A trip back out to the west coast has allowed Aaron Gordon to prove he is much more than a dunker.
The fourth overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft played high school basketball in San Jose, and has shined during his return to the otherside of the country, posting a pair of 20 point-10 rebound double-doubles during the four game trip.
After finishing as the runner-up in one of the most exciting dunk contests in league history, Gordon has shined since the All-Star break, averaging 13.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
The showdown with Minnesota guard Zach LaVine in Toronto at All-Star weekend has morphed Gordon into a household name — even landing him an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show — but he has managed to use his athleticism to produce for the Magic.
Gordon pulled down a season-high 16 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, as he battled the Warriors in the opening game of the trip, then managed to steal the show in Los Angeles with a furious windmill dunk against the Lakers.
The former Arizona star then posted a 20 point, 11 rebound effort against the Kings, then totaled 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in Portland.
The Magic are still building an identity, and Gordon is emerging as a foundation for the franchise.
Biggest Surprise: Khris Middleton– Milwaukee Bucks
Middleton is rounding out his game, becoming much more than a consistent scorer for the Bucks. While piling up the points is still the main impact he provides in fantasy basketball, as the 24-year-old guard has scored at least 18 points in 15 of his last 16 appearances, he has added 7.3 points and 6.3 assists per game during the past week. In each of his last two games, Middleton has dished out eight assists and his 10 rebounds Saturday night against New Orleans marked a season-high.
Biggest Disappointment: Kent Bazemore– Atlanta Hawks
The productivity of Bazemore has fluctuated throughout his first year as a full time starter. The 6-foot-5 guard has knocked down 91 shots from 3-point range, second most on Atlanta, but only two have come in the past week. Bazemore has posted just 6.3 points on 29.6 percent shooting from the field in his past three games and was completely shutdown by Memphis Saturday night. The Grizzlies held Bazemore scoreless in over 28 minutes as he missed each of his nine shot attempts from the field, including an 0-for-6 shooting effort from 3-point range.
Pick ’em Up: Michael Beasley– Houston Rockets
Any team in need of a scoring punch should take a look at Beasley. Since returning to the NBA after spending the past year in China — as he captured MVP honors in the CBA — Beasley has been propping up the Rockets second unit with his scoring prowess. Houston has played Beasley just 15 minutes in each of its last two games, but he has still managed to produce 33 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and a block during his limited time on the floor. Beasley is emerging as the main option at power forward for the Rockets late in the year.
Put ’em Down: Andre Iguodala– Golden State Warriors
Chasing down a loose ball will cost Iguodala at least two weeks. Friday against the Trail Blazers, Iguodala dove to the floor trying to pry the ball away from Damian Lillard, resulting in a collision. Golden State took an MRI Saturday afternoon and revealed a sprained left ankle and the team won’t reevaluate him for at least two weeks. The Warriors plan on providing additional minutes to Harrison Barnes, Brandon Rush and Ian Clark in his absence.
Injury Watch: Mike Conley– Memphis Grizzlies
Numerous injuries in Memphis hasn’t resulted in a dip in the Western Conference standings. A right foot fracture will keep starting center Marc Gasol out for the remainder of the year, while the Grizzlies will be without Conley for the next three-to-four weeks with Achilles tedinitis. The injury may allow Conley to return for Memphis just in time for the start of the post season, but he will miss the fantasy basketball playoffs. Any fantasy basketball team should not hold a roster spot for Conley.
Stat of the Week: Andre Drummond– Detroit Pistons
The Pistons pulled a game ahead of Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as Drummond dominated the 76ers Saturday night. In just under 35 minutes, the All-Star center totaled 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds. The performance was his 28th of the season with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. For the year, Drummond leads the league in double-doubles (55), offensive rebounds (325), defensive rebounds (666), total rebounds (991) and rebounds per game (15.0).