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Contextualizing Ben Gordon’s slump

I probably don’t need to tell you Ben Gordon has played terribly lately, but I’m going to show you just how bad his last eight game have been.

Children, avert your eyes. These numbers are gruesome.

All charts show Gordon’s totals for the worst eight-game stretches of his career, and the dates mark the end the eight-game periods. The most recent stint is red. All other runs with the Pistons are blue. Stretches with the Bulls are black.


In his last eight games, Gordon has scored 46 points. That’s the lowest-scoring eight-game stretch of his career – by a wide margin.

He scored 55 points in his next-lowest-scoring stretch, and that involves seven of his last eight games. He scored 57 points in his lowest-scoring stretch before that, and that involves six of the last eight games.

Finally, in a stint that didn’t overlap with his current one, Gordon scored 62 points in a run of eight games that ended in March 2010.

In Gordon’s lowest-scoring eight-game stretch with the Bulls, he scored 70 points – 24 more than in his current stint.

Free throws

Part of the reason Gordon earned a reputation as a top-end scorer with the Bulls was his ability to get to the free-throw line. That hasn’t happened lately.

Sure, Gordon is still shooting a high percentage from the charity stripe – 1-for-1! – if you want to be extremely generous.

Of course, making one free-throw in eight games is a career-worst for Gordon.

So is attempting only one.

Points per 36 minutes

I know many of you think it’s unfair to criticize Gordon when he gets reduced playing time. I say to that, the way he’s played lately, he doesn’t deserve big minutes. But I’ll play along.

In his last eight games, Gordon is averaging 11.91 points per 36 minutes. That’s actually only his seventh-worst eight-game stretch. Bad, but it could be worse.

All six of Gordon’s worse points-per-36-minutes stretches occurred in overlapping stints in December.


After leaving the Bulls for the Pistons, Ben Gordon has lowered the standard for his minimum production. Somehow, he’s lowering it even further now.


  • Mar 29, 20111:09 pm
    by Travis


    Put Ben Gordon in google and go to images and all but one of the images are Bull related.

  • Mar 29, 20113:06 pm
    by bg8


    well its kind of hard extrapolating anything to 36min when you average 17min a game in the past 8, and with half of them getting less than 14min, and 6 of the 8 less than 20min a game. what kind of production do you expect to see. theres no chance for him to get into any type of flow or rythm at all, as soon as he might get into one, he gets yank.

    gordon is basically in a no win situation right now. if he play team ball (which is what he’s doing right now), he’s not aggressive. if he play me ball, then he’s a blackhole ala rip/prince on offense.

    so im all for bg stinking it up and getting a huge pay check for doing nothing really. i think gordon way of going about this situation is better than how rip handled it, instead of talking, gordon is just going out there and producing what the coach is expecting out of him, why even bother to give him anything more than what the coach expect

    • Mar 29, 20114:26 pm
      by neutes


      there are so many things wrong here

    • Mar 29, 20115:00 pm
      by Tim Thielke


      “why even bother to give him anything more than what the coach expect” Really? Umm, why give it your all even when you’ve played so poorly that expectations have been lowered? Because that is his job and because that is the only way he will get a bigger role in Detroit or anywhere else. I know you love Gordon and are the only person in the universe who doesn’t think he is overpaid. I still think he could be pretty good if he works hard and is used well, but there is no denying that he has sucked, and a lot more than could be attributed to factors that aren’t his doing.

      • Mar 29, 20117:34 pm
        by bg8


        gordon’s exptectation did not go down because of his poor play, but because of the coach. if you go way back to the first 6 games of the season, gordon averaged 32min and 20pts per game, after that, he didn’t play 30min in a game for another month. and thats started this erractic, downward spiral of gordon’s play, which leads to what we have now

        and yeah, you’re right, so don’t think gordon is overpaid at all. he would be worth his money if they just allow him to play

        • Mar 29, 20118:12 pm
          by neutes


          Gordon can never be worth his money.

