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Aaron Gordon would be fun in Dallas, but would he be worth a max contract?

Whether the Dallas Mavericks draft a wing or a big man in the NBA Draft, which is now less than two weeks away, Orlando Magic forward, Aaron Gordon could potentially be a solid fit in Dallas either way. Being that Gordon will be a restricted free agent, the Magic will have the ability to match any offer sheet he signs with another team. Although the consensus opinion around the league is that Orlando will match anything to keep Gordon, the Mavs have the ability to create a max offer for him, if they wish, which would put the Magic in a tougher situation.

It has yet to be seen if Gordon is even a part of the Mavs’ offseason plans or not, but there have already been rumors that Dallas has interest in the springy forward. All answers will start being answered when free agency begins on July 1st. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at Gordon as a Mavs’ prospect.

Basics
Aaron Gordon was the 4th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and he finished off his rookie contract averaging a career-high 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in nearly 33 minutes per game. The 6’9” forward has consistently increased his production every season since being drafted and could be due for a major breakout year next season, especially if he’s put in a better situation. Turning 23 years old in September, Gordon still has a lot of room to expand his game, and he fits right in with the Mavs’ current rebuilding plans. Here’s what to like about Gordon.

Strengths
I’m not a scout by any means, and I’d be lying to you if I told you that I’ve watched a lot of Magic games over the years, but it doesn’t take an expert to realize that one of Gordon’s biggest strengths is finishing at the rim, whether it’s in a one-on-one situation or polishing off an alley-oop.


I have no more analysis for you on that particular aspect of Gordon’s game. All I can do now is imagine the many exciting connections that would happen between Gordon and Dennis Smith Jr. next season.

Another area I really like is how Gordon has good enough handles to take the ball up the floor and create his own scoring opportunities by himself, if needed.


The NBA is creeping towards being a position-less league, and bigs that can handle the ball, run the floor and create their own shots are extremely valuable. Gordon is far from a finished product here, but he still has a lot of room to grow.

Weaknesses
Efficiency seems to be the biggest concern for Gordon, as he only shot 43-percent from the field, 34-percent from the three-point line and 70-percent from the free throw line. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Gordon’s three-point percentage was a career-high this season, which is even more impressive when you consider that his three-point attempts were also a career-high at 5.9 per game (for context, his previous high was 3.3 3PA). Those numbers aren't where you’d want them to be, but again, Gordon still has a lot of potential to tap into. If he continues to trend in the same direction, he’ll eventually become a star, in my opinion.

I suppose another weakness in Gordon’s is his lack of playmaking. Notice that I didn't say “playmaking ability.” That’s because he’s absolutely capable of dishing out assists like these.


With all due respect to the Magic, I really believe Gordon would be able to unlock this part of his game more with the Mavericks. I know, I know — the Mavs ended last season with more losses than the Magic, but even so, Dallas was a lot more fun to watch. That has a lot to do with Rick Carlisle’s offensive system, and I can see Gordon thriving in it, while being surrounded by Smith Jr., Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki.


Fit with the Mavericks
Gordon’s fit with the Mavs is tough to project. On one hand, the Mavs need all the young talent they can possibly get right now. On the other hand, how much better is Gordon than Dwight Powell, for the money? I think it’s a fair question to ask, given that Powell averaged 11.3 points and 7.5 rebounds as a starter (24 games) in 26 minutes per game last season, while shooting 61-percent from the field and 43-percent from the three-point line.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Powell is better than Gordon. Gordon is four years younger than Powell and still has far more upside. I just wonder if paying Gordon a max contract would really be worth it for Dallas, given that they have bigger needs (wings and a center) right now. Regardless, Gordon will be a free agent to keep an eye on, come July 1st. It’ll be interesting to see where the Mavs place Gordon on their priority list.



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