Aaron Gordon warms up for dunk contest vs. Sixers
A breakaway dunk for most people was Aaron Gordon of the Magic warming up for the dunk contest at the 2017 All-Star game.
Eight minutes into the first quarter Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Gordon, the runner-up to Zach LaVine in the 2016 event in Toronto, a showdown so good that it helped revive interest in the contest that had gone stale, was alone with the ball. The basket was in sight and no 76er was closer than the free-throw line by the time Gordon took flight.
One 360-degree spin, one quick two-handed pump with the ball on final approach, and Gordon was on another highlight reel.
The attention is nice, but should not overshadow that he is becoming more than an athletic sideshow. The third-year pro has continued to expand his game, answering critics who said when Gordon was coming out of Arizona that he doesn’t have a perimeter game. The response has been to develop his range all the way to becoming a 3-point threat in the early going of 2016-17.
Gordon is a key part of the bright future in Orlando, albeit one of several pieces in the crowded front court that includes fellow returnee Nikola Vucevic and newcomers Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka. While dunks like the move he pulled off Tuesday in Philly will always get the spotlight, Gordon has become more than a contest attraction.