I just read Jonothan Santiago's interview with Aaron Gordon on Cowbell Kingdom. The questions and answers were what you would expect for the most part. How difficult was the decision to leave Arizona after just one year, where do you see yourself getting picked, who would you compare yourself to, what do you need to work on, and how would you like to play for the Kings were the five questions.
The answers gave me a slight kick though. As far as leaving Arizona goes, he gave the prerecorded answer. It was hard. I loved Arizona but I want to play with the best. He sees himself getting picked wherever he gets picked and, of course, it would be "stupendous" to play for Sacramento. With the exception of the word "stupendous," which sort of implies Sacramento's his first choice and could even be interpreted as sarcasm if you were prone to low self esteem, Gordon said exactly what he's supposed to say.
He gave more or less textbook answers for the remaining two questions but the slight nuances is where my interest got a little piqued. I considered reprinting the text because I don't want to misquote anyone but my interpretation is dependent completely on syntax and tone which in all likelihood I've completely misinterpreted. Therefore, as long as I point out I'm paraphrasing and likely delusional, I don't see any harm in just painting you a world through my hallucinogenic colored glasses.
Basically, it comes down to this. Santiago asked Gordon who he likened his game to, and for Santiago's money, Joakim Noah came to mind. Gordon says, I'm Aaron Gordon. I compare myself to Aaron Gordon. As far as Noah, No. Now he probably just thought Noah was a silly or inaccurate comparison, but I distinctly got the impression Gordon was insulted. If in fact he was insulted, well, I just think that's terrific.
You might ask what non-NBA player could possibly be insulted by being compared to Joakim Noah. I'd say an extremely confident one. It's worth pointing out here that I'm not a huge Gordon fan in the top 10 as I see him projecting out as a role player something in the area of a poor man's Shane Battier. Shane Battier with less offensive ability. But my possible delusion that Gordon scoffs at Joakim Noah has got him moving up my draft board. I like your confidence kid.
This is further supported by their exchange about Gordan's possible weaknesses. Santiago asked what parts of his game Gordan wanted to work on and Aaron replied that he just wanted to polish up his game. Santiago clearly wanting him to say something about shooting prompted, Offense? Defense? Gordon says he's pretty comfortable with his defense, but yeah he'd like to polish up his offense, as he "has all the tools," he just needs some polish. He says he's just "a mad scientist working in his lab," clearly referring to his work ethic. While a lot of us might consider his offensive game to need something closer to a grinder than a piece of 1800 grain sandpaper, again I like his style.
Overconfidence would be a big red flag if there was even a shadow of a doubt about his work ethic, but anybody that plays defense the way Gordon does is obviously a dedicated worker. A hard nosed work ethic, the potential to guard 3 or 4 positions, and swagger will take him far. I am still reluctant to draft someone that projects as a defensive specialist in the top 10, but if he really does have balls and I'm not projecting a mentality onto my tablet screen that doesn't actually exist, then Gordon could be more NBA ready than I anticipate. I'm not opposed to drafting an all-NBA defender at 7. I'm opposed to drafting a guy that won't be an all-NBA defender, capable of starting for a couple years, at 7. His ability to step in immediately and be far and away the best defender on the team would be crucial to him getting regular minutes and being worth the #7 pick.
This team needs a defensive boost. But it needs it now and in spades. Not just some energy off the bench. The biggest problem with Gordon for our immediate needs is I honestly can't see him as a starting power forward. If he had Josh Smith's ridiculous 88" reach it might be a different story. His general lack of size and length probably prevents him from handling the load down on the block, at least for now. Probably forever. Usually undersized starting power forwards get by on their above average low post games. If our hole was at the 3 instead of the 4 he'd be a better pick. A team that has plenty of offense and a big hole at their starting three could probably plug him in right away. If we could trade Rudy Gay for Anthony Davis, Gordon would fit perfectly.
At the end of the day I am more confident, however, that Gordon will reach his ridiculous defensive potential and all-NBA defenders win basketball games and make everyone around them play better defense. I still think he's a project and a specialist but I'm more comfortable drafting him then I was. Probably all because of a couple of misquotes from a basketball blogger and/or syntax/tone delusions.
Speaking of syntax and tone delusions, I've probably offended at least most of you in the comments section on several occasions. Probably mostly on the subjects of Cousins, Isaiah, and Aaron Gordon. I plead some mercy on the grounds of drunk posting, but just as often the tone of a statement can get lost in translation when imperfect syntax is employed. And then there are the times when I'm just being an asshole. If any or all of those scenarios have resulted in offense being given to any of you at any time, please accept my sincerest apologies. I can become quite opinionated where our team is concerned. GO KINGS!