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Former Indiana Hoosier Eric Gordon Hitting Stride in Contract Year

After seeing his points per game total decrease in each of the past 4 seasons, Eric Gordon is turning things around before hitting the open market in 2016.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Gordon's career in Bloomington under Kelvin Sampson ended after just one season. During that year, Gordon led the Hoosiers to an NCAA Tournament appearance and a first round loss to Arkansas. Gordon impressed in his one year at Indiana averaging 21 points per game in 32 appearances shooting 43% from the field.

Ultimately, Gordon was selected with the 7th overall pick by the Clippers in the 2008 NBA Draft.

After proving he could score in his first three seasons in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers, Eric Gordon saw his career head to New Orleans when he was dealt to the Pelicans as part of the Chris Paul trade in 2011. Since being traded to New Orleans, Gordon has never reached the 22.3 points per game he averaged in his final season as a Clipper, when he was just 21-years old. In fact, the now 26-year old has seen his average decline each of his 4 seasons with his new organization until this season, where Gordon is looking to turn it around and hit it big in 2016 free agency.

While the Pelicans have had a slow start to the 2015-16 season (1-9) under new head coach Alvin Gentry, Gordon can't be to blame for the early season struggles. The shooting guard has played in all 10 games this season averaging 20 points while shooting 42% from the field including 39% from deep. This makes Gordon the team's 2nd leading scorer behind just Anthony Davis, who is averaging 24 points per game.

Even better news for Gordon is that his 3P% isn't even close to where his expectation level is, after he shot 45% from deep last season. Right now, the 8 year pro is shooting 38% from 3 point range which is a solid mark, but he'll expect to improve in to the low 40's as the season moves on.

A slow start, however, has put Gordon's team in a whole in the deep Western Conference. It will be very tough for the Pelicans to make the playoffs after a 1-9 start to the season. Assuming they will need at least the same record as they had last year to get the 8-seed in the West, New Orleans will need to win about 61% of their remaining games in order to make the playoffs after such a slow start.

Don't be surprised if the Pelicans try to transform the supporting cast around Anthony Davis and look elsewhere when Eric Gordon becomes a free agent this offseason. Before this season, the free agent fate was not looking good for the declining Gordon, especially with a pretty strong 2016 free agency class. As this season moves on, however, Gordon has a great chance to continue to prove his value and hit it big as the salary cap increases this summer in the NBA and teams look to spend their new money.

Expect the former Hoosier star to get a lot of interest this summer if he can stay healthy and continue to average 20 points per game. There are a lot of teams in the NBA who are looking for players who can shoot and willing to overpay for the skill. Gordon is also an interesting case as he has 8 years of experience in the NBA, but is still just 26 years old.