Eric Gordon soaring in Houston, making push for first All-Star nod

Eric Gordon, now with the Rockets, was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 2007.

Eric Gordon has never been an NBA All-Star. In his first eight seasons as a pro, his team had a winning record just once, and reached the playoffs once — in 2015, with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Now playing for the Houston Rockets and beside NBA MVP candidate James Harden, Gordon is having the best overall season of his career.

Gordon, who turned 28 on Christmas Day, is averaging almost 18 points and three assists per game — off the bench. It’s a role he was not used to, typically the best player on his team, but a role he accepted … and he has since thrived.

He’s still playing high minutes, over 30 per game, and he’s made those minutes count. As those in Indy remember, he can get hot in a hurry — and he has played off of Harden and others nicely.

Gordon has gotten the most attention — and it is well-deserved — for the damage that he’s done beyond the arc. Nobody in the NBA has made more 3-pointers. Yes, that includes back-to-back MVP Steph Curry.

Entering Monday (Jan. 16), Gordon was 152-for-370 (41.1 percent). Curry, meanwhile, was 151-for-380 (39.7). Harden is third in made 3s, but he’s 20 makes behind Gordon and Curry. Gordon is making an average of 3.7 shots from range per game.

Because of the team’s composition and fast-pace offense, by game 37 — not even to the midway point — of the season he already matched his career mark for made 3s in a season (141 during the 2014-15 season).

“All-Star for sure,” Harden said.

Gordon’s effectiveness from deep combined with the success of the Houston Rockets (32-11) and their worldwide fan base has led to EJ receiving a significant amount of votes for the upcoming All-Star game. Ironically, it will be held in New Orleans.

As of the second returns, Gordon has received over 191,407 fan votes which ranks him seventh amongst Western Conference guards. Playing in that conference, as he has his entire career, makes it difficult for any second-tier talent to be voted in.

Easy example: That’s why other Indy natives like Mike Conley and Gordon Hayward have never played in the All-Star game.

The fans vote for the starters, and for the first time, it accounts for 50 percent of the vote. Players and media equally make up the other 50 percent.

EJ won’t get enough fan votes, but what he can hope for is head coaches in the West to reward him for his strong play, and the Rockets, who have the conference’s third-best record behind Golden State and San Antonio, with a spot for another member of their successful team.

The 10 starters will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 19th with the reserves named one week later. The game, to be held at Smoothie King Arena, is set for Feb. 19.

At the last, Gordon should certainly be invited to participate in the 3-point shootout. Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson beat out Curry, his teammate, last year.

After five challenging seasons with the Pelicans, both because of injuries and inconsistencies from the top down of the organization, Gordon bolted to a new team in free agency. It was the first time since college where he had full control of where he played and who he played for.

In 2012, he tried to leave the Pelicans after one season — he was traded there by the Clippers in 2011 as part of the Chris Paul deal — but he was a restricted free agent and New Orleans opted to match his offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns.

This past July, Gordon seriously considered New York, Memphis, and Houston, according to league sources.

New York filled its rosters with All-Stars from 2011, Memphis resigned Mike Conley to the league’s richest contract and signed Chandler Parsons to a max deal. That’s when the Rockets came calling, and interesting landing spot headed up by James Harden. He’s ball dominant, but that also means defenses will collapse and teammates but be ready to fire.

Former Pelicans teammate Ryan Anderson signed with the Rockets, then called Gordon to pitch the idea. Harden sat in on a free-agent meeting with Gordon, who ultimately signed for four years and $53 million.

Now for both sides, it looks like a perfect match.

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