Gordon isn’t used to sitting

Dillman is a Times staff writer.

It’s one thing to be in charge of drink orders, lunch menus and having to snap to attention when someone calls you, “Rook.”

Eric Gordon, the Clippers’ first-round draft pick this summer, fully knows that goes with the NBA territory. But the decided drop off in playing time is unfamiliar and unfriendly terrain.

“I was one of the guys leading the Big 10 in minutes,” Gordon said Thursday after practice. “Now it’s a whole different level. I’m just not used to sitting down that much and coming in and just playing like that. I usually have my game flowing. If you’re not used to it. It really throws you off.”


Gordon was the Clippers’ leading scorer in the exhibition season, averaging 14.6 points and had an impressive 33-point performance against Sacramento. Of course, preseason might as well be a foreign language in comparison to the regular season.

He has barely worked up a sweat in five games, averaging about five minutes and two points a game. Gordon logged a mere 4:11 of playing time in Wednesday’s loss to the Lakers.

Part of it is safeguarding the tender psyche of a rookie, especially staring at the likes of the Lakers and Utah.

“When they drop off, it’s a drop off,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “To expect some of the young kids to play against Kobe Bryant, big-time players, is a stretch. They can do it for periods of time. But over the long haul, it’s like going to Vegas and putting down a bet. The odds are in their favor.”

Then there’s the veteran factor on the depth chart and that guard Cuttino Mobley and swingman Ricky Davis have been relatively healthy, meaning more waiting time for Gordon.

“You’re always going to give your veteran guys a shot first because the young guys have to learn the league a little bit,” Dunleavy said. “There’s a period of getting into it. A lot of time they’re going to get short minutes. You have to be productive in those short minutes and buy more time for yourself.”


Dunleavy hinted that Gordon would probably be getting increased playing time, making a point of praising his play in practice Thursday.

Camby update

Eventually, the hope is that the Clippers will be able to get the 30 minutes or so a game that they need from Marcus Camby.

Until then, caution will be the mode of operation. He played about 26 minutes in his first game back against Utah and was trimmed back (along with foul trouble) to 16 minutes in his next game against the Lakers, in part because his heel was sore the day after the Utah game.

“The mornings are always the worst,” Camby said. “Getting up and stepping out. It’s always the toughest part.”