Gordon was brought in as the defensive wing that Denver had been missing.
He can defend multiple positions thanks to his 6-foot-8, 235-pound frame and explosive athleticism.
Sadly, Jamal Murray suffered a torn ACL on April 12, knocking him out for the rest of the season.
Breaking: Jamal Murray has been diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee.
He will be out indefinitely, the Nuggets announced. pic.twitter.com/gTVLPNmYAt
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 13, 2021
Denver got past the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round but were infamously swept in four games by the Phoenix Suns in the second round.
Gordon was still rewarded with a 4-year, $92 million contract extension this offseason.
The former No. 4 overall pick averaged 10.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game across 25 games with Denver.
He will be expected to contribute much more after securing the bag.
Nuggets Missing Offense with Murray Out
Offense was not a concern for the Nuggets.
Jokic and Murray helped power the league’s eighth-highest scoring offense in the league last year.
And so long as Jokic is on the roster, Denver should have a free-flowing and efficient offense.
But losing Murray for a good chunk of the upcoming season will hurt.
Murray is an elite-level scoring guard who can get buckets from anywhere on the court.
He’s a career 37 percent shooter from deep and hit a career-best 41 percent of his 6.6 attempts per game last season.
Jokic and Murray form an almost impossible pick-and-roll or dribble hand-off partnership as well.
And finally, Murray is their break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option on offense.
If everything breaks down and the team just needs a bucket, Murray is their guy to create off the dribble.
Jamal Murray 🇨🇦 averaged 26.5 PTS, 3.3 3PT, 6.6 AST, 4.8 REB & 0.9 STL during the 2020 NBA Playoffs! 🔥
R1: 31.6 PTS , 6.3 AST, 5.6 REB
WCSF: 22.6 PTS, 6.4 AST, 4.4 REB
WCF: 25.0 PTS, 7.4 AST, 4.4 REB#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/Qz7Ds7d1GF
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) September 27, 2020
With him out until at least November, the Nuggets will be counting on Gordon to replace some of that lost scoring.
Jokic will still function as the primary hub of the offense, but Gordon will need to step up alongside Michael Porter Jr.
Gordon was not brought in for his offensive ability but he has proven that he can score if needed.
In 2017-18, Gordon led the Magic in field goal attempts per game with 14.9.
He averaged 17.6 points per game on .434/.336/.698 shooting splits.
Not elite numbers, but they also came with him as a focal point on a poor Magic team.
AG will need to rediscover some of that form to help Jokic and Porter on offense with Murray out.
Gordon The Missing Wing Defender
Gordon will need to step up offensively in Murray’s absence but defense will be where he earns his money.
Especially come playoff time.
Denver has been sorely missing a perimeter defender who can match up with the elite wings of the NBA.
If you cannot stop these players, you have little hope of making the NBA Finals.
Gordon was brought in for this reason.
Prior to last season’s trade, Gordon made the Orlando defense 2.5 points stingier per 100 possessions when he was on the court.
The Nuggets are adding a solid defender in Aaron Gordon.
Over the last 3 seasons, Gordon ranks 13th in field goal percentage allowed as closest defender (43.6%) among 118 players to defend at least 1,500 shots during this span (source: Second Spectrum). pic.twitter.com/qNmCe2Kss4
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 25, 2021
He also ranks 13th in field-goal percentage allowed (43.6 percent) when he is the closest defender over the last three seasons (per ESPN Stats and Info).
His athleticism and size will bring defensive versatility to a Nuggets team that is short on wing defenders.