With the addition of Lou Williams, Eric Gordon’s campaign for Sixth Man of the Year was thrown a loop. However, when push comes to shove Gordon is most deserving for the award.
Up until the trade deadline in February, the majority of people had Eric Gordon as their front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year. However, once the Houston Rockets acquired Lou Williams, the race for the award got much more interesting.
Well, let’s take a look at the seasons both players are having and why Gordon is more deserving of the award this season.
This season, Eric Gordon is averaging 16.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 37.6 percent on three-pointers. Gordon, best known for his ability to hit threes, has actually struggled with his shot for the past couple of months.
Since Gordon shot an astounding 45.7 percent on his threes in December, he hasn’t reached higher than 34.3 percent in a month. This is definitely something to monitor as the Rockets get closer to the playoffs.
On the other hand there’s Lou Williams, who is averaging 18 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 38.7 percent on three-pointers. Williams is actually shooting slightly worse on threes since arriving in Houston, 37.8 percent compared to 38.6 percent with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now that both players are on the same bench, they often play a good majority of their minutes together, usually with Patrick Beverley alongside them. That 3 man unit owns an offensive rating of 118.1 and a defensive rating of 107.2, good for a net rating of 10.8.
Both Gordon and Williams are key reasons the Rockets have the second highest scoring bench in the league since the trade deadline.
However, only one can win the Sixth Man of the Year Award. So why should it go to Eric Gordon? Because contributing to winning matters.
The main reason why most had Gordon above Williams for the majority of this season is because Gordon was contributing to meaningful wins on a contender while Williams was putting up mostly empty numbers for a lottery-bound (now at full speed) Lakers team.
As mentioned previously, Gordon shot extremely well from beyond the arc in December, a month in which he averaged 18.8 points and 3.4 assists per game as the Rockets went 15-2 in the month.
Also, Gordon was the key cog in a very good Rockets bench before the arrival of Williams. The lineup of Beverley, Gordon, the much maligned Corey Brewer, Sam Dekker, and Nene posted an offensive rating of 108.7 and defensive rating of 90 in the 138 minutes it played, good for an elite net rating of 18.7.
Gordon was the focal point of that unit, as the bench suffered during the games he missed with injury. Gordon is able to play off the ball and use screens to get open threes as well as play-make with the ball in his hands. His play off the bench was a key reason the Rockets were able to sustain two winning streaks of at least nine games throughout December and January.
Because Gordon was holding up the Rockets bench before Williams arrived and was contributing to (a lot) of meaningful wins for the majority of the season, Eric Gordon would receive my vote for Sixth Man of the Year.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com