Gordon happy on Hornets? It’s complicated
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
First things first, New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon is happy because he’s playing basketball again.
The right knee that turned him into a spectator for much of the past two seasons is finally holding up, and the 24-year-old who caused so much controversy in the Big Easy over the summer has had an unmistakable impact on this team that has been the worst in the Western Conference without him. Entering Friday’s game at Atlanta, the Hornets are 8-26 without Gordon (.235 winning percentage) and 9-7 with him (.562). The recovery process is still ongoing, too, as Gordon – who is averaging 16.4 points per game but shooting a career-low 39.6% from the field since returning on Dec. 29 – continues to rest on the second night of back-to-backs while playing with a minutes limit (35 per).
But the larger question of whether Gordon is happy as a Hornet can’t be answered quite so easily.
Seven months after he tried to force his way to Phoenix and made it widely known that he was upset with how the Hornets handled his free agency, Gordon isn’t about to declare his long-term love for New Orleans because, well, he has been hurt before. He will focus on the immediate future of helping with his young team’s evolution, he says, trying to get from “80 percent” health, as he deems himself, to 100 percent while shoring up the conditioning that continues to limit his effectiveness.
Anything after that, as he has learned the hard way, is hard to predict.
“You never know what could happen,” Gordon told USA TODAY Sports by phone when asked if he now sees New Orleans as the long-term spot for him. “The main thing right now is to really focus on this team. After thinking about my injuries and everything, everything is year by year with me. I have to focus on this year. I don’t know what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to happen.”
This much seems clear about Gordon from the evidence gleaned at the moment: With the Feb. 21 trade deadline looming, he’s more than … [For more on Is Eric Gordon happy in New Orleans? It's complicated, click here.]