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).

Essentials

Position: Shooting guard/ point guard

Previous team: Chicago Bulls

School: Connecticut

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 200 pounds

Age: 25

Statistics

Year MPG PPG RPG APG BPG SPG TOVPG FG% 3PT% FT%
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

Contract

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

Scoring

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.

Clutch

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.

Character

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.

Determination

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

Defense

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.

One-dimensional

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.

Synopsis

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.

Grade

B

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