Wondering whether or not veteran combo guard Ben Gordon can help the Charlotte Bobcats turn their fortunes around is anyone’s guess. It’s also probably a waste of time.
The dude’s a pure scorer. He’s lights out from long range, can take most defenders one-on-one, can get his shot off whenever and wherever he likes, and he can change any game at any given time.
But he’s not an elite defender, leader, or season-changer. It’d be nice if that were the case, but Gordon isn’t a natural point guard and is under-sized for shooting guard. It makes him a defensive liability, and can often lead to him getting snuffed out of the offense.
But that’s if you’re trying to gauge his real-life impact. His ability to affect your fantasy team in fantasy basketball, well, that’s a whole different story.
Either way you look at it, Gordon can and most likely will bring a whole lot of offense to Charlotte this year. Look at it as a smaller, less ball-hogging Corey Maggette coming in to launch treys and try to open up a struggling offensive attack.
If you look back at his days in Chicago, the addition of Gordon is actually pretty darn exciting. He’s been the owner of two 20+ point per game seasons, while averaging over 40% made three-pointers for his career. He also does a solid job of getting himself to the line (nearly four times per game for his career), and knocks those freebies down at an 85.9% clip.
The guy began his career with the Bulls with five straight seasons with 15+ points per game, with his last three offering up 18+ per game.
But then came that whole “playing for the Detroit Pistons” thing.
True, Gordon’s numbers went way, way down, but I personally always felt it had a lot more to do with how Detroit used him, as well as the surrounding talent on some bad Pistons teams.
In Detroit, Gordon never averaged more than 28 minutes per game in all three seasons. With the Bulls, he never averaged under 31 beyond his rookie year.
In addition to the stingy minutes, Gordon’s shot attempts went down. He was accustomed to being a huge part of his offense and taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-16 shots per game (4-5 from deep). But with the Pistons, he had to adapt to an inexplicable lesser role, as he averaged just 10 shots per game over his span with the team.
The worst part was that his regressed role had little to do with his shot or talent, either. Gordon had a rough transition from three in his first season with Detroit (32%), but knocked down over 40% of his three balls in each of the next two seasons. Even more, Gordon hit at least 44% of his overall shots in those last two years, as well. Considering he’s a career 43.6% shooter, that was pretty good.
Clearly Gordon was being wasted on Detroit. They were more worried about stinking up the joint or getting other younger guys like Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight the rock, and less concerned about what Gordon could really bring to the table.
Now, does that mean Gordon is suddenly Michael Jordan or the old Gordon again? In both the real and fantasy realms, absolutely not. However, I do think Gordon can get back to 15-16 points per game.
He’ll be sharing minutes with Gerald Henderson to start the year, but if Henderson (who is in a contract year) struggles, Gordon could eventually leap-frog him and Henderson could even potentially be trade bait.
Gordon doesn’t help out in a ton of areas in fantasy basketball, but he can fill it up quickly if he has a good amount of minutes. Look for a Pistons-esque role to start the season, but if he gets hot, Gordon could quickly develop into an interesting fantasy sleeper for the 2012-13 season. And if all works out, he might even play a decent part in getting the Bobcats closer to being a competitive squad. Let’s take it one step at a time, though.