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How to get Ben Gordon going

Ben Gordon’s woes have been thoroughly discussed on PistonPowered. He was signed from Chicago in hopes of getting a 20-point-per-game player to a reasonable price. Critics pointed out that he only has one dimension ( scoring), while supporters saw his explosive and effective offense, which would eventually make up for his weaknesses (defense and passing).

Gordon’s stat line was disappointing again last night. He scored 14 points in 33 minutes on 4-of-14 shooting. After two years of disappointing play, fans expected a great change and a great game.

Although his statistics don’t indicate it, I thought Gordon took great shots within the rhythm of the offense, and more importantly, within his game. I think Lawrence Frank can get him back to his old self, and let’s not forget every scorer has an off night every once in a while. Just look at the quality of the shots, and then decide whether he had a bad game or made poor choices.

Gordon made good choices, but the shots simply didn’t fall. I found an example to show how Frank can maximize Gordon’s value in the second quarter with about 3:30 left.


The Pistons run a set I call “Horns”. Actually, I’m not the only one who does so. NBA 2K players will be accustomed to the name. I know it from my time playing basketball, too.

Ben Wallace (who had a terrific game) sets a screen at the right side of the elbow. Jonas Jerebko and Tayshaun Prince set a double screen at the left side of the elbow. Gordon starts running from the free-throw line using the double-screen to get rid of his defender. Darren Collison reads the situation correctly and cheats under the double screen.


Down under the basket Gordon now has two options. Either he uses Wallace’s screen or he goes back to Jerebko’s screen. This forces his defender to gamble on where he will go in order to stay with him. Collison guesses that Gordon will use Wallace’s screen, maybe because Big Ben is an elite screener. Gordon makes a great read and changes the direction quickly, going back to Jerebko, getting rid of his defender. He gets a wide open midrange-jumper which he drains.


This wasn’t the only quality look Gordon got last night, but one of the few he actually hit. He should make more of them as the season progresses.

He’s always been an elite jump-shooter, and I just cannot believe that he’ll consistently miss open jumpers. If the Pistons execute their offense like this more often, Gordon will score 16 to 18 points per game this year, and you can quote me on that one.


  • Dec 27, 20112:07 pm
    by JT's Hoops Blog


    Want to get Gordon going?  You need a point guard that passes.  Gordon is not a great 1 on 1 player and it shows through his stats.  The reason why he looked so good on the Bulls was because he had a good point guard playing with him whether it be kirk Jinrich or Derrick Rose.  In the pistons, he has neither.  all of the supposed PGs look to get their own offence instead of creating for their teammates.

    • Dec 27, 20112:14 pm
      by Jakob Eich


      Well, in Knight we have a young project who could learn how to run an NBA offense. Other than that, we don’t have a great passing PG on the team, but we have a SG who gets paid a lot of money and we should maximize his value to a) get some good games out of him to win a bit and b) increase his trade value so we can get something in return. If Gordon can get back to 18 PPG we will be able to strike a deal with a team and go on from there. I wouldn’t want to amnesty a player who is in his physical prime.

    • Dec 27, 20114:05 pm
      by rick77


      Seriously dude, come off that excuse. My man only played maybe a few games with Rose so I am not buying into that theory. Gordon is garbage and until everyone collectively realize that we will always be debating whether he gets it or not. Bottom line he should not even be doning a Piston jersey but as it is he is. What needs to happen is he plays ok and someone wants him and we trade. Now back to reality and that is he will never be who he was just because the collective fanbase wants to believe so. This is just one of those deals that Joe struck out and hopefully can fix in the near future. I always thought that if your offense isnot working then you hang your hat on defense and the offense will flow. Gordon does not do that and when the offense is not going then it is a double whammy. Hisman scores and he does no scoring. Im sorry people but for all teh whining about Richard Hamilton he at least pretended to play defense and we never had to switch our point guard off to guard the other teams shooting guard. This man is a liability in the lineup and people need to stop looking at this team with Rose Colored glasses on.

      • Dec 28, 20116:50 pm
        by Pistonspapa


        They got rid of the best point guard and shooting guards, Chauncy and Rip. They should have sent Dumars along with Koester. They were the problem, not the great guards. They also should have gotten Laimbeir as coach too. He knows how to win and he also would put his thumb on the players until they deceided to win.  I think Dumars messed up a good team and it’s clear he wants coaches who he can manipulate. He don’t want somone like Laimbeir, who would tell Joe to stay in the office and let me run this team and make a winner. What a shame. I had a lot of admiration for Joe but he has lost that. Especially somone that played his whole carreer for the same team. Don’t get it.

    • Dec 27, 20114:18 pm
      by tarsier


      So you are saying Hinrich is a good PG? He is passable, an above average backup or a below average starter, but no better than Stuckey who isn’t all that great either.

