Eric Gordon Will Be Houston’s X-Factor This Season
The veteran guard will be a key piece of Mike D'Antoni's offense yet again this season
- The Houston Rockets extended Eric Gordon with a four-year, $75.6 million deal that will pay him $16.9 million in the 2020-21 season, $18.2 million in the 2021-22 season and $19.6 in the 2022-23 season. The fourth season, which is non-guaranteed, could pay him $20.9 million.
- Gordon has been with the Rockets for three seasons and is a crucial piece of Mike D’Antoni’s system.
- The ability to drive to the basket that Russell Westbrook and James Harden possess will allow Gordon to live behind the three-point line, where he has proven to be deadly.
The Houston Rockets offered Eric Gordon the maximum contract extension permitted under their salary cap this summer. That large sum of money drew attention as to why the 30-year-old guard is so valuable to the franchise. The overall contract value is just under $76 million, lasting through the 2023-24 season. The fourth-year option of $20.9 million comes into play if Gordon is selected for the All-Star team or helps guide Houston to an NBA title in any year of the deal.
Gordon as a Rocket
In three seasons with the Rockets, the 11-year NBA veteran has averaged 16.8 points and 31.3 minutes per game, shooting 36.4 percent from the three-point range. Last season, Gordon made 68 appearances with 53 as a starter. He averaged 16.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Gordon shot 78.3 percent from the free-throw line, 40.9 percent from the field, and 36 percent from behind the arc in a high-volume role.
Extending Gordon before he hit free agency in 2020 eliminated any questions that could have arisen throughout the season. Gordon’s versatility has been instrumental to the team, particularly when James Harden needs a breather. He will now be an even-more-deadly perimeter scoring option when Harden and Russell Westbrook demand the attention of opposing defenses.
Since Harden and Westbrook force opposing defenses to collapse due to their amazing abilities to get to the basket, Gordon’s proficiency as a three-point shooter might be more evident than ever this season, particularly in Mike D’Antoni’s perimeter-centric offensive system.
2019-2020 NBA Championship Odds: +800
Western Conference Winner Odds: +500
Southwest Division Winner Odds: -225
Gordon’s extension solidifies the core of Gordon, Harden, and Westbrook through 2023. Center Clint Capela also has a new five-year, $90 million deal. When Westbrook was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder, there was an immediate shift in the Rockets’ NBA Championship odds from +1200 to the current +800 odds.
Westbrook’s arrival will be somewhat of a reunion, as he, Harden and Kevin Durant led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012.
The LA Clippers (+200) and LA Lakers (+270) are the only teams favored over Houston to win the Western Conference. Roster changes with the Golden State Warriors opened up the conference, as did the numerous free agency decisions this summer.
The Rockets are the favorites to win the Southwest Division and have been even prior to Gordon’s extension or the Westbrook trade. It makes sense when you look at the competition which includes the San Antonio Spurs (+350), Memphis Grizzlies (+1100), New Orleans Pelicans (+1100) and the Dallas Mavericks (+2300).
DraftKings listed +1400 odds for a Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston NBA Finals matchup taking place. Odds are also up on the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston (+1800) as well as a Raptors vs. Rockets final (+9000).
All in all, the Western Conference is wide open. While the attention has been placed on Westbrook's addition, ensuring Gordon's presence this season was also a crucial move that Houston made this summer.