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The Big Answer?: Ben Gordon

DF then: Can he eclipse the Diawara Line in 79 percent of his games?

This coincides with a lengthier post I had planned for last year and can’t be fully explained in this spirit of this series. So, check shortly for a full post explaining the Diawara Line.

DF now: No, but it was irrelevant

Here’s that post about Ben Gordon and the Diawara Line. The Diawara Line appeared significant for Gordon, because, historically, he was a high-volume shooter who had too many poor-shooting games.

But that wasn’t the case this year. Often, Gordon didn’t shoot enough. So, measuring his value solely by true shooting percentage doesn’t make much sense. Hopefully, Gordon will regain his confidence, shoot more and make the Diawara Line relevant next season.

For the record, Gordon topped the Diawara Line in 71 percent of his games (58 of 82) this year.

PH then: Is he a starter?

Ben Gordon is not going to win the starting shooting guard job with Richard Hamilton present. Gordon’s explosiveness is just much better suited as a super-sub type player. But Gordon does not view himself as a sixth man, nor does his salary suggest he is one.

The Pistons need to find out if they have a young veteran who will develop a more all-around approach if he’s given an expanded role, or if they have a one-dimensional scorer who’s locked into an above-market-rate long-term deal.

PH now: No

Gordon was severely hampered by injuries a year ago. This season, he was fairly healthy. But he played with no confidence and didn’t fit with the personnel or the offense the Pistons tried to run. To his credit, he was professional about it and didn’t sulk or complain in the media like some of his teammates did. But he also showed he doesn’t do anything else well enough to command a starting job if his shot isn’t falling. He’s loose with the ball when handling it, doesn’t create for teammates and, although he tries, he doesn’t defend his position well. I can’t see him being more than a good sixth man in the NBA.


  • May 10, 20112:13 pm
    by brgulker


    I can’t see him being more than a good sixth man in the NBA.
    Apart from Greg Monroe, is there any player on the Pistons’ roster for whom this is not a true statement?

  • May 10, 20113:44 pm
    by rob


    I think Gordon winning 6th man as a rookie should have been a major signal to GM’s as to what role he was going to play in this league in the future.

  • May 10, 20114:27 pm
    by neutes


    I don’t know that I agree Gordon was ‘professional’ throughout this tumultuous season. Call it a lack of confidence if you will, but he was moping it out there. Was it a confidence issue or being a quiet cry baby? Either way he’s getting paid too much to lose confidence or cry about it. He should be out there doing what he does best – shooting. Not that it would have necessarily helped the team all that much, but at least you could look at him and say he’s trying. I don’t know what you call what he did this year. It’s not like he had a reason to lose confidence in his shooting ability.

  • May 10, 20116:19 pm
    by Laser


    the problem here is that there’s no role for the guy here. he was as good as anyone could expect for a third or fourth guard playing 20ish minutes and taking a few efficient shots as a third option. you could probably make a case for keeping him around, but not unless you cleared some room for him in the backcourt.
    it’s absolutely inexcusable that there are still so many questions surrounding these individual players, given that we’ve seen two full seasons of this team. but the fact is, the Big Question for almost everyone* on our roster is “where does he fit?” and the answer, bafflingly, is “i don’t know.”
    *the exceptions that come to mind are monroe, who’s obviously set to be a frontcourt fixture for the next decade, and maybe bynum, who’ll probably just be a backup PG until the day he dies… but the case could be made for him to start if the alternative is stuckey. everyone else on the roster is a question mark. every last one of them. how this happened when we had two full seasons with nothing to accomplish aside from player evaluation is FAR beyond me. and the one fixture here who’s all but certain to walk away is the only sure-fire starter on the roster aside from monroe.
    it’s pathetic that going into gordon’s (and charlie’s) third season, we’re still not close to sure what his place is here. and it’s depressing how reasonable our team’s outlook would be right now if we never signed those guys. we’d be no worse on the court, with cap space instead of roster logjams.

    • May 10, 20117:08 pm
      by RandomGuy313


      To be fair, JoeD could do nothing to alleviate that logjam at shooting guard even though it was noted that he tried to take steps to move Rip (I will concede that he made the logjam though, but you have to deal with now). With that being said, if Gordon can fill a Jason Terry role on this team he can be an asset.

