Mike D’Antoni names surprising player who can put the Rockets ‘over the top’
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni knows what he’s going to get from superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook on a nightly basis. Most pundits, however, believe the team is lacking a third consistent scorer alongside the two MVPs to seriously contend for a title.
For his part though, D’Antoni thinks the Rockets already have that third dynamic scorer on the team in Eric Gordon. The former Coach of the Year spoke about Gordon’s importance to the Rockets on KHOU’s Sports Extra (via Anthony Duckett of Space City Scoop).
“I think Eric is in a better place now than he was two months ago coming off the injury,” Mike D’Antoni said. “I think Eric Gordon is a big key for us. He has the potential to put us over the top.”
Gordon missed a handful of games for the Rockets in 2019-20 after undergoing knee surgery in November to remove debris from his knee. He dealt with the injury for a while and could have gotten the procedure in the summer of 2019, but he chose to play through the pain before it became intolerable.
Prior to the NBA suspending the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gordon was averaging 14.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the Rockets. The former Indiana star and Sixth Man of the Year Award winner was also shooting 37.0 percent from the field, 31.9 percent from beyond the arc and 75.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Talent has never been an issue for Gordon. The 31-year-old is an excellent slasher and finisher at the rim. Of course, EG does most of his damage for the Rockets from deep, having made 772 shots from deep since joining Houston in 2016.
Whenever basketball resumes, the Rockets will need Gordon to be that third 20-point scorer behind Harden and Westbrook if the team wants to win a ring in the Harden era.
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