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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Tags: Ben Gordon