      • May 10, 20118:25 pm
        by Laser


        the bottom line is that joe made the mess. it was a foreseeably bad mess, and it probably worked out worse than anyone could have imagined. it’s handcuffed the team badly and left us with a pair of overpaid volume shooters at the same position and no way to establish value for them. given that, i don’t think i even need to say the following, but i will:
        1) we have no idea what joe could do to alleviate the logjam. in a recent Pistons Mailbag keith langlois insisted that joe had multiple offers for ben gordon last season, including one with a “big name” player coming back (and langlois is notorious for acting like he doesn’t know anything about the inner workings of the front office, so i take him at his word when he comes out with something like that). also, there’s no chance whatsoever that he couldn’t have traded stuckey at any point since drafting him. this would be less of an accomplishment than moving gordon or rip, but i wonder what we could have gotten for him while he was still on a rookie contract. my guess is “plenty.” but joe was INSISTENT on moving rip instead of one of the other two. he tried to package the guy with a sure future lottery pick! and meanwhile he could have unloaded gordon, which would leave the team in strikingly similar spot as if we’d unloaded rip. but my suspicion is that dumars was too stubborn to trade stuckey or gordon, since those are two guys he planned on building around, and trading either of them would be an admission of failure. trading rip, on the other hand, would have saved joe some face. until people realized what he’d done and how badly we need every lottery pick we can get for the next three years or so.
        2) gordon can not fill a jason terry role on this team. it’s flat-out impossible, and i explained why in my initial post. have you been paying a SHRED of attention to gordon’s career here? jason terry comes off the bench behind an inferior player (deshawn stevenson this season) and is the top scoring guard on dallas’s team and a second scoring option behind dirk. he plays starter’s minutes every night alongside jason kidd (an actual point guard who mostly facilitates) and jj barea (more of a combo guard, but not a prolific scorer either). ben gordon plays behind two guys at his same position, and both of them are volume shooters. he plays backup minutes without the benefit of a point guard, and he’s usually a third offensive option. it’s not rocket science.

        • May 10, 201110:08 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          “in a recent Pistons Mailbag keith langlois insisted that joe had multiple offers for ben gordon last season, including one with a “big name” player coming back”

          Where did Langlois say that?

          • May 11, 20111:51 am
            by Laser

            one or two ‘bags ago. should be easy enough to find if you just scan the last few. it pissed me off for a few reasons.

          • May 11, 20112:08 am
            by Laser

            may 5, page two:
            “Joe Dumars has fielded numerous trade requests for Gordon. It happened at the trade deadlines in both of his seasons with the Pistons. I have knowledge of a trade offer made to the Pistons that involved a high-profile player coming the other way…”

            something tells me it’s gilbert arenas. i dunno…

            link: http://www.nba.com/pistons/chat_mailbox/mailbag_110505_2.html

  • May 11, 20116:29 am
    by steve


    @laser…  dont u realize joe hasnt been able to make ANY trades in the last couple years, especially not ones with “high profile” stars coming back..  u are just trying to take an irrelevent trade rumor, (which would have been nixed by karen davidson anyway) and using it to paint joe d in a bad light, bc u personally dont like him.  if u are going to say something to criticize him, then u should use common sense…

    • May 11, 201112:37 pm
      by Laser


      (Personal attack removed) 1) joe most certainly has been able to make trades the last year, he was just severely limited. he was allowed to take back draft picks and expiring contracts. that’s been established. there was almost a highly publicized deadline trade that involved rip going to the cavaliers if you were paying any attention.
      2) this “rumor” is not irrelevant. for a while now i’ve been an advocate of dumping ben gordon if it was possible, since trading rip has seemed all but impossible. we don’t know if this “high profile player” was on an expiring contract (in which case joe could have pulled off that trade but chose not to) or not (in which case it’s relevant based on the issue of gordon’s intrinsic movability, not joe’s freedom to move him).
      3) in the simplest possible terms (Personal attack removed): i was simply responding to the assertion that joe could do NOTHING to alleviate the SG logjam (that joe made all on his own and, therefore, deserves much blame and no sympathy) by saying that we do not know what joe has been free to do. the organization sure insists that ben gordon is “tradable,” so it sands to reason that somebody would have given us an expiring contract for him. could we have unloaded him for an expiring contract? i don’t know. you don’t know.
      as for joe, i dislike him personally, but based only on his job performance. he’s been that bad. every bit of “that bad.” my hunch is that he’s been too stubborn to do anything to this logjam besides futilely hoping on a wing and a prayer that he can somehow move rip. he would be better off in my eyes “admitting” his mistake and unloading ben gordon. if he’s been refusing to pull the plug on gordon because it would be an admission of failure (i mean, you free up a TON of cap space and lock all of it up in two complete and total liabilities for five years… that’s pretty bad GM’ing), he’s compounding the problem and trying to save face rather than do his job of acting in the best interests of the team.
      thing is, if joe could trade rip (even if he had to attach that future lottery pick), the organization could spin it any way they wanted. they could focus on “finally” being able to see stuckey and gordon together as our main guards, downplay the loss of the pick, act like it was a foregone conclusion that rip had to be moved (which, for some reason, even some clued-in people like hayes seem to believe), focus on the idea that the gordon signing is finally paying off (even though, regardless of what he does here for the next three years, it will be impossible for him to earn that contract now that the first two years have been a total loss). on the other hand, if he was forced to trade gordon instead (which has pretty much been the case so far, since rip looks untradeable), there’s no positive spin to be made. we signed the guy as a top free agent, dropped a load of cash, and he was a dud here from day one before being traded away for cap space. there’s no spin in the world to make that look acceptable. and yet, it’s almost certainly the correct basketball decision.

