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Old 02-25-2009, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default Stephen Jackson: "He can be a franchise player"

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Suns coach Alvin Gentry called him the best new talent in the league. Golden State’s Stephen Jackson said he’s a future franchise player.

Eric Gordon has made quite the impression during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Clippers, even if the gifted guard isn’t really interested in the limelight.

“I just try to prove something every game—that I can play,” Gordon said Tuesday.

The rest of the NBA is slowly getting the picture.

Gordon scored 27 points, making six of seven 3-pointers, to lead the Clippers to a 118-105 victory over the Warriors on Monday night. He has scored at least 21 in each of his last five games to raise his average to 15.3 for the season.

Gordon earned NBA rookie of the month honors for January, leading all first-year players in points (21.9 average) and minutes (41.1 average). The highlight of the month was a 41-point performance against Oklahoma City, a franchise rookie record and the highest total for any rookie this season.

Gordon’s big game against the Warriors helped the Clippers end a three-game skid and got Jackson’s attention.

“He has a knack for hitting the big shots and you can’t teach that,” Jackson said. “That kid is going to be very good.

“He’s one of the guys they’re going to keep around and help turn this franchise into a winner. The good thing about him is he’s more mature than these (other) rookies.”

Gordon is admittedly quiet. He bought a Range Rover and a town home after the Clippers selected him with the seventh pick in last year’s draft, but stayed away from any other big purchases.

“I like cars, but I don’t really get into too much jewelry,” Gordon said.

Eric Gordon Sr. said his son has always been that way.

“He likes his casual dress clothes, too,” Gordon Sr. said, in a phone interview from Indianapolis. “He used to have these clothes that were a little larger but all of a sudden I saw him for the first time before a game, and this dude had nice threads on and the clothes were nicely stitched.”

The silky playmaker is putting together quite the rookie year off the court, too. He started the Eric Gordon Foundation in Indiana with his father and is working with the Indiana Board of Health to set up flu shots for the elderly and HPV vaccines for young girls.

So while the Clippers muddle through another difficult year, they have at least one bright spot in place. The losses and a rash of injuries have led to more playing time for Gordon, who is making the most of his opportunity.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders and we keep pushing to get through this,” Dunleavy said. “If we were playing with our team on a nightly basis and this was our record, then I think he would be tested character-wise. But I think our guys understand that we do have an upside.”
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