The upcoming NBA draft on June 26 could prove positive for Aaron Gordon, who is rumored to be a potential top 10 pick for the Celtics.
The 6”8 freshman for odds-favored Arizona has shown considerable athleticism which has not eluded the attentions of the Celtics recently, with Gordon himself noting his “versatility and defense” as his strong points.
But at just 18 years old, a permanent position with the Celtics could see the forward being named as the youngest player in the draft field, a lot of pressure for a freshman.
Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge said of Gordon: “Aaron’s biggest strength is his versatility.
“He’ll be able to guard almost every position on the court. He’s a great defender and he’s able to handle the ball well for his size. He’ll have to continue to improve his shooting, but he’s a worker.”
Ainge added that Gordon would most likely be able to play 4 and 3, starting on 3 until his strength improves.
But at just 18, Gordon has certainly shown his capability for improvement and has a formidable high school record. He’s won two state championships for the Arizona Wildcats and was twice named California’s Mr. Basketball. During the McDonald’s All-American game in his senior year, he was awarded MVP, while the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship saw him earning MVP of the tournament.
Having established an average 12.4 points and 8.0 rebounds throughout his freshman season, Gordon’s whirlwind performance has seen him climbing the ranks to just behind Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins.
Gordon’s Achille’s Heel is his shooting ability, particularly from the free throw line, where he made only 42 per cent of his attempts during his season at Arizona. Despite this, Ainge has asserted that Gordon’s shot has improved and that he possesses “good mechanics.”
Asked what his feelings were about joining the Celtics, Gordon said: “I hope. I’m excited. We’ll see. June 26, a lot of things are going to happen from now to then, and even on that day. But I’d be happy. Really, I’m just excited to be drafted anywhere.”
Spectators would be wise to place their bets on Gordon being drafted for the Celtics however, along with Latvian native Kristaps Porzingis. The 18-year-old has averaged a comparatively low 6.9 points over 15.2 minutes per game during his season with Spain’s ACB league, but ESPN’s Chad Ford has high hopes for the power forward.
“At 7 feet with both athleticism and a nice shooting touch, there's tons of upside for Porzingis.