Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon has been around long enough to know he wouldn’t have a lot in common with the rest of the Rockets locker room coming into the season.

His peers like James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook have moved on. Now, at 33, Gordon is the uncle in the Rockets locker room.

The Rockets have ushered in a youth movement and the normally reserved Gordon’s job was to guide and lead players like rookies Jalen Green, Josh Christopher and Alperen Sengun along with Kevin Porter Jr.  And the young players, who call Gordon Eaz-E, have appreciated being able to watch how he works and absorb his 13 years of NBA knowledge and six years with the franchise.

“It’s awesome having Eaz-E on the team,” Green said.  “He has been here for so long and he is one of the best players in the league right now.

“He is always putting up shots after practice and he is always giving up advice. It’s good to have somebody like Eaz-E on the team.”

Gordon has been thriving in his expanded leadership role, being that dependable leader and scorer that is needed for the struggling Rockets. He is the second-leading scorer on the team (14.4 points per game) while his 3.2 assists per game lead the Rockets. But his real value has come in his increased efficiency because he is doing more with fewer scoring opportunities this season.

Gordon is taking an average of 10.2 shots per game and knocking down 5.1 of them while converting 2.2 of the 5.1 3-point shots he is averaging per game.

“Throughout the years my roles have definitely changed, whether coming off the bench, starting,” Gordon said. “With me, I feel like I can adapt to all of my teammates because of the style of play that I have.

“It’s good to come back this summer, trying to avoid injuries throughout the season and be prepared and ready to have a good season like I’m having this season, a very efficient year.”

While Gordon has definitely been a bright spot for the Rockets so far this season, he has also been the subject of constant trade rumors since the season began. Gordon’s years are winding down and the Rockets are nowhere near ready to win right now, so moving him on or before the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline does seem to make the most sense.

Gordon, who is under contract for two more seasons, can move on to a contending team, while the Rockets can get another future draft pick or young players that will be a better fit with their youth movement. Gordon knows the business well and doesn’t seem bothered by the speculation that his time in Houston may be coming to an end.

“I’ve been traded before,” he said. “It’s been a long time since that happened but it’s part of the business. I’m just going to come out and play basketball. I don’t worry about stuff like that.”

But what Gordon does concern himself with is being on top of his game so that he can keep his career going wherever he is playing.

“I can keep going, I think I can do this for at least another four or five years for sure,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what’s coming at me, I’m ready for it. I prepare myself for any moments throughout the season or every game. I’m looking forward to trying to do my best.”


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I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....