Film Room: The Master of Cutting to the Basket
By Josh Cohen
July 11, 2017
ORLANDO -- The switch to power forward made a huge difference for Aaron Gordon, who averaged 16.4 points and 6.2 rebounds after the position change this past season. The most striking aspect of Gordon’s performance after the adjustment was his scoring aptitude when he cut to the basket.
Gordon shot 26-for-35 (74.3 percent) from the floor on cut layups after the All-Star break, which coincided with the move to the four. Among players with at least 35 attempts on this type of shot during this timeframe, AG ranked 17th in the league in FG percentage.
Gordon’s athleticism, mobility, speed and dynamism creates a matchup nightmare for opposing power forwards. It’s really hard for opponents to stay locked in on him while he’s constantly on the move. The slower, more methodical the defender, the easier it is for AG to thrive.
This was really apparent last season when the Magic ran in transition, which they did a lot of after trading Serge Ibaka and acquiring Terrence Ross. AG shot 63.5 percent in transition over his last 26 games, which ranked 20th in the NBA during this span. Elfrid Payton ranked 19th.
Of the 26 cut layups that he made, 19 of them were dunks. That tells us that Gordon was able to almost always get all the way to the basket. AG is very explosive and unafraid of what stands in his way. While sometimes a tad out of control (was whistled for 12 charges all of last season), Gordon doesn’t shy away from contact.
Gordon excels in screen and roll situations. He has very good timing and anticipation. When he and Payton teamed up in pick-and-roll post A.S. break, Gordon shot 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) from the floor.
Here’s a look at Gordon in action when he cuts to the basket.
GORDON CATCHES DOMANTAS SABONIS NAPPING
GORDON MAKES EXCELLENT USE OF EVAN FOURNIER BACK SCREEN
GORDON DETECTS OPEN BASELINE
NOT EVEN LEBRON JAMES ANTICIPATES GORDON’S CUT
AG & ELFRID HIGH PICK-AND-ROLL ACTION