Arizona Basketball: Aaron Gordon Must Make Free Throws to Succeed in NBA

By John Lloyd
Casey Sapio- USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats freshman is all the buzz around town. Aaron Gordon is going to be a top-10 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but he must improve one portion of his game to translate well to the NBA: free throws. On the season, Gordon has made just 42 percent of his attempts from the line. He needs to improve that to 60 percent in the NBA or he is going to struggle early and often.

In the win over the Oregon Ducks, Gordon went to the line 11 times, making just four. This has been a common trend for him as teams have started to figure out the Achilles’ heel of his game. Free throw shooting is an undervalued statistic of a big man’s repertoire and if Gordon cannot make free throws, he’s going to just be another power forward that cannot get free points at over 50 percent.

Gordon has looked like a young Blake Griffin this season; a gifted athletic freak just waiting to break out of his shell. Like Griffin, Gordon might struggle at first from the line, but he will figure it out even if it’s in his fifth year in the NBA.

In the win over the Oregon State Beavers, he made a 3-point jumper and missed his lone free throw of the night. Gordon is becoming more of a featured player in the offense now that he’s playing more of his natural position at power forward. Letting him work down low on the block will help his career with Arizona and whoever drafts him at the next level.

If Gordon can somehow figure out his woes from the line by the time the draft comes, he would be a top-five pick. But in this loaded class, the concerns of his position are going to drop him a little bit. Hopefully for Gordon’s sake, he can get better in a flash or he’ll be a flash in the pan and only be a defensive specialist in the NBA.

John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII

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