NBA / Jun 30, 2009 / 12:10 pm

Thunder: Don’t Give The Money To Ben Gordon

Ben Gordon, Dime #15

Ben Gordon, Dime #15

I’m not sure why it isn’t this simple for all of the other bad teams in the League. The Knicks, Grizzlies, and Timberwolves have a ton of weaknesses. But they don’t seem to have a clear vision to fill the glaring gaps in their rosters.

New York’s best player is a power forward, but they took another one with the eighth pick. The Grizzlies had four seven-footers headed into the draft, and they took another one. The Wolves took two f-ing point guards, and now they’re indignant when someone says that their draft strategy isn’t making too much sense. If only every team approached the draft with the same lucid philosophy as the Thunder.

For the last three years, Clay Bennett‘s team has played the NBA Draft like a sports writer would. When we sit down and bang out a mock draft, we consider two premises, and two premises only: (1) What does the team need? (2) Does this guy address that need?

It doesn’t seem like rocket science. But so many other GMs and owners foul it up, this simple guide has made the Sonics/Thunder into consistent NBA Draft day winners.

They had a glaring weakness at the point heading into the ’08 draft, so they picked a guy who had all of the tools to play that position in the League with Russell Westbrook. This year they were solid at the point, the three with Kevin Durant, and at the nebulous hybrid-forward position with Jeff Green. So it made clear sense to grab a shooting guard in James Harden. They didn’t make the dumb move of drafting Ricky Rubio and moving Westbrook over to play SG. They took the best guy for their team.

Now their nucleus is rock solid. And with some cap space, OKC plans to go out and add a free agent. There are rumors circulating that they’re mulling an offer to Ben Gordon, something that would be competitive with what the Pistons will throw his way.

“NBA source tells me that OKC is a potential landing spot for Ben Gordon,” tweeted SI’s Chris Mannix.

That’d be a mistake. OKC has built one through three through the draft. They have solid role players behind those guys in Thabo Sefalosha, Kyle Weaver, Earl Watson, and Damien Wilkins. There’s no need to create a traffic jam for Harden to get on the court.

The Thunder’s money would be much better spent on Paul Millsap, who they’re supposedly ready to offer a five-year, $65 million sheet. The 24-year old power forward takes this roster one step further, solidifying them one through four. It might force Austin’s boy Jeff Green to come off the bench, presuming that Harden is ready to start from day one.

Who would have thought that this squad would have the luxury of bringing the fifth pick in the draft off the bench as their sixth man in 2009-10? What NBA team wouldn’t want to bring Green in as their first guy? I can only think of a handful who currently have a better option: LA (Ariza), San Antonio (Ginobili), Dallas (Terry), Denver (J.R. Smith), Detroit (Tayshaun Prince or Ben Gordon?). Chicago probably won’t have a better option without BG, as Johnny Salmons would start at shooting guard and Luol Deng would start at the three.

Granted there are still issues at center. Nick Collison is shorter than some guys in the Dime office, but he gets center eligibility in fantasy basketball because he plays on this team. B.J. Mullens is a long-term project. Robert Swift scares me.

Maybe OKC would be better off bombing for another year, ending up with a Top 5 pick next year and taking future Georgia Tech PF/C Derrick Favors, Kansas C Cole Aldrich. Or maybe they should throw the farm at Millsap, and contend right now. If they do so, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be in the lottery next year.

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  • BiG ShoT BoB

    You forgot about Nenad Kristic his already solid at the 5

  • wiz

    james harden will be a left handed arenas in a few years just wait….

  • rudderband man

    I don’t know if I’d say he’s “solid”.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    I hope they don’t go after Gordon either. They’re best move is probably going after Milsap although I think the rumored pricetag is too much. Milsap is nice but I don’t think he’s worth $65 mil. How often have we seen a player have a breakout year, sign a fat contract, and then be relegated to mediocrity? Far too often if you ask me. Unfortunately, there are not many great power forward free agent options out there this summer so this makes sense for a building team like OKC.

  • JRav

    You guys are offbase here.

    Last time I check in 1984 Portland had a solid shooting guard in Clyde Drexler so instead of drafting Micheal Jordan they drafted Sam Bowie to fill in the void at center. Yet everyone criticizes Portland for taking Bowie. Now of course thats the most extreme situation especially with Bowie’s knees being basically being nutty putty and Jordan’s greatness.

    Its about taking the best talent in the draft and who can fill the position the best.

  • IGP

    I don’t think I’d give Milsap $65 million either, maybe like $40 million

  • Brown

    Millsap would fit in perfectly there. If they sign Gordon, that screws everything up. They don’t need him and I think Harden will be a better player than him in a couple years, especially defensively. It’s dumb moves like this that can cripple a franchise for years. If you mess up a couple drafts and overpay players, you can’t succeed in the NBA.

  • p-dizzle

    I wouldn’t give that kind of money to Millsap. I like him but wouldn’t pay him that! They would be better off offering Rasheed the mid-level and have him play the 5 even though he’s soft on the interior it gives them one more scoring threat. That team is going to be nice in a few years!

  • mellmeister

    i think it’ll be best for the thunder to get charlie villanueva to get in the mix of their young nucleus.
    westbrook-pg; harden-sg; durant-sf; villanueva-pf; collison-c.

  • dk

    Gordon is an excellent fit there, excellent. Harden is a rookie, I dont care what you college ball watching people say, he cant contribute a solid J like Gordon can. Theres no way to guard Durant, Green and Westbrook, let alone having BG floating around the perimeter. I guarantee no defense will be excited about walking into OKC…

  • dk

    @3 Hes solid at getting 10,5,1,1,1

  • dk

    @7 In a few years Wallace will be dead.

  • Arrogant

    Im a bulls fan and id raher have salmons @ the 2 spot and hinirich come off for the guards and james johnson come for our forwards…
    BG a jacker with lil defense….OKC need to get some defense on that team.. they dont need any more scoring…

  • Chaos

    Shit theres nt many places Gordon could really go and GET the money he is looking for because i dont think hes goin to start wherever he goes but still may hit 17-20pts off the bench. OKC needs a four or five (more defensive minded than krstic) and they would be straight. could they go after camby and keep green on the floor? that would give them an extremely long and athletic team…

    PG westbrook
    SG Harden
    SF Durant
    PF Green
    C Camby
    Bench- thabolosha, watson, mullens, wilkins and krstic,

  • dk

    He may be a jacker but ill let him jack .45% from the field and .40% + from three any day, on any of my squads… He also adds a quiet 3 or 4 boards and assits with a steal and a tireless work ethic. You can teach defense you cant teach a jumper.

  • JA

    He also has the ability to get to the line almost 5 times a game. And from the SG slot, that’s third in the League behind K-Mart and Kobes.

  • QQ

    dk acting like a know it all again. BG is good, but he’s not the answer for OKC. They need Millsap. They get Millsap, I say they’re a lock for the 2nd round.

  • Arrogant

    yea Bg gets those numbers and % but he also getting lit on the other end… you can practice your shot and ppl CAN get better on offense and defense true, but u cant teach height .. and that’s just one of the reasons he gets lit up…

  • flavur

    I think they get Charlie villanueva
    pg- Westbrook
    sg- Harden
    sf- Durant
    pf- Green
    c- Villanueva

  • http://nerditry.com nerditry

    @dk : And he is going to commit the cardinal sin on OKC and that’s to take the ball out of Durant’s hands on offense. While Ben is a great scorer, Durant is a dynamic offensive player that has a monster ceiling and no hard and fast rules as to the way he scores.

    Gordon also appears to be the type of guy that would steamroll his teammates in trying to assert his veteran status. Like Sam Cassell, but without the championships to back up that type of attitude.

    We saw him perform miracles against the Celtics, but he needs to go to a team that needs someone strong willed to be THE offensive option when needed.

  • LaMont

    David lee is not the best player on the Knicks; he averaged a double double but it’s not like it was 20 & 10. 15 & 10 is great but he benefitted from there being no other rebounders once Z-Bo left. He sucks on defense, no he really does; he never challenges shots and have you noticed how many times he misses lay-ups in traffic or gets his shot blocked (he suffers from Charles Smith disease – DUNK the ball Man!!) They’d be stupid to give him the money he’s asking for because when Curry comes back his scoring is going to drop and now you paying millions to a rebounder who doesn’t play defense.

  • Brown

    BG would look good on the Raptors. He might be an option if Marion doesn’t re-sign. They need an outside threat who can create his own shot.

  • Yoooo

    Did this idiot just say you can teach Defense and NOT a jumper? Somebodys never been to basketball camp before. Shut ya dumb ass up boy boy

  • D.H.

    I like Charlie-V a lot, but I think Milsap might be better on D and the boards which is likely more important to the Thunder moving forward.

    I’m VanCity, BC and I was always a Sonics fan growing up, then the Griz, and recently Phoenix with Nash. But after Kerr’s dismantling of the Suns, I’m pretty stoked to jump on the OKC bandwagon moving forward. They’re gonna be getting some serious buckets in the very near future.

  • Pedro

    Why are u talking about the Knicks?
    Ben Gordon? Bunch of morons, Knicks have a plan, 2010. Why would he spend money in Gordon.

    Draft another PF. Of course, Lee is walking this offseason. Sign trade. geez, wtf writes this articles

  • Kobeef

    Harden will be better than Gordon by Christmas.

  • Bron42 aka Had Springs before Slamball

    @JRav, the difference then was, at that point, drexler was seen as better than jordan. People forget, jordan wasnt JORDAN in college. He was a freak athlete while drexler was a freak athlete and already proven in th nba as a allstar level guy.

  • doc

    I’ll take the best player.

  • karizmatic

    I wouldn’t recommend anybody give BG the kind of money he’s looking for he’s simply not worth that on the market, he’s really only a good option off the bench. That being said, there is no gaurantee that Harden becomes this allstar player that everyone thinks he’s going to be…but still I’d also go with Milsap in this case, but not for 65 mil.

  • dk

    @23 And you cant teach that thing you call a mom to give head properly either. Why dont you both go back to school, boy…

  • dk

    @23 You cant teach having a natrural Bryantesque jumpshot dip shit. Obviously your to busy pimping your mom to understand what I meant. Sure, Bron will have decent jumper but it will never be a Kobe Bryant jumper, ever…boy…

  • Ekstor

    @ Spiff 2 My Lou

    You might have a legit argument that Millsap is not worth $65 million, but be b/c he’ll revert back to mediocrity like so many other FA’s in the past… some of these other guys like Jerome James were spurred on b/c of a new contract and then reverted back to their lazy ways. Millsap on the other hand has always been an all-out baller wherever he goes. He’ll play hard and get you double-double numbers as long as he gets starter minutes… the question is whether he has enough upside to sustain that come playoff time when matched up consistently against bigger players and more intense game conditions.

    My opinion is that he’s a perfect 3rd man off the bench… probably not quite worth $65k.

  • Ekstor

    @ 32

    Sorry… the first line of that last post (#32) should read “You might have a legit argument that Millsap is not worth $65 million, but IT WON’T be b/c he’ll revert back to mediocrity…”

  • Moneybags

    Hey DK I wouldn’t be insulting people if you don’t even know what fck u be talking about. and bringing up Kobe as your example, if you forgot kobe as well as MJ didn’t develop their J’s until later in their careers. In terms of the NBA you can develop all of your basketball skills but your height and athleticism will always be roughly the same, case in point kevin love might become a little more athletic but he will never become dwight Howard physicallly.

  • JL

    Great to see a hard working dude like Millsap get paid even though its way too much…

    They don’t need Gorden, blood Harden with a combo of Westbrook, Durant, Green & Kristic or even a trade with Clips for Camby or Kaman…Millsaps energy and enthusiasm off the bench will be huge for them.

  • thunderfan

    hey Andrew-you didn’t mention the Gortat rumors…. Sources here in OKC have him as the free agent “catch of the day”, and I think he would be a great fit for our weak 5 spot!