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Signing review: Ben Gordon

Here’s an in-depth look at Ben Gordon’s signing. Reviews of Charlie Villanueva’s signing and the drafting of DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko will come later in the summer. (Austin Daye was already profiled here).


Position: Shooting guard/ point guard

Previous team: Chicago Bulls

School: Connecticut

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 200 pounds

Age: 25


2004-05 24.4 15.1 2.6 2.0 0.1 0.6 2.3 0.41 0.405 0.9
2005-06 31 16.9 2.7 3.0 0.1 0.9 2.3 0.42 0.435 0.8
2006-07 33 21.4 3.1 3.6 0.2 0.8 3 0.46 0.413 0.9
2007-08 31.8 18.6 3.1 3.0 0.1 0.8 2.1 0.43 0.41 0.9
2008-09 36.6 20.7 3.5 3.4 0.3 0.9 2.4 0.46 0.41 0.9
Career 31.4 18.5 3.0 3.0 0.2 0.8 2.4 0.44 0.415 0.9


Length: Five years

Estimated total salary: $52.2 million

Projected year-by-year:

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
$9,000,000 $9,720,000 $10,440,000 $11,160,000 $11,880,000

Reasons to be encouraged


Just eight players scored more and had a higher true shooting percentage than Gordon last year:

  • Dwyane Wade
  • LeBron James
  • Danny Granger
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kevin Martin
  • Chris Paul
  • Brandon Roy
  • Amar’e Stoudemire

That’s a pretty accomplished list. Gordon is quietly one of the league’s top scorers.

Top Bull

Based on win shares, Gordon was the Bulls’ best player the last two years. It’s that simple. He was Chicago’s best player.

Rodney Stuckey

The Pistons are banking on Rodney Stuckey to lead them into the future. And Gordon will make him better.

Stuckey is a big point guard with the ability to get to the rim – much like Derrick Rose. Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop examined Gordon’s impact on Rose. Expect similar results now that Gordon has been paired with Stuckey. (Although, I don’t think Stuckey is as good as Rose).

Stuckey hasn’t shown an ability to kick out passes when he attacks, but Detroit didn’t have a reliable 3-point shooter last year. Gordon is one of the league’s best from beyond the arc. If Stuckey is going to develop court vision, Gordon will help bring it out.

I think Stuckey has been asked to do too much, too soon. Gordon should be good for his development.


Gordon was the Bulls’ go-to scorer against the Celtics. He hit big shot after big shot in that first-round series.

And he was 15th in points per 48 minutes of clutch time, according to 82 Games.

Gordon should help recreate the late-game swagger the Pistons haven’t had since Chauncey Billups was traded.


Gordon grew up without his father. But his mom made so sure his home life was stable, he didn’t even realize he was living in a single-parent household until he was 16, according to a 2007 Chicago Tribune article.

When he was young, Gordon acted much more mature than his peers. He wanted to wear suits to church, and he’d scoff at teenagers for smoking, according to that Tribune article.

Despite complaints about his contract, Gordon played hard for the Bulls the last two years. He’ll be a welcome addition for a team that had more than its share of troublemakers last year.


Gordon is one of just five players under 6-foot-4 since Isiah Thomas who have a career average of at least 18.5 points per game. Gordon takes great pride in that.

And he likes to prove he can do other things most don’t think he can.

Before the 2006-07 season, Gordon said his main goal was to get to the free-throw line more often. He averaged a career-high 5.4 free-throw attempts per 36 minutes that year.

Despite leading the Bulls in point scored his rookie year, Gordon averaged just 24.4 minutes per game (seventh on the team) because of concerns about his conditioning.

Gordon was second on the Bulls in minutes played the last two season.

There’s plenty of reason to think Gordon is just getting better.

Reasons to be discouraged


There are far fewer reasons to be discouraged about Gordon. Although simple, this one is a big deal. Defense is half the game.

His defensive ratings of 112 and 111 the last two years are terrible.

He’s smaller and weaker than most shooting guards. Maybe Stuckey can guard twos, allowing Gordon to defend point guards. But Stuckey hasn’t shown that much defensive proficiency, either.


Besides scoring, Gordon doesn’t do much else. Among the 42 players with usage rates of 25 (minimum 41 games played) last season, here’s how Gordon ranks:

  • Assists per 36 minutes: 24th
  • Rebounds per 36 minutes: 36th
  • Blocks per 36 minutes: 30th
  • Steals per 36 minutes: 34th

Gordon will score. If he does anything else, it’s a bonus.