        • Mar 29, 201111:00 pm
          by Tim


          Ok, let’s just look at Ben Gordon’s first six games this season, arguably his best stretch as a Piston. He averaged 7 of 13 shooting for 20 pts to go with less than 5 combined rebounds and assists, less than 1 combined blocks and steals, and 2.5 turnovers and 4 fouls per game. Those are good numbers but not great ones. They are maybe worth his $11M/yr or whatever. But still not for sure, just maybe. And that was his best stretch. If a player earns about what he makes in his very best six game stretch, he is way overpaid. period.
          Furthermore you gripe about his inconsistent minutes. And they did go down a little, but not horribly so at first. In his next 17 games, there was only one in which he logged fewer than 20 minutes and 3 in which he was over 30. He was getting very consistent about 27 mpg. Sure you could argue he deserves a bit more, but if a guy can’t produce when he is consistently getting 27 minutes, that’s a serious problem with that player–not with that coach or system or whatever.
          And in those 17 games, he averaged under 10 ppg. His other numbers weren’t great either. And his play that didn’t show up in the box score (defense, hustle, etc) was particularly bad. And that is why he didn’t get consistent minutes thereafter.
          So my question for you is, how can you deny that Ben Gordon’s poor production is not at least as much his fault as it is Kuester’s or Dumars’? Do you really believe that a player who plays considerably below average when consistently receiving 27 mpg can be worth $11M/yr?
          I’m sure Gordon could be better if he was consistently getting 35 mpg. But if he can’t produce in 27, that is a bigger problem than the fact that that is all he is getting.

          • Mar 29, 201111:54 pm
            by bg8

            yeah, part of it is inconsistent minute, and another part is because of kuester (which i didn’t really wanna go into since we all know he suck) for his poor outing. the offensive scheme of the pistons just aren’t that great with using gordon. the way gordon is use is purely as a spot up shooter in the corner and when you have no one who drive and kick, gordon is pretty useless in the offensive. while as a bulls, they used him as a spot up shooter, but they also allowed him to create on his own, which he isn’t allow to do as a pistons. and im sure ill be able to come up with more excuses for bg, if i think some more but too lazy to think anymore already

            the only blame i put on gordon for his poor performance is that he pump fake way too much when someone passes him the ball in the corner, he needs to just shoot the damn ball. if it gets rejected, there’s next time, and that would be better than any other shots the pistons could get

  • Mar 29, 20115:52 pm
    by swish22


    One thing is for sure.  NOBODY on this team has been more professional during his struggles and the Pistons struggles than Ben Gordon!  I didn’t care for the signing when we made it but I’ve  grown to like Ben for his team first attitude.  I haven’t seen every game this year, but anytime I’ve heard Ben talk or have  seen him leaving the floor for the bench hes a true professional!
    Hes now one of my favorites on this team and can still be an integral part of the Pistons future!
    We need a true point guard to maximize his shooting obviously!  He can still shoot the lights out and he does try defensively even though we know he has shortcomings there!   He’s just a pure shooter who always tries his best!~  He can still be our Vinnie Johnson coming off the bench at the least!

  • Mar 29, 20116:01 pm
    by Jeremy


    I think the real problem is that BG hasn’t stepped up in other areas outside of scoring.
    During his career with the Bulls, Gordon was consistently a primary option. With the Pistons, he never really has been. I don’t mind that he isn’t scoring like he did as a Bull, the Pistons have plenty of scorers. But we could really use him to help out in other areas. Remember Rip’s “I’m-gonna-get-assists” year? If BG could have been a reliable distributor for us this year, people would be all over him. If he defended hard and well on every possession it would be the same. Gordon was always a scorer. The Pistons didn’t need that, and he hasn’t really provided it, but he’s showing himself to be truly one dimensional by not helping out in areas that the Pistons do have need.
    I do think it is to his credit that his attitude hasn’t been a problem this year, as have so many others’. But $11 million ought to buy you more than a good guy. There are plenty of ways to contribute on this team besides for scoring, and that’s what BG has to think about if he wants to actually earn that paycheck.

    • Mar 30, 20111:03 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Jeremy, Ben Gordon can do two things well — score and exert effort on defense (even if the results on that end aren’t perfect). If the Pistons expected more from him, that’s their fault.

  • [...] The Ben Gordon signing has been a disaster for the Pistons, and Gordon has never played worse than he’s playing right [...]

  • Mar 29, 20117:01 pm
    by Geoff


    You BG’s defenders are nuts.

    He’s not playing at a level he’s capable of, and it is his fault. Everyone else seems productive more nights than not.

    The Coach has had a problem with him, thinks he’s not aggressive enough an not looking for shots. That hurts a team, not helps. He’s not a creator, defender, so ofcourse he needs to score. He cant. For whatever reason his height seems to be causing severe issues for him for the first time in his career. And he never attacks the basket.

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