NBA / Mar 12, 2010 / 5:33 pm

Ben Gordon can’t explain his rough season in Detroit

Ben Gordon, Dime #15

For the most part, opinions were split when Ben Gordon signed a five-year contract with the Detroit Pistons last summer reported to be worth $55 million.

On one hand, the 26-year-old BG was just coming off the best season of his pro career, which he capped by averaging 24.3 points and hitting a slew of clutch shots in a close playoff series loss to the defending champion Celtics. On the other hand, was it smart for the rebuilding Pistons to give All-Star type money to an undersized two-guard (with zero All-Star nods) who is widely regarded as a one-dimensional scorer?

With about a month to go in his first season in Detroit, the naysayers have — at least for now — been proven right.

As the Pistons have sputtered to a 22-42 record (10.5 games out of a playoff spot) going into tonight’s matchup with the Wizards, Gordon is averaging 13.7 points and shooting just 29 percent from three-point range. Both of those numbers are career-lows. Gordon has also missed 19 games due to ankle and groin injuries.

In today’s Detroit Free-Press, writer Vince Ellis talked to Gordon about his disappointing season:

Gordon admitted that he isn’t completely healthy. “But at this time of year everybody is having some trouble. It’s just a part of the NBA, pro sports in general,” he said.

He was asked why he was struggling, and he alluded to how his role has changed since the beginning of the season, when he was guaranteed at least 30 minutes per game — before Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince returned from extended injury absences.

“You can look at a bunch of different reasons,” Gordon said. “I missed a lot of games. I’ve never missed this many games in my career before. Obviously, the rotation is a lot different than it was. Those are two of the main things you can attribute it to.”

As for the remaining 18 games, Gordon didn’t offer answers on anything he could do better.

“I’m just trying to figure it out, man,” he said. “That’s all I can do.”

We’ve seen this before, where a guy struggles in the first year of a huge contract with a new team. Elton Brand and Baron Davis immediately come to mind. Matter of fact, we’re seeing it right now with Hedo Turkoglu in Toronto. Sometimes a player in that situation never regains his old form, and sometimes they get past the first-year hiccup. Since Gordon is young and doesn’t have an alarming history of injuries, I think he’ll bounce back.

Gordon isn’t going to be The Franchise in Detroit. That’s Rodney Stuckey‘s role. What Gordon can be is a key contributor on a good team, but more than likely it would be as a sixth man who is asked to provide scoring punch, like Andrew Toney in Philadelphia back in the day, Vinnie Johnson in Detroit, or more currently, Jamal Crawford in Atlanta. Detroit fans may not like that their team is paying $10 million-plus per year for a backup, but that appears to be where Gordon is most comfortable and productive. The season has been a write-off year in general for the entire franchise, so I wouldn’t sign BG’s career death certificate just yet.

Do you think Detroit made the right move signing Gordon last summer?

More Detroit Pistons stories:
The NBA’s 10 Toughest Players
Where does Chauncey Billups rank among all-time great point guards?
Who’s Better: Aaron Brooks or Rodney Stuckey?

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  • NTstateOFmind

    its quite easy, Ben- you’re overrated.

  • Royal

    Itsnot his fault that he’s over-rated its the fault of all of these dickriding non-basketball playing fans

  • shiptar

    Dumars must have been stoned when he signed Gordon and Villanueva..

  • Ehis Murphy

    dumas is overrated as a GM.Overpaid for ben gordon

  • LittleOzzy


    STFU. Ben isn’t overrated. The system in Detroit just doesn’t fit him to compensate him on D. The Bulls did that. BG just needs to go to a team that lacks scoring but great D to mask him such as MIL and CHA

  • quest???

    i think stuckey and ben gordon are very overrated, especially stuckey, i dnt see him as a franchise player.

  • dvs

    Ben Gordon will be fine. He showed earlier in the season that he is still capable of consistent scoring. In fact Charlie V was also putting up solid numbers early, but like most of the team, they had injuries that slowed the teams progress right down. With a full off season this team will be pretty solid.
    As for if Dumars made the right decisions, if anyone actually followed this team, they would see that the Pistons needed a boast in 3point shooting. Ben is a proven 3 point sniper. The team needed youth and Dumars went out and got the best young FREE agents available.
    If he kept the money and waited for this up coming off season free agency, what chances of getting Lebron, Wade or Bosh??? I’d say very close to zero percent.
    Dumars may have over paid, but Detroit is a small market.
    Dumars got the best Free agents available and the team is a whole lot younger.
    Detroit will be fine next year. Add another young big man (and get rid of Kwames dumb as$) and we’ll be back at the top of the east.