    • Dec 27, 20114:19 pm
      by tarsier


      And Rose was nothing incredible as a rookie.

  • Dec 27, 20112:17 pm
    by flip


    The Pistons and ppl are so focused on getting Gordon back to form, but is that really a solution to anything?

    What was he during his best yrs in CHI?

    He was a 20 ppg scorer that did NOTHING else.

    Is that the player we should really be striving, hoping, and wishing for?

    We need complete players. So what if he scores 20 a game. He’s still a liability on defense, still turnover prone, still doesn’t rebound, and still driibbles around too much and never passes.

    So what good is he being on the court at all? Those negatives all far outweigh the 20 points he might score, when he’s at his best. In other words, even Gordon in his prime still sucks.

    I didn’t want to sign this guy because I knew thats all he was – a one-dimensional scorer off the bench, who’s a defensive liability.

    I thought at most, if we gave him an MLE, thats about fair price for a scorer off the bench. When I saw we gave him $11 mil/yr I knew we were doomed for many years. The only hope was that Joe recognized it early, admitted his mistake, and moved on. Whats worse is Joe STILL refuses to admit he was wrong, and not only wou;dnt amnesty him, but now has the nerve to start him over Knight, giving him twice as many minutes.

  • Dec 27, 20112:21 pm
    by flip


    btw, nothing against your analogy, Jakob. I think you did a good job breaking it down how to get him back to 20 ppg. I just don’t think that 20 ppg is enough to justify keeping him at $11 mil/yr, when he doesnt provide anything else.

    • Dec 27, 20113:11 pm
      by Jakob Eich


      Thanks for the kind words! You are right, it might not be enough, but we are stuck with him for this year anyway. I think we all agree that we could having Gordon score 18 PPG efficiently is more valuable than what he has done the past two seasons. I want to get the most out of line-up and that includes Gordon living up to the expectations. He might still be overpaid if he meets those, but not as vastly overpaid as he is now.

  • Dec 27, 20112:34 pm
    by Jodi Jezz


    I think this season we’ll see the Gordon we’re used to…It was just our 1st game!

    • Dec 27, 20114:17 pm
      by tarsier


      I don’t know about you, but for everyone else in the universe, that was the Gordon we are used to.

  • Dec 27, 20113:39 pm
    by Sebastian


    “How to get Ben Gordon going” … give him a one-way ticket ticket out of Motown. And, to think I use to be a Ben G. fan.

  • Dec 27, 20114:51 pm
    by Elliot


    I totally agree with the article.  Yes Gordon had a poor shooting night but, I liked the looks and shots he was taking.  Ben Gordon finally looked like he was comfortable because he was playing his style of game.  After watching him the past few years under the Q, there were not many games that i saw him look that comfortable and in rhythm.  Once his shots start to fall, the Ben Gordon we all thought we got might finally come to town.

    • Dec 27, 20116:13 pm
      by flip


      Glad he looked comfortable because none of his teammates ever look comfortable playing with him. Its like hes always out there playing his own game and the rest of the team is playing a different game. Hes dribbling around enjoying himself and no one else has a clue what hes doing.

      It was interesting that Knight got benched the rest of the game after that last quick 3, because Gordon takes that illadvised shot all time and never gets benched. And usually takes it in the midst of a 1-7 streak nehind the arc. Knight was 3-5 when he took that and did not deserve to be benched, esp down 20 when making 3s was the only hope. It was a heat check. Shouldve stayed in the game. 

  • Dec 27, 20115:09 pm
    by Brian


    Even if he gets 16-18 points, which is no big deal for a shooting guard, he is totally one dimensional. He is not noticeable in the game other than when he is shooting the ball. Five turnovers last night plus a blocked shot that led to a fast break. It’s just losing basketball.

  • Dec 27, 20116:46 pm
    by kamal


    I am no BG apologist by any means.  However, I do think if he were to return to the 20 ppg Gordon he was, then we could be fine as a team.  Hell, Chicago was a 50 game winner with Gordon as their go to guy.  Hinrich wasn’t anything special.  And Deng was a little better than solid.  

    Honest question.  How was Chicago so good during the years Gordon was there?  Not contender material, but definitely a solid ball club.  I’d give my right arm to be solid again. 

    • Dec 27, 20116:53 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Defense. Check out one of their rosters from those years:


      Hinrich, Deng, Wallace, Brown, Griffin, Sefalosha, Nocioni and Duhon could all get after it defensively. Ty Thomas was up and down, but he gave them another athlete and shot blocker. They weren’t a good offensive team, but their defense could keep scores close, so if they got Gordon going, they’d have a chance to win.

