Thursday, November 6, 2008

Throwdown number 1: Eric Gordon, eyeball vs. analyst

I call THROWDOWN! This is the first in what will be an ongoing series.

When he rated the NBA's incoming class of perimeter players using statistical methods, John Hollinger placed Eric Gordon among "the riff-raff" and wrote, "subjectively, I've been suspicious of him for some time, and I'm a little unsure what has everyone so excited."

The Sports Guy, contrarily, thinks "this kid is going to be great." He says this is one thing we'll enjoy about the NBA this year:

Eric Gordon's beautiful, moonball, knee-weakening, once-in-a-generation jump shot. It's just perfect. I love it. I love everything about it. Every time he shoots it, the Clippers crowd goes quiet for a split-second like one of the cheerleaders just pulled up her shirt. Even the spin is gorgeous. I can't say enough about it. I am in love with Eric Gordon's jump shot. I want to marry it. I want to have kids with it. I will go to at least one practice or shootaround this year just to see him hoist 200 of them. And by the way, the kid is going to be great -- he's bigger than I thought, and when he drives to the lane, defenders just bounce off him. He will end up being the third-best guy in that draft. Unless, of course -- and I'm contractually obligated to mention this since it's the most jinxed franchise in sports and we're only two years removed from Shaun Livingston's knee flying off his body and landing in the eighth row -- something horrible happens to him. Please, Lord, no. Just give us a decade of Gordon jump shots. I don't ask for much.


QUESTION: Barring major injury, will Eric Gordon be good by the end of his second year? (I'm splitting the difference between the two writers' time frames.)

JUDGMENT DAY: April 30, 2010

TERMS: For Simmons to win, Gordon must have a second-year PER of at least 15. That's Rajon Rondo territory. We don't ask him to be great, just good.


This one was looking bad for Hollinger early on, but he ended up winning this throwdown, though so closely that it's fairest to call it a draw. Gordon's second-year PER was 14.15, a disappointing number after 14.98 his first year. To date, Gordon appears to be better than Hollinger suspected, not as good as Simmons hoped.