ClipperNation is at a very akward crossroad. Many fans feel that a new begining is necessary, and that this rebuilding should be focused around young shooting guard Eric Gordon. However, Mike Dunleavy Sr. seems to have a "win now" attitude. There is the conflict.
Because of the poor performance from the Clippers last year, many fans have echoed the idea that next season's ClipShow will be just as bad, or tad bit better. I believe the prediction of 19-25 wins has been common.
The problem with this so-called reality (or, what some fans might call cynicsm) is that the pridiction of a poor next season discounts the fact that the roster is composed of talented, and hopefully prideful players, who will be constructed to fit around Eric Gordon next season. Among the understanable negativity, ClipperNation seems to forget about the two guard who is the number one guard in our hearts.
If you think Baron Davis and Zach Randolph will be the focal points of the offense next season, then hopefully you are mistaken. BDiddy should be responsible for getting the ball into young EJ's hands. Along with Chris Kaman, Randolph's presence is needed to keep opposing defenses honest, and remove the inevitable double teams Gordon will face.
(Regarding the importance of Randolph and/or Kaman, low post threats teach young players how to play with bigs in the NBA, and open up the entire playbook for the kids. Everyone has to remember when the Clippers ran only Brian Skinner
onto the floor, as the lone big. Teams paid no attention to the paint and glued themselves to the perimeter, making life miserable for Gordon, Steve Novak, and others.)
The point is, if Eric Gordon is the superstar that we all hope he is, then the Clippers immediate future may be brighter than a lot of us foresee. So, let's take a look at what we can/should expect from EJ, in his second NBA season. He is a good kid, and he must have great work ethic: How big of a jump can he make?
Eric Gordon averaged 16 PPG (points per game) in 34 MPG (minutes per game) in his rookie season (I will be rounding the decimal numbers). Here are some numbers from scoring shooting guards; some of them are similar to Gordon.
*The first group of players are players who played the same amount of MPG, as rookies, and roughly the same PPG as Eric Gordon.
-Brandon Roy: Rookie Season, 17 PPG in 35 MPG / Sophomore Season, 19 PPG in 37 MPG.
Gordon and Roy have very different styles of play. It's still food for thought, though.
-Kevin Durant: Rookie Season, 20 PPG in 35 MPG / Sophomore Season, 25 PPG in 39 MPG.
Durant's style of play resembles Gordon's style more than Roy's does.
-Ray Allen: Rookie Season, 13 PPG in 31 MPG / Sophomore Season, 19 PPG in 40 MPG.
I know that some of ClipperNation suggests that Allen is the veteran Gordon should learn from.
-Dwayne Wade: Rookie Season, 16 PPG in 35 MPG / Sophomore Season, 24 PPG in 39 MPG.
In my research, no current NBA SG came closer to Eric Gordon's PPG and MPG than Flash.
* Scoring shooting guards
-Richard Hamilton: Rookie Season, 9 PPG in 19 MPG / Sophomore Season, 18 PPG in 32 MPG.
Rip is a very good player, but this PPG jump is probably due to his massive increase in minutes.
-Ben Gordon: Rookie Season, 15 PPG in 24 MPG / Sophomore Season, 17 PPG in 31 MPG.
*Young Small Fowards
-Rudy Gay: Rookie Season, 11 PPG in 27 MPG / Sophomore Season, 20 PPG in 37 MPG.
-Danny Granger: Second Season, 14 PPG in 34 MPG / Third Season, 20 PPG in 36 MPG.
Similar to Granger, some players, some huge talents bloom later than others. These are 2 active scoring machines who got a late start.
-Tracy McGrady: Third Season, 15 PPG in 31 MPG / Fourth Season, 27 PPG in 40 MPG.
T-Mac was drafted straight from high school, which contributed to his slow start.
-Gilbert Arenas: Third Season, 20 PPG in 38 MPG / Fourth Season, 26 PPG in 41 MPG.
In my opinion, Arenas is a player that resembles what Eric Gordon can become.
So, I conclude with a question regarding the draft. If the Clippers are lucky enough to choose from Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio, then who do they choose to fit next to ERic Gordon? Who complements him better? I know Rubio has a higher bust factor, but if he fulfills his potential, then how can he work with EJ. If Griffin becomes the Dwight Howard-like figure, how does that benefit EJ?