      • May 11, 201112:57 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        Why do you assume the players offered for Gordon weren’t also shooting guards? Also, the pick the Pistons offered Cleveland was lottery protected.

  • May 11, 20117:02 am
    by detroitpcb


    Ben Gordon is a bum: he is careless with the ball, easily ripped, cannot play defense, cannot get over a screen, is undersized for his position, forces high degree of difficulty shots, and with the Pistons has been the exact oppposite of clutch.

    As soon as Joe’s hands are untied – he should get rid of Gordon.

    And after watching last season and seeing Will Bynum (during the stretch in the middle when he was playing well) consistently blow games by making bad decisions that inevitably involved him shooting the ball instead of setting up teammates……..how can anybody, even Laser, suggest that Bynum is a better option than Stuckey?

    And lets stop dogging Joe Dumars. He made one terrible decision to sign Gordon, and one shakey decision to sign CV, but he was kind of forced to use that cap space and there wasn’t much to be had that year – and those folks who say the Pistons should have saved that space for the LeBron sweepstakes….get real….none of the big free agents from that class were coming to Detroit. 

    • May 11, 20111:04 pm
      by Laser


      yes. i still think bynum’s probably a better option at PG than stuckey. but more than anything, i think he deserves an opportunity to earn the starting job. not for the last few games when we’re plagued by injuries and just playing the season out, but with a full, healthy roster. it seems like everybody else gets a chance. why not give one to a guy who’s shown more heart than all the prima donnas combined? tell him it’s his job to lose (for once) and see what he can do running a team that’s “his.”
      not long ago, someone (hayes maybe?) said that the reason bynum played out of control at times was because he was always playing like every minute was his last. this isn’t a great mentality to go in with, but it’s better than someone like stuckey, who’s had all the chances in the world but coasts. if bynum took that work ethic and intensity he’s consistently exhibited but dialed it back a bit and played a little more under control instead of feeling like he’s playing for his job every night. i’m not saying bynum’s the answer, just that he deserves an honest chance.
      also, i’ll think about stopping dogging joe dumars when he makes his next impressive personnel move. he’s made numerous terrible decisions (trading our leader and best player for cap space, turning that cap space into two MAJOR liabilities, committing to stuckey way too quickly, putting a ton of money into two volume-shooting SGs, giving away arron afflalo for nothing, drafting three small forwards in perhaps the richest PG draft in history when we had a desperate need he refused to acknowledge, the list goes on…). but the thing is, he hasn’t made a single solitary GOOD GM decision since signing dyess in 2005. that’s a very long stretch.
      and finally (i love this old one), joe had many options for how to use that cap space. he wasn’t forced to use it at all. you won’t convince very many smart people that it had to be spent. i mean, he cleared the cap space. it’s not like the space was waiting for him. he traded years of contracts away to make that cap space. maybe he put all his eggs in the boozer basket, which would have been a bad idea in itself, but he chose to clear that space when he did. then he spent the money like an idiot. we would have been MUCH better off if he’d sat on it for the last two years. it’s not like signing gordon and charlie was a “push.” it was a disaster. my personal choice for using that cap space would have been to take on money in lopsided trades, fleecing teams who were hoping to strike gold last summer. there were a lot of quality players with reasonable price tags out there to be had. so don’t give me this “he had to sign those guys” hogwash.

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  • May 11, 20116:40 pm
    by 2Tough


    I’m seriously laughing at the notion of Will freaking Bynum being a better option at the starting point guard position than Rodney Stuckey. Bynum is AT BEST a spark-plug off the bench, ala JJ Barea (though I think Barea is much better). There are simply way too many holes in his game for him to be starting, let alone over a player who’s pretty clearly superior to him (Stuckey).

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