Get to know 2014 NBA Draft prospect Aaron Gordon
With the draft lottery a little more than a week away, there’s no telling what the Sacramento Kings will do with their pick in this year’s draft. There is a wide range of talent they can explore if they decide to keep their pick.
One player the Kings may strongly consider is Arizona product Aaron Gordon. The Northern California native, who played his high school ball at Archbishop Mitty in San Jose, had a standout year in his lone season for the Wildcats. As a freshman, the 6’9 forward averaged 12.4 points, eight rebounds, a block and two assists per game in Tucson. His play this year catapulted Arizona back into the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the first time since 2011.
Gordon is the type of player many envision working well alongside DeMarcus Cousins – an athletic, defensive-minded prospect with a knack for protecting the rim. But is he big enough and skilled enough to handle the rigors of playing power forward in the NBA? Those are questions that the 18-year-old big man will have to answer ahead of this year’s draft.
Gordon was in attendance of Game 6 of the NBA’s first-round series between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. Cowbell Kingdom was also there that evening and took a moment to speak briefly with the future NBA forward.
CK: You made the decision to leave Arizona for the NBA Draft after just one year, albeit a successful season. Was it a lengthy process for you to decide on whether you were going to go back to Tucson for your sophomore year?
AG: It wasn’t so much lengthy as it was difficult. I love Arizona with all my heart. It would’ve been nice to come back, but I want to increase my skillset as a basketball player. For me, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to come out and play at the highest level and that’s basically why I tipped the scale at wanting to come out and play in the NBA.
CK: It’s pretty early in the draft process. We don’t even know where the lottery teams are picking since the draft order is still to be determined. But, have you heard anything in terms of your range and where you might project in this year’s draft?
AG: I’m not worried about that really. I’m really not. All I’m hearing is I need to work hard and I need to play hard and the ping pong balls will fall where they lie. I’m in the lab. I’m a mad scientist. I’m going hard. Every single day, I’m in the lab and I’m just going to work as hard as I can. So no matter what number I get picked, I’m gonna come out and dominate.
CK: How would you describe your game? When I’ve seen you play, you remind me a little bit of Joakim Noah. You play with a lot of energy, you’re very good defender and a pretty solid passer at this stage of your career.
AG: I’d describe my game as Aaron Gordon. I do a little bit of everything. Joakim Noah’s a good guy, good motor, but I don’t see myself as a Joakim Noah.
CK: As you enter the league, what areas of your game do you want to work on and address?
AG: Just polishing it. Just polishing my game. I think I have all the tools, I just need to polish them off now.
CK: Offensively or defensively?
AG: Offensively. I think my defense is pretty sound, so polish my offensive game.
CK: The Sacramento Kings are a team with a high draft pick. You’re a Northern California guy. Do you see yourself fitting in with a team like that if they were to draft you?
AG: Yeah, I think I’m a capable player of fitting in anywhere and hopefully leading by example. So if the Kings want to draft me, that’d be absolutely stupendous. But you know, it’s whatever really. It really is up to the managers, up to the coaches, wherever they see fit and wherever they want to pick me, I’ll be okay with that.