Probably the first surprise of the NBA Draft’s first round was the Orlando Magic selecting Arizona’s Aaron Gordon with the fourth overall pick. Before the injury to Joel Embiid, most mock drafts had Australia’s Dante Exum going to the Magic at four. When Embiid went at three to the Sixers, the assumption was that Exum would be making his home in Orlando.
But it was not to be. The decision to draft Aaron Gordon was a curious one, considering the way the Magic’s roster is currently assembled. Gordon played power forward with the Wildcats and that’s where he’ll play in the NBA, but there is a slight logjam in Orlando, as you can see below.
Harris played 30 minutes a game last season, O’Quinn 17 and Harkless 24, which adds up to 71 minutes across the two forward spots. That leaves a total of 27 minutes up for grabs, but given the way O’Quinn closed out the season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him push up his minutes. A lot of his minutes will be as the backup centre behind Vucevic, so that frees up some time at the four for Gordon. The other two bigs Orlando has on their roster are Andrew Nicholson and Dewayne Dedmon, who combined for 28 minutes last year. Given this logjam at the four and five, I project Gordon to only get about 25 minutes a game in his debut NBA season.
Taking a look at his college stats, there’s nothing that is too outstanding, numbers-wise.
As you can see, his free throw shooting was atrocious, but he rebounding is great. His athletic traits were one of the reasons he rose so high in the draft, but the production hasn’t matched yet. He’s a super defender, but whether that translates into steals and blocks remains to be seen and that’s not a positive for fantasy leagues.
Although Gordon may be a great player to watch, (NBADraft.net compared him to Kenneth Faried), his fantasy value will definitely be limited in his rookie season and may never become an elite fantasy option. Here is my projection for Gordon’s rookie season.
My projection isn’t kind to Gordon, ranking him around 240, well outside the purview of standard leagues. In a dynasty league rookie draft, I can think of five or six guys I’d rather have over Gordon, but he does have value a couple of years down the track. If you see Gordon get drafted in your 10 or 12 team league, just sit back and smile, because it means there are more good players left for you to select.