Following a nine game losing streak in which the Orlando Magic fell from the summit of the Eastern Conference, Orlando turned things around in a dominant 121-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night. The driving force behind the Magic’s first win since November 11th came in the form of a near career-high night from Aaron Gordon.
Aaron Gordon Must Make the Orlando Magic His Team
Gordon lit up the floor, putting up 40 points, one short of a career-high, and 15 rebounds against the Thunder. After leading the Eastern Conference in early November, the Magic saw their 8-4 record spiral out of control, with a humiliating 121-109 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night seeing the team fall to 8-13. However, Orlando finally bounced back against the Thunder. Gordon added four assists and four steals to his strong night and lead the Magic to a victory.
Building upon a strong start to the season, Gordon has made strides in his game and is starting to look like a potential franchise player in Orlando. He must take control of this Magic team.
Improvements Across the Board
Coming off the back of a disappointing season last year, Gordon was one of many players Magic fans hoped would improve. So far, it is safe to say he has done so. Gordon is averaging career-highs across the board. Averaging 17.4 points per game, Gordon has improved his shooting in every aspect. Shooting 50.4% from the field with an impressive 43% from beyond the arc, Gordon is setting the league alight. He even lead the league in three-point percentage at one point.
Gordon is also taking a more prominent role in the Magic offense, attempting 12.2 shots per game. The former fourth overall pick is also seeing almost an extra four minutes per game compared to last season.
Embracing the Opportunity
Given the recent success Gordon has enjoyed, it is now time for him to step up as the leader of this Magic team. In a similar fashion to Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee, Gordon must take control. His development is crucial for success in Orlando long-term and Gordon demonstrated glimpses of his talent last season. It now seems he has improved to become a more well-rounded player. Although far from a finished product, Gordon has shown his maturity and skill at a young age. With little improvement from veterans such as Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic, Gordon is now in a position to be the ‘go-to guy’ in Orlando.
TORONTO, ON- FEBRUARY 13: Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon celebrates a dunk during the NBA’s All-Star Saturday Night. Where players compete in three events, the Skills Challenge, 3-point shooting and Slam Dunk at the in Toronto. February 13, 2016. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)