7. AARON GORDON, Arizona (6-7, SF)
On pure talent, Gordon would be No. 2 on the list. It doesn’t take long watching Gordon to become completely enamoured with his motor, athleticism and power. He’s a Blake Griffin clone with a skillset that’s further along at the same stage. He’s an efficient offensive scorer and the second-best overall athlete in the class. But a big part of being an instant impact freshman is opportunity and fit. Gordon’s decision to attend Arizona creates more questions about his opportunity and where he fits in than it provides answers. Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley will return for their sophomore seasons in the Arizona frontcourt. So how will Gordon fit in? Gordon is motivated to prove to NBA scouts that he is capable of becoming a full-time wing player. In fact, this was perhaps the deciding factor in his recruitment. Strictly from a numbers standpoint, having Gordon play out on the wing makes sense. But will the transition from the post to the wing be as smooth and dominant as everyone expects it to be? Gordon is currently a matchup nightmare at the four and at his most effective when he plays the game from the inside-out. Pulling Gordon away from the rim and forcing him to handle it and shoot it from the perimeter gets away from what makes him special. Teaching him to make decisions and react instinctively out on the wing just seems like it might take more time than people are willing to wait. There’s no question Gordon has the skillset and motor to become the alpha male in Tuscon and put together a truly special freshman year. I believe in Gordon’s talent. I really do. What makes me nervous is that Aaron grew up playing for the Oakland Soldiers; the same AAU club that produced Brandon Ashley and Nick Johnson. I just don’t see Gordon stepping into that mix and becoming the go-to guy. A position change. Playing with guys he grew up idolizing. Add it up and it makes me question whether he’ll be as consistently productive in year one as the six guys ahead of him on the list.