      • Dec 27, 20117:19 pm
        by rick77


        Thanks Patrick, I knew we could get along and agree on something. Gordon just never seemed like a ideal fit from the start. His albatross of a contract says we should be playing him, but he does not play defense and I for one think he will never because it is mind set not something you can just want to do. He is what he is and in Chicago it was easy because they really had no offensive identity. In Detroit we just want him to be a piece of the puzzle and he cannot even do that right.

  • Dec 27, 20118:01 pm
    by Ty


    Lets hope he just doesn’t have shooting night like last night.  4/14!  Not even close to caughting it.  That is horrible when your the shooting guard, and the size is a factor on this sizeless team.  I do belive we need him to be better this year, but don’t see it going up to 18 or 20 a game.  15 sounds about right.  You have to remember CV wants to average 16 like he used too, Tay 14, Stuck at least 15, JJ at least 12, Monore 12, Brandon Night ?? , Daye ??  Not everyone is going to average double figures like they want to and that is the problem with our roster.  If this all happens like it is so post to then are wins should go up big.  I don’t know about BG just because of the last two seasons might have been the biggest dissapointment on the team thus far.

  • Dec 27, 20118:02 pm
    by Ty


    Cutting…caughting sounds english in that sentence

  • Dec 27, 20119:25 pm
    by Domnick


    Well, what has been the Ben Gordon of Chicago and Ben Gordon of Pistons…. last season, i saw BG scorching the defense and unstoppable against OKC, i think that was before November 2010… but now… i see him no-confidence at all…

    i am not a BG fan but i like his scoring…. if he gets back to what he once was.. then we are really going to be a better team…. especially in the playoffs!

    • Dec 27, 20119:28 pm
      by BIGMARV


      In the KIND words of Jim Mora “PLAYOFFS?! you talking about PLAYOFFS?! we can barley win a game” lol

  • Dec 27, 20119:26 pm
    by BIGMARV


    How about sticking some jumper cables up his ass then that might work… the dudes been hot garbage since he got here.. Amnesty Please! I aint wasting no more time talking about this dude

  • Dec 27, 201110:09 pm
    by Ty


    Not at amnesty yet but 2 seconds away from it.

  • Dec 27, 201111:38 pm
    by Laser


    The thing is: I actually agree that he played within himself and generally had good shot selection, two things that were complete reversals from last season. But all that does to me is underline the fundamental problem with him, since all this positive change nets the same basic result.
    All he’s good for is taking jump shots, and they won’t usually fall; sometimes they won’t fall at all. If he were a dynamic scorer who scored inside and out and in all different ways, he might be able to make up for his status as a defensive liability. But he takes jump shots, and even the best jump shooters just aren’t reliable.
    And (as was pointed out in the comments above) it’s not just about having a point guard to get him the ball or big men to set screens for him; those were Rip’s problems. Because Rip’s a full grown man who can play alongside a standard-sized point guard and defend his position. Gordon almost certainly needs to play alongside a large point guard, but no matter what he’s guarding someone tall enough to shoot over top of him or defending the ball against the league’s quickest players and strongest ballhandlers. So you need a very good defensive team overall to justify having him on the court at all, let alone paying him $13 million a year.
    Come to think of it, this is basically a reversal of the Ben Wallace situation six years ago. Chicago overpaid him player based on his usefulness in Detroit’s system, where he was surrounded by guys who could spread the floor and score the ball in a wide variety of ways. The end result was that Big Ben was basically useless on that team and eating up a fat chunk of cap space, and the same could be said for Little Ben around here. He’s useless here. We have no use whatsoever for a pint-sized jump shooter who can’t defend anybody.

    • Dec 28, 20118:11 am
      by domnick


      the thing is…. he is not just here to play defense… he is here to score…

      and he’s not just a jumpshooter… he can also penetrate and destroy defense…

      just in case… please watch BOS vs CHI series… playoffs 2008-09 season… and also MIA vs CHI during 2006-07 season

  • Dec 28, 201111:37 am
    by brgulker


    All he’s good for is taking jump shots, and they won’t usually fall; sometimes they won’t fall at all. If he were a dynamic scorer who scored inside and out and in all different ways, he might be able to make up for his status as a defensive liability. But he takes jump shots, and even the best jump shooters just aren’t reliable.

    To me, this gets it exactly right. 

    Mid-range jumpshots are the most inefficient way to score in the NBA. Developing a system built on a guy who shoots lots of these shots is a recipe for disaster. For every 8-14 night, there will be two 4-14 nights. That’s just the way it goes with long two’s.

    Gordon (his coaching staff, teammates) needs to rediscover his three point shot. That’s where his only significant value is as a player.

  • Dec 28, 20113:11 pm
    by Scott


    A good player will look good on a bad team.  If you put Michael Jordan on the 90s Clippers, they wouldnt have won a championship, but you’d say dang… that Jordan can play.  

    Gordon played well for a good team; and can’t even justify his playing time on a losing squad. That says ALL i need to hear.

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