Aaron Gordon kept out of Magic’s starting lineup due to violation of team rules
Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon was late to arrive at the team’s plane on Monday before they traveled to Dallas. As a result, he was held out of their starting unit during Tuesday’s game versus the Mavericks, serving as his sanction for violating the team’s policy.
Jonathon Simmons took over Gordon’s spot in the starting lineup. He joined Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja, and Bismack Biyombo as the starters, as reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
The Magic are holding Aaron Gordon out of the starting lineup because of a violation of team rules. A source said Gordon was late arriving to the team plane in Orlando yesterday. So they'll start Elfrid Payton, Jonathon Simmons, Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja and Bismack Biyombo.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) January 10, 2018
With the reprimand, the Magic are sending a strong message not just to Gordon, but to the rest of the team that they will not allow these violations to just slip by. Regardless of a player’s role, the Magic will not treat anyone differently.
It is still unclear if Gordon will receive the usual amount of minutes he is used to getting, which is 33.5 per game, or if he will completely switch roles with Simmons on the night. It may also depend on matchups as Frank Vogel could opt to field in a small lineup in longer stretches to counter the Mavs’ tall frontline.
Gordon is having a banner year, averaging 19.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and two assists per game. His most notable stat, however, is his highly-improved 3-point accuracy which now stands at 39 percent.
The high-flying Magic forward should be in the discussion for this year’s Most Improved Player award, owing to his across-the-board career-best numbers. However, Orlando needs to quickly pile up some wins as they are currently the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference at 12-28.