From the first day of training camp all the way to Friday’s preseason finale, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon promised that his focus would remain affixed on the process and not so much the results. Whether Gordon got a contract extension, whether he had a big individual jump in his production this season or whether the Magic eventually make the playoffs – all of it would be as a result of the work that he’s put in and none of it would ever distract his focus, Gordon insisted. That mindset helped Gordon carry over a strong finish from last season into this preseason where he has shown major signs of making a major breakthrough. In Gordon’s first four preseason games, he’s averaged 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from 3-point range – all of which would be career-best numbers compared to what he’s done in the first three years of his NBA career. Gordon’s production has come at a time when he is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Magic – a pact that must be agreed upon before Oct. 16 or he will be a restricted free agent on July 1, 2018. He has been able to successfully block out that potential distraction by simply focusing on his play on the court. ``That’s never why I played the game and not why I play the game (now),’’ Gordon said, referring to the chance to cash in and secure his long-term future. ``I trust (Magic President of Basketball Operations) Jeff Weltman and (GM) John Hammond to make the right decision and I’m going to continue to play my game, help my team and improve as a player. They see how hard I work, they see how far my game has come and I’m only 22 (years old). ``My game is going to continue to get better and there’s still no ceiling for me,’’ he added. ``I’m looking to be the best in the NBA at some point in my career, so I’m going to continue to improve and continue to help my team get wins.’’ DEFENSIVE PROGRESS: To make a major jump this season and go from 29 wins to one that is contention for a playoff spot, the Magic must make significant gains on the defensive end of the floor. Head coach Frank Vogel has poured over the numbers and video footage from last season and he knows that minimal improvements simply won’t cut it considering how woeful Orlando was defensively last season.
Magic's Gordon: 'I'm looking to be the best in the NBA at some point'
NBA.com | Oct 15