Not perfect

Like I said above, Gordon seems to have high character. But he’s definitely not perfect.

Gordon was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct for slapping a woman who had just slapped him when he was in college. He performed 30 hours of community service.

He also went on a tirade when Vinny Del Negro fined him for being late for a team flight, according to By The Horns.


The last time Joe Dumars signed a 26-year-old guard who was an on-again off-again starter, it worked out well. That was Chauncey Billups.

If Gordon reaches Billups’s level, this signing is absolutely great. But even if he doesn’t, Gordon is better right now than Billups was when he signed with Detroit.




  • Jul 17, 20091:36 pm
    by mike


    I think Rodney Stuckey is the next Jason Kidd and was a great pick by Joe Dumars.With Ben Gordonwill help his stock and he will sky rocket to the top as one of the top point guard in the game today. Him and rose will be neck to neck for years to come. I wish someone would of said that michael Jordan was going to be that good . cause the truth is nobody knows who is going to be the best or a great player. I think Ben will make Rodney better but the Pistons really need to put a better core around Ben and Rodney. They need to get a true big man and someone at the small forward. Prince is ready for the bench I loved him out college but he is not showing me nothing. Go and get Boozer And put Charlie at center then i think we are ready and get a back up 2 gaurd because utah will want to have Rip 

  • Jul 18, 20095:32 pm
    by Ethan


    I agree with “Mike” but I don’t think we should but Charlie at Center that’s not his true position. If we want to get the best out of him we need him at Power Forward. And I also agree about Tay he’s just gone down hill it’s like he plays without emotion.  I would set the rotation like this Stuckey and Gordon at gaurds Rip and Charlie at Fowards and we defeinetly need a defensive presents at Center who that would be I have no idea but on paper it looks great with Tay coming off the bench.

  • Jul 19, 200912:01 am
    by WhoMe


    Yes, Gordon will help score points, but the Pistons have always prided themselves on their defense. Ben’s a defensive liability, not to mention his lack of assists, defense, and rebounds. Score 30, give up 30….We’re a small, low scoring team now, stuck With Kwame Brown in the middle, hopefully Vilanuevea can take his spot.
    Overall, it’s impossible to predict how they’ll perform as a TEAM.  We need a handful of Bigs, because we’re so undersized in the frontcourt. Tay’s needed to step up before, but seems to be a reluctant focal point. He should be good for 20 a night, but hasn’t pulled it off yet. I hope somehow all this mess will change under Coach Kuester, but right this minute, it’s a friggin’ mess. Someone pass the steroids over to Austin Daye please. Right now.

  • Jul 19, 200911:31 am
    by Ian


    Ben Gordon must get quicker. In order to do it, he must work on his strength. Then, he will be quick enough to stay with the best guards. He seems like the kind of guy who likes to work on his game. If he has not already, Dumars could put the guards in contact with Isiah Thomas. He understood how to play offense and defense. Maybe they should have him talk with some of the Lions defensive players on how to develop a defensive mentality.

    They also need players around him who play both offense and defense to encourage him. Tayshaun Prince does it. Yet, he suffers from the same problem. He is not strong enough to guard people like Lebron James effectively. He is resting content on his long body. Dumars must refuse to put up with players who are not into developing a full game. People like Ron Artest and Mickael Pietrus have tried much harder to figure out how to guard the best and score on them.

    The Pistons also might want to think about bringing in Carlos Boozer to play the tough style of basketball that people in Michigan love to watch at games. If Ben Gordon is on his way to becoming the best, he needs to have other people around him who feel the same way. Either one wants to be the best or one does not. If you get talked out of it, you just became a headcase. They need players who will not be talked out of working on their game. People like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are dominating now, but they still do not have a complete game. It means their teams can be beat next season. The Celtics are ageing and the Pistons could make moves to beat them. Ben Gordon might be a good addition to the team.

  • Jul 23, 200911:00 am
    by The Rake


    Man, I am loving this site.  Great analysis on BG.  I want to be encouraged by his signing, and really am, but I am little discouraged by the size od his contract.  I would have loved it at $8.5-9 per but more than $11 seems high, especially when it really felt we were competing against ourselves to acquire him.  (Was anybody else ever serious about him?)  I worry about his D, but good character and a bonafide scorer/FT guy late in the game are strong attributes.
    The Rake

  • [...] As note previously, just eight players scored more with a higher true shooting percentage than Gordon: [...]

  • [...] As note previously, just eight players scored more with a higher true shooting percentage than Gordo last season: [...]

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