  • foolio_iglesias

    One thing I noticed about Ben is that he plays well when the team plays well….

  • GimmeDemSocks

    As a lifetime Pistons fan and resident of the great city of Detroit I fucking hated this signing. I dare anyone to find another team that has 75 million dollars coming off the bench. Detroits success has always come by way of tough defense and a “grind it out” style of play. Hairless Chuck and Gordon are streaky offensive players that lack consistancy and are non existent on the defensive end. Watching Piston games have become painful and the worst part is I really don’t see them becoming a contender ever with the nucleus they have now

  • Gunner J. Matthews

    Shouldnt have left Chicago

  • GimmeDemSocks

    p.s. I hate evan turner

  • RC

    I think this is what happens when players leave a team that has a system they thrive on. It doesn’t always workout for players who go for the money and same time expect that they will have a great season performance to go with it. Look at Turkgolu the Raptors overpaid this guy thinking he is a 20 ppg guy, which he is not (even CB4 got excited of this at first, but I guess he is not now). He had one great season and he is not even the main guy on the team(Howard, Lewis). But back to the Ben Gordon story… He is a one dimensional player and an undersized 2 guard. I’m not a fan of these kinds of players because if they struggle with that one aspect of the game they are good at, what else can they contribute to the team? The Pistons are obviously in the rebuilding process which take years to get results from and Ben Gordon should know success won’t happen overnight. A great example is Joe Johnson, he left the Suns after a career year and signed a massive contract with the Hawks. Of course he had a couple of rough years with the rebuilding Hawks organization but look at them now. Joe is a superstar of a team that can make it very deep in the playoffs or even conference finals. Ben is a good scorer but he is not a player that would carry a team to a winning record by himself. He needs patience.

  • 808

    “One thing I noticed about Ben is that he plays well when the team plays well….”

    This observation doesn’t seem like it’s coming from someone who watches Ben Gordon a good deal. How do you know that the TEAM is what makes BG successful??? Maybe the team playing well is a RESULT of BG playing well.

    Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the fact that when Gordon is on, he is ON. Dude can’t miss. You also can’t deny that when Gordon is hitting, he stretches the floor and makes it easy for EVERYONE to get buckets.

    That’s why I don’t understand this talk about “the system” being at fault for Gordon’s struggles. “The system” is a great answer when looking for reason for Shawn Marion’s struggles or Hedo’s struggles. But Ben Gordon??? Gordon has always been someone who creates off of the dribbe…creates his own shots. How would the Pistons’ offense, especially the times that he comes in, be a reason for his struggles????

    My only explanation is that he is off. And he lost that confidence. Sh!t is all in his head. It’s easy to fake swag, but the shot don’t lie. Gordon depends on his outside shot to give him room to drive. If his outside shot is off (like it is) he don’t got sh!t.

    If dude gets his confidence back, maybe he can make an impact. If not, he’ll be out of the NBA in a snap.

    “Point-a-minute!” shooters come a dime-a-dozen in the NBA.

  • Promoman

    This isn’t surprising at all. Ben’s a better than average player, but he hasn’t proven that he’s a guy you break the bank on. His defense needs work. The people that defend him say he’s undersized but usually guards at most levels are at least 6 ft tall. He’s a limited, streaky offensive player who’s in a slump.

  • Rafa23

    a big LOL @GimmeDemSocks saying “the great city of detroit”. this city is a dump

  • Coop

    Slightly OT, Stuckey wouldn’t be worthy of a ‘Franchise’ label even if he played for the Nets. Madness.

  • Octopus Jonny

    Just a victim of circumstance. Dumars is a fucking idiot for signing two serious liabilities on the defensive end. You can mask one defensive liability with good team defense, but you can’t hide two. Charlie V is allergic to D and Gordon isn’t big enough to guard his position.

  • S-SiN

    Stuckey is a stuckey Rio Chalmers.

  • S-SiN

    and after the new “bargain” Bg is a below mid-level at 30 or euroleague, which makes whole lotta sense with his game..