting and post offense. The Pacers somehow getting another blue chip starter on Hill, George, West and Hibbert’s level is just what they need to challenge the Heat in the East and meet their 2004 Pistons destiny.

What could a Gordon acquisition look like? Danny Granger would obviously head out. In New Orleans he’d be an expiring contract who if healthy could help them make a playoff run next year and prove himself worth of a new contract. If Granger is only there for a year, they got out from Gordon’s contract and are free cap-wise to rebuild around Anthony Davis. The Pacers may have to throw in their late 1st round draft pick and/or last year’s 1st Miles Plumlee to sweeten the deal, but those are small prices to pay if they believe in what Gordon can do for their team. The Hornets asking for the talented Stephenson may be harder to swallow for the Pacers, but he’s not an untouchable talent. A 3 team trade with Danny Granger headed to a team more ready to win than New Orleans and the Hornets getting assets back, is also plausible. The Hornets agreeing to a Gordon to Indiana trade would be a hurdle, but a very plausible one.

Long term, Gordon’s contract puts the Pacers in bind with Paul George and David West both likely inking long term deals this year. But if they can build an immediate contending team, those financial hurdles can be a bridge crossed later.

Eric Gordon would present a big risk for the Pacers, but “going for it” with him may be a offer they can’t refuse.

Advertisements

Written by jr.

April 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. A healthy Gordon would be a perfect fit but I don’t think anyone would want Granger. I have my doubts about him coming back anywhere near where he was.

    Mike

    April 6, 2013 at 9:58 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: