What rookie wall? If anything Clippers’ rookie Eric Gordon has gotten better as this season has gone on. After pouring in a career-high 41 points in Friday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Gordon is fourth among rookies in terms of scoring at 13.5 points a game though.
But while most of the more heralded rookies ahead of him have seen their averages stagnate or drop this month, Gordon’s game has soared. He’s averaging 22.6 points a game in 11 games in January, best among NBA rookies.
Rookie scoring leader O.J. Mayo (19.1 ppg) has scored just 16.6 points a game in January. Derrick Rose is also under his season average (16.7 points a game) this month, scoring just 14.7 points a game in 12 January games.
Only Russell Westbrook has shown similar improvement throughout the season, increasing his scoring average in each month this season.
Perhaps more importantly, Gordon has earned the respect of his veteran teammates with his attitude, effort on defense and willingness to take big shots at the end of games.
Recently veteran center Marcus Camby even stuck his neck out for the rookie, arguing that the stocky shooting guard should be getting a lot more love from officials around the league.
“I think Eric gets fouled a lot when he goes to the hole,” Camby said. “I think the referees see how they see how big and aggressive he is, so he doesn’t get the benefit of the whistle.
“Yeah it’s a rookie thing. They may say it doesn’t exist, but it exists. Hopefully as we go on through the season, he can start getting that respect and have it carry over year after year, because I know he’s going to be in the league a long time.”