Eric Gordon expects to resume basketball activity this month

by Jim Eichenhofer

He’s played for New Orleans since 2011, yet shooting guard Eric Gordon still doesn’t believe he’s ever been able to fully show what he’s capable of with his second NBA team. When Gordon looks back on the first half of his professional career – his three seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers – he pictures an explosive, dynamic guard who once scored 41 points in a game as a rookie. That remains his single-game high.

Gordon has yet to participate in a New Orleans training camp, the result of knee injuries the past two years that kept him out of all or part of the preseason schedule. Heading into 2014-15, the 25-year-old believes this season will be different, partly because he anticipates being available from Day 1.

“Over the previous two to three years, I’ve been forced to mostly focus on rehabbing and my body recovering, instead of working out like I want to, as far as lifting and building muscle,” Gordon said this week from his Indianapolis youth basketball camp. “I’m going to change various things this year, so that I can make sure every time I get on the court, I’m the best athlete on the floor, like I was a few years ago, before I came to New Orleans.”

After playing in nine and 42 games during his first two New Orleans seasons, respectively, Gordon appeared in 64 games in 2013-14, missing just four games prior to being sidelined for the final 14 contests. It was the most games he’s played since his rookie NBA season. Gordon underwent arthroscopic surgery on April 16 on his left knee, but the six-year veteran describes it as a minimal procedure.

“This was just a minor scope,” said Gordon, who averaged 15.4 points and 3.3 assists. “I’m progressing very well. There’s no doubt that this will be a better offseason for me. This year I’ll be able to transition my body to do things I want to do now, instead of waiting almost until training camp.”

The Indiana University product has been limited basketball-wise since his April surgery, but expects to return to normal playing activities this month.

“Right now I can do some stuff on the floor,” he said. “I do mostly catching-and-shooting, or shooting off the dribble. As far as a full workout, I’ll probably start that in the next two weeks.”

Since the conclusion of the regular season, various NBA outlets have weighed in on which teams have the best chance to go from a non-playoff squad to postseason qualifier in ’15.

Gordon believes that despite being one of the youngest teams in the league, New Orleans (34-48) can make the jump if it stays reasonably healthy.

“We had a tough year, as far as injuries,” he said. “We had a lot of crazy injuries. I’m just looking forward to getting back to winning. We have the talent. I don’t care how young we are – we have the talent to win. It’s time to live up to the expectations. As you could see, we’re always in games, but there were lapses at crucial points. We’ve just got to learn to overcome that. At the end of the day, we have the talent to do it.”